124 SE 11th Ave., mttaborbrewing.com, 3-9 pm Friday and by appointment.
Eric Surface crosses the Columbia a lot. This brewery started as a nano on the slopes of its namesake, then migrated to downtown Vancouver, then crossed back to Portland, and now has a pizza pub in a tiny neighborhood on the northern edge of Vancouver. The Southeast Portland space, originally a giant ice cream freezer, is immense and perfectly suited to production. Ben Dobler, formerly of Widmer, was the original brewer here. His stint was short. Soon enough, Rodney Stryker, formerly of Heathen Brewing, took over. The mission from the start has been light, quaffable beers. Few exceed 7 percent ABV, and all have a tight focus on balance—like Helles in a Hand Basket, a light and crisp beer that's a great representation of the style. Stryker, a barrel-aged and sour fan, has a small barrel program and is producing a rotating series of kettle sours. Don't pass on Stryker's kettle sour series. Beyond a terrific house-made pretzel, there's no food here, which is a shame since these beers are built for pairing. Then again, you can cross the river—the Vancouver location has great food, ranging from quinoa bowls to bone marrow, with a large selection of wood-fired pizzas.
Nearby: You're just four blocks from the new Natian taproom (1321 NE Couch St., 971- 678-7116, natianbrewery.com) which has a TV permanently showing nature documentaries and will pour you a terrific Cease and Desist milk stout in a four-year vertical.