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Beer Guide 2015: Ex Novo

Ex Novo

2326 N Flint Ave., 894-8251, 3-10 pm Monday-Thursday, 3-11 pm Friday, noon-11 pm Saturday, noon-10 pm Sunday.

[ALTRUISTIC ALES] Like so many bushy-tailed do-gooders, Ex Novo had a tough go at the beginning. The 10-barrel brewery is a nonprofit, donating its proceeds to supporting Syrian refugees, providing housing services and mentoring poor kids. Unfortunately, the beer was in rough shape when it opened last July. Ex Novo picked itself up, hiring new brewmaster Jason Barbee just six months into its existence. The improvement has been dramatic. A recent Coup de Foudre Saison balanced fruitiness with a spicy rye kick, while the Cardinal Sim IPA—brewed exclusively with Simcoe hops—was fantastically juicy. With its reclaimed wood tables, high ceilings and designer light bulbs, the tasting room has a rustic chalet vibe that's as welcoming to 30-somethings on a first date as Blazers fans glued to the TV above the bar. Also, knitting circles. How wholesome.

DRINK THIS: Ex Novo pays homage to a Portland native and former Trail Blazers star Damon Stoudamire with a stout that's chocolaty, drinkable and smoother than its namesake.