Gilgamesh, Salem’s Biggest Brewery, Distributes Beer All the Way to Japan

Gilgamesh is epic.

2065 Madrona Ave. SE, Salem, 503-584-1789, 11 am-11 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-midnight Friday, 11 am-1am Saturday, 11 am-9 pm Sunday.

Gilgamesh is epic. Salem's biggest brewery opened in 2009, and later relocated to a 18,000-square foot "campus" in downtown Salem, complete with a huge production facility and a restaurant that has a creekside patio. Gilgamesh distributes lots of beer, all the way to Japan. Their Terry Porter, named after the Trail Blazers legend, is full of chocolate biscuit notes and a roasted, clean finish. A highlight of a recent visit was their Oedipus IPA, a bright, resinous beer with an herbal, rosemary-ish undertone. Imaginative limited-release beers from their chef series project, a collaborative effort with well-known chefs from Pok Pok's Andy Ricker to St. Jack's Aaron Barnett, are worth seeking out. Where else are you going to find a Rhubarb Som Shandy or a red Brett saison brewed with oyster shells? Sadly, the tasting room is not so adventurous, and is a bit pricey ($13.75 for hummus and veggies?) but the portions are large and their fried whole shiitake mushrooms with ranch are great. Gilgamesh is a great place to watch the Blazers by the fire, with a cold Terry Porter in hand.

Nearby: Bargarten (6045 Keizer Station Blvd., Keizer, 503-967-1819, is descended from the Rheinländer, which was once on Northeast Sandy. This is a modern German-style beer hall with bar and restaurant, afloat in a sea of suburban glass and concrete. Bargarten sports a gigantic wrap-around bar, and there's a lengthy menu of German classics plus some things are decidedly not classic, like "Schnachos," tortilla-wrapped schnitzels topped with napa cabbage, pico de gallo and avocado crema.