“That bench right there – just finished buiding that an hour ago”
Mt Tabor Brewing’s owner Eric Surface has been hard at work building something special for the Felida neighborhood in NW Vancouver, Washington. It’s his own neighborhood where friends and family are close by. His kids go to school here. He’s coached youth teams here. Everyone here knows Eric.
But the neighborhood is also a special place for Mt Tabor’s new restaurant and pilot brewery to reside. A 2.4 mile drive from the front door to 78th Street features nothing but housing – most of it new development. Another 1.3 miles up 99th Street and you end up at Hazel Dell Avenue, where Railside Brewing sits. In a time when breweries seem to be opening across the street from each other, that’s a broad expanse of housing between breweries. That is to say, Mt Tabor is needed right where they are.
The new restaurant and brewery is set to open this weekend and will join Heathen’s Feral Public House, Railside Brewing, Victor-23 Craft Brewery, and the new Hopworks Urban Brewery as the only breweries (of the 12 in Vancouver) that feature a full kitchen and menu–others offer some small plates, snacks or outside food vendors.
When you walk in the door at Mt Tabor, you’re greeted by a host desk and beautiful reclaimed wood interior design accented by stainless steel. The brick wood-fired oven soon takes center stage as the brightest spot of the room, with flames dancing inside.
The oven burns exclusively California almond wood. “This wood is shipped in directly and has only a subtle nutty flavor,” said Surface. A rack on the side of the brick oven is full of pizza boxes, pizza being the staple of the menu. The rack of boxes is heated by the same flames to about 125 degrees. That’ll keep to-go pizzas warm and crisp.
The bar features 14 taps, 2 of which are for guest ciders. Here’s what I enjoyed on the preview night:
Vesta Saison – The work of new head brewer Rodney Stryker (formerly of Heathen Brewing). This is one of the first beers at Mt Tabor that Rodney’s fingerprints are all over. Those familiar with his previous work know him for sours and saisons. This one is light and easy-drinking, with just the right floral presence and a touch of spice.
Space Mountain Sour IPA – Aptly named, this collaboration with John Harris’ Ecliptic Brewing is a tart and sweet raspberry sour IPA. Quite frankly, it’s one of my favorite beers in the Portland metro area right now. It makes me sad to realize that this beer, originally created via random pairing of breweries for Base Camp Brewing’s Collabofest, won’t be around for long. Get it while you can.
Cowboy’s Lament – Fresh off claiming its own bronze medal at the Oregon Beer Awards in the Other Tradition Beers category, this is the Mexican Dark Lager that you wish you could get in Cabo San Lucas or Ixtapa. At 4.5%, I could enjoy this in large quantities.
Lamp Post Lager – Lighter still, Lamp Post Lager weighs in at 4% with more pilsner flavor than anything else at the local 7-Eleven. It’s a Coors man’s kryptonite, a Bud lover’s downfall, and will send a PBR-drinker’s tastebuds to the ICU.
Once again, I found myself enjoying great beer and food in Vancouver. And once again, I’ll remind you that I’m not a food critic by any means. That said, I loved the sausage plate and all-meat pizza I had at Mt Tabor. If you follow Mt Tabor on Instagram (run personally by Eric Surface), you’re likely aware that Eric has an on-going love affair with meat. So, it should come as no surprise that the sausage is made in-house and all sorts of meat–from prawns to Virginia country ham–are the feature of the new pub’s menu.
The open pilot brewhouse is still around a couple months away from being operational. “I can’t wait to get in there and play around on that thing,” exclaimed head brewer Rodney Stryker.
Mt Tabor plans to open their doors this weekend at 3600 NW 119th St in Vancouver, WA.