Beaverton has stepped up its beer game in recent years, and the latest example is the freshly remodeled Uptown Market on Scholls Ferry Road. The brewery opened in 2011 and in 2013 launched what it touted as “Beaverton’s first production brewery.” Soon after in 2015, the owners opened another Uptown location in Lake Oswego. The Beaverton location has maintained a solid reputation for the most part, but after running it the same way for so many years, the owners were looking to give the space and the brewery a bit of a facelift in terms of design and overall vibe. Enter Josh Johnson, who was brought in to spearhead the new direction for Uptown.
Working everywhere from ski resorts to chocolate shops to bars – most recently as a bartender at Lompoc’s Oaks Bottom Public House in Portland’s Sellwood neighborhood – Johnson connected with the owners of Uptown when they helped him with his first endeavor at bar ownership. They stayed in touch and when the opportunity to become a part owner and beer buyer for Uptown came along, Johnson was up for the challenge and joined in October 2017.
“I was a fresh set of eyes to a lot of the old problems. I basically took three months and tried not to mess with too much, just run it the way they had set it up, and then as of January 1st I just shut it down, gutted it, cleaned house in a lot of ways, and kind of built it back up my way,” says Johnson.
With its interior painted a sleek gunmetal grey, the remodeled Uptown Market feels modern and sleek yet cozy enough to spend a few hours in. The space fits a similar aesthetic in terms of concept to Portland establishments such as Belmont Station, NWIPA, Beer Mongers and John’s Marketplace in the fact that it is both a respectable beer bar and a bottle shop. This is no accident, and as a longtime Portland beer guy, Johnson is quick to cite some of those places as major influences when it comes to what he is going for with Uptown. He also recognizes that, even though Beaverton now has a bustling beer scene, it was lacking this particular style of bottle shop-meets-tap room.
“The idea was to separate the space into a retail space and a pub-like environment. So I took all of our retail to the other side, organized it a lot better. I also read the writing on the wall. When I started we had one door that was for cans, and now I think I’m up to eight,” says Johnson.
What sets Uptown apart from the places where Johnson found inspiration is the island bar located in the center. On the one side you get the bottle shop and on the other is plenty of seating, plus a batch of picnic tables out front. With over thirty taps and more than 1,000 beers in the bottle shop area, there is no shortage of goodness to be had. At the moment, six of those taps are occupied by Uptown’s own beer. Along with brewmaster Roger Wood, Johnson is turning attention to knocking English style beers out of the park with other in-demand styles such as hazy double IPAs thrown in for good measure. He describes the 7-barrel system as “home brewing on steroids [with] no automation whatsoever.” Uptown’s signature brewing style is still a bit of a work in progress, but on a recent trip the dry Irish stout, pale ale and helles all stood out as crisp, flavorful and totally drinkable options. In-house beers are also a bit cheaper than the rest of the taplist, so they are definitely worth a try.
Though they legally can’t serve food from inside the business, Uptown has a full time food cart on-site serving up classic pub grub with British and Southern flare. It’s no surprise that their most popular item is the Scotch egg, with a traditional version and a kicked up version with jalapeño or habanero – your choice – chopped into the sausage. They also showcase sliders, burgers, an “untouchable” Cubano, fried pimento cheese balls, Texas Toast pimento grilled cheese sandwich, wings, charcuterie and more.
Whether you live in Beaverton or are looking to venture outside Portland for a change of scenery, the newly remodeled Uptown Market is a worthy destination. Friendly and knowledgeable staff, a huge yet well-curated selection of beer both on tap and on the shelves, tasty food, and a comfy, welcoming atmosphere all make it one of the choice spots in the Portland area.
Uptown Market is located at 6620 SW Scholls Ferry Road. For their up-t0-date taplist and a full calendar of events visit uptownmarketpdx.com/beaverton.