The Portland location of Gorges Beer Co. , the Trailhead taproom, opens today at 2705 SE Ankeny St. at 4pm. Gorges is one of our most anticipated brewing projects of 2020, and their PDX location is just phase one of a major project going into Cascade Locks that will include a restaurant, hotel, barrel facility and outdoor venue.
Gorges Beer Co. is the project of Tap & Table owner Travis Preece, former Lompoc brewer Bryan Keilty, former Goodlife Brewing sales director Steve Denio, and architect Willis Boyer. The small Portland taproom and brewery is in the space previously occupied by Coalition Brewing.
The Gorges Beer team has taken a space that was essentially a 10bbl production brewery and modified it to have a pop-up taproom at the front of the brewery. There is seating for maybe 15 inside around a cozy stylish nook next to brewery tanks and the walk-in cooler. A large elevated booth is built against a tile wall with a custom neon sign as a focal point. The bar is a roll-up counter that is the only element that keeps people from walking straight into the brewery production-area.
Outside the glass doors there is an elevated loading dock area that provides a nice covered space to enjoy a pint and look out to the neighborhood. The larger seated area is adjacent, a permanent elevated and covered patio with a lot more seating. Gorges Beer offers food from Tap & Table across the street, you order at the counter at the brewery and someone runs it over from the kitchen.
Gorges Beer opens with eight draft beers, many of them collaborations with other local brewing friends. Two of the new beers are made in-house at Gorges, the Golden Eagle and Crown Point Porter. Both beers are solid, Golden Eagle being a very sessionable blonde with berry-like hop character and only 4% abv. Keilty has some acclaim for his porters; after all, his Lomporter won a Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival a few years ago, so if you are a fan of American porters this one shouldn’t be missed. Among the other collaborations, the Blanc de Blanc IPA brewed with Von Ebert Brewing is a must try for hops fans. It’s brewed with an addition of sauvignon blanc grape juice which kills the head retention, but it doesn’t matter because the beer is delicious. The lineup is rounded out with a couple more old school/English-influenced beers like Starry Night ESB, Wazy IPA, and Willamette Pale and very modern takes like a Coffee IPA and a west coast-style Pale Ale.
The Trailhead taproom, as it’s being called, opens this weekend Friday 4-9, Saturday 2-9 or Sunday 2-9. More in-house beers and a expanded hours will launch in the near future ahead of a projected 2021 opening of Gorges Beer’s location in Cascade Locks.
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.