Double Mountain beat the odds.
Given the sorry state of brewpub food—not just in Portland, but across the country—the Hood River taproom's impressive New Haven-style pies are a marvel. It's something Double Mountain worked hard at, learning at the elbow of Apizza Scholls' Brian Spangler, who taught it the techniques responsible for his world-beating pies.
Double Mountain took those techniques and applied them to solid recipes—witness the singular heirloom pie ($27), a pesto base topped with thick slices of heirloom tomatoes grown for the pizzeria by a small farm in Hood River. The 'maters are cut to order and get a dusting of pecorino that crisps up for a light crunch and gives way to steaky tomato slices and then more crunch.
And so there's a lot of excitement around Double Mountain's recent expansion to Woodstock.
When it signed up to put a pizzeria pouring its beer in the space formerly home to a series of terrible bars (Mickey Finn's, Fenders Moto Cafe, Kilt Irish Pub), the 'hood was jazzed. And it still is, judging by the waits, which often stretch an hour and a half.
Unfortunately, though it's early, there's still a lot of work to be done before Double Mountain Woodstock is at the level of its sister, or worthy of being considered among the top 10 pies in town. For now, I'd steer clear unless you're in the area for a weekday lunch or live nearby.
Consider this: On a recent Thursday, I put my name in for a table at Double Mountain, then drove to Apizza Sholls, ordered carry-out pies, got a picnic table down at Angelo's, bought a round of beers, picked up the pies, ate and drove back to Woodstock—only to wait another 10 minutes to be seated. Double Mountain's pies couldn't compete with Scholls on any level, though few can.
But the larger problem is that the pies aren't yet up to Double Mountain's own standards. The kitchen bought a different type of oven for this shop, a gas-fired Wood Stone that runs hot, open and dry. While the pies (a small plain cheese is $10, a large capicola and peppers is $23) on one visit came out nondescript, on the other they were overcharred, the acrid, blackened flavor infusing the dense crust. The cheese was overly dry, and one cheese pie had far too little of it—seemingly half as much as the pie next to it. That visit also found salads sopped in way too much dressing (we didn't complain, but they were graciously comped) and a cookie served at refrigerator temperature for dessert.
But, of course, the pizzas are only half the draw at a brewpub. And Double Mountain does make some very good beer—especially a floral Vaporizer IPA and two krieks, which were the finest in the state not too long ago.
Related: Escape to Hood River for Great Beers
You can try them all on a fully customizable taster flight, and for me that's reason enough to celebrate the new Double Mountain offshoot, even if you can still find far better pizza outside of Woodstock.