Portland is Finally Getting a Beer Bar Focused on Sessionable Beers

The former Gestalt Haus on Division Will be Sessionable, a bar focused on low-ABV brews.

Last week, we broke the news about the apparent closure of Gestalt Haus on Southeast Division. The Germanic bier bar was an offshoot from a popular San Francisco spot, with a passion for brats and bikes. Ownership squabbles, a big fine for an OLCC violation and a concept that didn't quite fit in doomed the place.

Well, now we know what will follow it in the former Eugenio's Space: a beer bar called Sessionable, which is exactly what it sounds like.

The concept comes from Keith Madaras, an IT guy, and his buddy John Mankes, who has a wide range of food service experience but who has never owned a bar.

These two beer geeks judge local home brew competitions, and Madaras has been homebrewing for over a decade, making enough beer to keep six taps of his own creations on at home.

After four months of negotiations on a space near Lloyd Center broke down this space fell into their lap. They say it only took two and half weeks to get the deal done and that they hope to be open in May, after an extensive build-out inside the beautiful brick building.

"I grew up in this neighborhood and I never thought in a million years I'd have a space in close-in Southeast, let alone on Division," Mankes says. "We loved the space. That's really Old Portland—that's Old Division. Its nice not just being in the area but being in a building with a little bit of history and we're definitely going to respect that."

They'll be outfitting the space with 30 taps and focusing mainly on beers between 2.5% and 5% ABV.

"There are so many great beer bars in Portland—we love the Horse Brass and we love Bailey's," says Madaras. "But with a lot of these beers, if you have two you have to take an Uber home and you pay for it the next day."

They've received a warm welcome from brewers, who tend to like lower-ABV beers more than the average craft customer. So far they've pegged Baerlic and Burnside as top targets, and they'll be looking to carry as much independent self-distributed suds as they can.

"When we've talked to brewers they tell us, 'We'll do our meetings there!' says Madaras. "This is really the stuff they're excited about."

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