Opening to the public Monday, October 21st, at 11am John Harris’ Ecliptic Brewing is a brewpub with big dreams.
The brewpub is located right off the popular N. Mississippi strip in an unassuming large warehouse that faces downtown Portland and the waterfront. Behind an imposing gated parking lot is a bright and open restaurant and bar featuring open concrete walls with hollowed-out holes to imitate star systems like the big dipper. Even the interesting twisting lighting fixture featuring large half globes of glass is inspired by our solar system.
John Harris has built an epic brewing career in Oregon that has spanned from Deschutes to McMenamins to Full Sail. He has helped to create some of the most memorable beers in the Pacific NWduring each of those breweries’ respective hay days. Even still, there are a few things he has been unable to do, such as brew a fruit beer (he has one with grape juice in the fermenter right now), but even moreso to truly do beer and food pairings right. As John tells it, no one in the local brewpub industry is taking food as seriously as beer, and his challenge to the kitchen staff is to get the restaurant in to Oregon’s Top 100, which apparently has never had a brewpub included in it. There will be a lot of seasonality in the menu, with changes every 6 weeks and beers made to accompany the foods and vice versa.
At a soft opening event I tried such menu items as the sweet and spicy duck wings (tasty), deviled eggs with a fresh anchovy on top (really could have done without the fishiness), a cheese board (well selected and generous, though strangely served without bread or crackers), fish & chips (huge delicious pieces of cod!) and pan-roasted chicken with pumpkin, cotija, and poblano salsa verde (well done, but a bit expensive).
The bar menu currently features wine, spirits, cocktails, and a selection of bottles of non-alcoholic and gluten-free beers, in addition to Ecliptic Brewing’s two housemade beers and two other collaboration beers. The Procyon Pale Ale, the first brew on the house system, is my favorite, with a distinct, fresh grainy and bready body. The Arcturus IPA and 1/2 Mile Pale Ale (a collaboration with Widmer Brothers) are also solid. While it lasts, there is some of the TicWitTic sour Wit collaboration with Gigantic Brewing on tap, too. Best of all, Portland happy hour lovers will be happy to know there is one from 3-6pm daily, with discounted food and $1 off house beers and house cocktails.
For now, John Harris is covering his bases in terms of the beers he is brewing Starting off with the pale and IPA, a porter will be released shortly, and a pilsner after that. These are not necessarily the regular lineup; the success of the beers will decide if they stick around or not, and after brewing the standards, we can expect different things. One experiment John is looking forward to is filling an already-heavily brettanamyoces infected barrel and making some more fruit beers. Also in the future bottling, and the first beer will likely be a winter seasonal in 22oz bottles from a local mobile bottler. John is mum on what the beer will be like, only hinting that it will be something different from the usual holiday offerings.
More back story on John Harris and Ecliptic Brewing here: http://newschoolbeer.com/2013/10/john-harris-mashes-in-at-ecliptic-brewing.html
MON – THURS 11AM – 11PM
FRI – SUN 11AM – 12AM
HAPPY HOUR 3PM – 6PM DAILY
All photos by “SNOB” Ritch Marvin and © The New School