Owners of Hillsboro’s ABV Public House bring spinoff IBU Public House to Portland’s Westside
Westside suburbanites generally don’t have anything like the taphouse selection enjoyed in more urbanized Portland neighborhoods, but there are some good ones here and there. Out near the edge of the UGB, Hillsboro’s ABV Public House sits in a business park just off of US-26. Kevin Stahr’s big, cavernous pub has been serving up a selection of quality draft beer and pub food for nearly two years now, and it also serves as a to-go bottle shop. It’s great for the far suburbs and the beer drinkers out that way, but a bit of reach for the rest of us. It’s cool that it’s right near Stahr’s Mainbrew home-brew supply shop, and a little amusing that it’s also right by an indoor firing range (Westside, represent!).
The ABV’s coolness has now moved much closer in with the IBU Public House, Stahr’s newest venture, just inside Portland’s western city limits on the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. The building previously housed a burger pub and bar, part of the local Joe’s Burgers group, but that closed at the end of August 2015. Stahr moved in, applied some elbow grease to get the place cleaned up and remodeled, and opened the IBU in December 2015. The place is nicely broken up into a couple of dining rooms on the main floor and a semi-private upstairs mezzanine that can be booked for private functions. Customers are already being invited to book the mezzanine for their own parties and private functions, especially early in the week, when things are quieter. There’s even more space downstairs in the basement, so this place has the potential to be enormous. The interior is updated classic old-style pub, with wooden surfaces everywhere, and it has some of that nice old-country atmosphere. Even with a busy highway right outside, it’s pleasantly comfortable inside, and a great place for a session or a good pub dinner.
For beer drinkers, the L-shaped bar will be the attraction. It has plenty of seating, and 36 taps pour an impressive lineup. Beer dominates, with plenty of Oregon and California selections, but there are some imports as well, and it’s still a little mind-blowing to see the likes of Chimay Bleue Grande Reserve on tap. Alongside 27 beers, there are five ciders, a kombucha, a mead, and one each red and white wine. That mix may change over time, but the beer’s the thing here, and there will always be plenty of good ones on.
The food side is nearly identical to what’s on at the ABV, and it’s good quality pub food. You can have burgers, pizza, or salads, you can snack on deviled eggs, a big bakery pretzel, fries, or green chili poutine, and a bowl of the green chili pork stew is warming on a cold night. The IBU’s kitchen plans to step up the game with “bigger plates” on the menu, potentially offering coconut Thai mussels, steak & frites, and cassoulet for a little upscale enjoyment with that great beer selection.
The Westside has a pub good enough to make Eastsiders just a little jealous. The good part, though, is that it’s readily accessible. It’s on a bus line, and there’s a big parking lot too. It’s not too hard to get to from either I-5 or 217. It’s just minutes from downtown Portland, yet pretty easy to get to from Beaverton and other nearby suburbs. The IBU, after a few days of soft opening in early December, is fully up and running. It’s open daily at 3pm, until 10pm Sunday-Thursday, midnight Friday-Saturday. 4439 S.W. Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, Portland, OR, 97221; (971) 254-9558; http://ibupdx.com/
By Don Scheidt for The New School.
Don Scheidt has been into good beer since before the dawn of craft brewing in the Pacific Northwest. He created the Northwest Brewpage, a regional guide to good beer in Oregon and Washington, back in the mid-1990s, but has since retired it. Don started writing the Washington state “Puget Soundings” column for Celebrator Beer News in 1998, and continues to do that today. Don also wrote about beer for the Seattle Weekly in 2005-2006.