In spite of industry turmoil in the craft brewing industry, new breweries are still either in planning or opening. Case in point: Portland’s Look Long Brewing Company, a nanobrewery that soft-opened right at the beginning of February 2018 on North Interstate Avenue, just north of North Rosa Parks Avenue. There’s been a homebrew supply shop, Homebrew Exchange at 6550 N. Interstate since 2009, and now the owners have augmented their business with a small-scale brewery. The shop was started by Aaron and Jocely Fabbri, and the current business, which encompasses both Homebrew Exchange and Look Long Brewing, is now run by the trio of Rory Schellinger, Brandon Edwards, and Stan Barnes. The brewery is comprised of a one-barrel system; Look Long is not planning on operating on anything more than a very modest scale for the time being, mostly serving areas nearby, especially local neighborhoods like Arbor Lodge and Overlook.
Look Long certainly has the look and feel of a neighborhood local. The unfussy pub is an easy walk from a MAX stop and there are plenty of residential areas within a short distance. Stan Barnes serves as “beer captain” and offers a friendly greeting. Brandon Edwards, “dungeon master,” works the tiny brewery in the back, which was functional but in a bit of disarray from recent use, so we opted not to take or share photos this time around. In the main, though, a neighborhood brewery taproom is still all about the beer.
The beers are straightforward, and as a tie-in with the homebrew supply shop, similar recipes are given in five-gallon homebrew volumes. At one 31-gallon barrel, Look Long basically does the equivalent of six typical homebrew batches at a time, so their formulations look sound. As to the beers themselves, they offered a taster sample during their soft opening week.
The Tiny House Session Ale is a pretty typical example of what they like to brew and serve at Look Long: on the light and malty-sweet side with some balancing hops. This one will probably be a good warm-weather quencher.
Gnome NPC Belgian-style Pale Ale adds a note of fruity aromatic esters to a malty ale profile, and continues the house approach to restraint with hops.
School House Pale Ale has a bit more of a hop profile, as it’s meant to focus on a single hop, in this case the newer Jarrylo variety. It’s still no hop monster, but 35 bitterness units are about right for a pale ale with a hop profile.
Space Rex IPA is also brewed according to house style: more hop flavors and a little more hop aroma, but there’s no mistaking the malt presence. Fans of balanced IPAs might appreciate this.
Mansplainer Porter is broadly in the English style of “brown” porters, where caramels and malt flavors are dominant, with relatively little roasted notes. This one falls squarely in that style.
There’s no kitchen at Look Long, but there’s a Thai food cart right next door to the next-door kombucha maker, and a pizza place just down the street delivers. The general policy allows food from just about any takeout, or from home. Just don’t stink up the place, please!
If you’re wondering about that “Look Long” name … it’s a phrase used by Ultimate players.
Look Long Brewing Co. officially celebrates its Grand Opening on Friday, February 9, 2018.