Portland's inner east side is going to need extra places to drink beer this week. With 11,000 thirsty craft beer industry types coming into town for the Craft Brewers Conference, which is sort of like the South By Southwest of beer, and no Uber to shlep tourists out to worthy but far-flung beer spots like Roscoe's and N.W.I.P.A., things could get a little crazy at Burnside Brewing and Cascade, and the new Commons.
Enter Geoff Phillips, owner of downtown's Bailey's Taproom, who saw opportunity in an old car lot by the Burnside Bridge.
Through Sunday, that space is a pop-up beer bar called The Drinking Lot, and will be pouring beers from Surly, Holy Mountain, Bell's, Almanac and Sun King.
We swung by for some Surly on a rainy Monday evening and found the space is mostly ready for prime time.
The good: Plenty of tents, picnic tables and budget pours. Two bucks nabbed you a 7-ounce glass of any of the Surly beers, which come from Minneapolis and are much sought-after outside Minnesota. For $4 you got a full 16-ounce pint. Pulehu is serving its simple grilled pizzas—as pure a fat and salt delivery system as we know—and Bunk will bring its sandwich cart for the Wednesday and Thursday rush. Also, they are blaring hip-hop from acts like Bobby Shmurda, which suits the space better than the Black Keys and Mumford & Sons, as so many Portland bars are fond of.
The bad: It's cash only and they are unlikely to change that. Yes, they have wi-fi and I can confirm that they have been informed as to the ease of getting Square readers. Also, it's cold and there are not enough heaters yet—though the week is only supposed to get warmer from here. Body heat will also help—that's where you come in.