Monday, March 1, 2010

Migration, Upright Oyster Stout, Prost!

Yesterday I went to Migration Brewing for the first time to watch the olympic men's gold medal hockey game. The weather was nice, so despite it being February, the overhead door out front was open, letting a little fresh air and sunlight in, as well as creating a welcoming entrance to the bar off of Glisan.

Having just opened, and not having their brewing facility all up and running, all their taps are currently dedicated to other breweries beers, mostly from Oregon, but with a few others mixed in as well.

While watching the game, I had a Lucky Lab super dog, 2 Lompoc crazy dave imperial stouts on nitro, and an Amnesia slow train porter.

I also ordered a sandwich from their menu. It was called "the general" and was a toasted sandwich with some sliced meat and cheese, served with chips. The General was good, but after I saw some of the other sandwiches coming out of the kitchen (the pulled pork in particular), I decided that I could have made a better food selection. Mainly, I thought the General was a bit light on the good stuff, while the pulled pork was overflowing with meat.

While we drank and watched the game, we were given a free sample of one of their appetizers, which was much appreciated and earned Migration big bonus points in my book. The sample included two small sausage links covered in house BBQ sauce, served with french bread slices, and two types of mustard for dipping. I later ordered another full plate, which came with SIX sausages, more bread, and plenty of the dipping mustards for just $4. I don't know if this was a special price for the day, or if this will be a permanent fixture on the menu, but it was a great value, and I'd certainly order it again.

The game was on a single flat screen TV on the east wall of the space. During the game, the radio was turned down, and the TV up. Unfortunately, the TV sound wasn't run through the house receiver, so it was difficult to hear what was going on. This would be a simple fix and would really improve the feel of the place on nights where the TV is the main entertainment. Since they show Blazers games, this could be often.

The rest of the interior is set up nice enough, but could use a little polishing to really create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.

Given that the guys have been open for about a week, I think they're doing just fine.

I really look forward to seeing how they grow the interior space, in both design, and possibly size. After talking with one of the owners, I learned that they hoped to possibly expand into some of the vacant portions adjacent to them in the building, possibly adding pool tables out front.

More importantly, I look forward to trying the migration house brews. They will be debuting their first beer this wednesday, which was brewed off-site, and they will slowly continue to replace the guest beers with their house brewed ones after that.

After Migration, I drove over to Upright Brewing, where I sampled a glass of their newest release, an oyster stout. In my experience, it can sometimes be a strain to pick out the traits of an oyster stout that were actually imparted by the oysters themselves. In the past, I've been able to make out the difference in mouth feel that is often attributed to the addition of oysters, but with this beer, I really struggled to see how the addition effected the finished brew. I think this a good stout, but my first impression is that maybe the oyster addition improved the marketability of this beer more than it actually improved the beer itself. Oysters or no, this was an enjoyable beer, and a decent value to boot.

My last interesting stop of the day was my first to Prost!, the new(ish) German food and beer place anchoring the new food cart pod on NE Mississippi. Later on a Sunday evening, this place had a good crowd inside. The beers covered a decent range of brands and styles, but could use a bit more diversity (branching away from Germany's most accessible styles) to really please a beer geek. The food options all sounded very tasty, and I had a hard time choosing. As with Migration, I think I might have made a poor choice when I landed on the pretzel sandwich. The bun was delicious, but the fillings of meat and cheese were skimpy, and not adequate enough to justify the $9.50 price tag. Accompanying the sandwich was a small bowl of potato salad, which I thought was excellent, as well as a pickle spear. One area I think Prost! really excelled at was the interior design of the place. While the building itself is clearly modern construction, the addition of extensive stained wood paneling, rich dark colors, german breweriana, and thoughtful design did a good job of stirring up memories from my trip to Munich. While I thought the overall experience at Prost! was satisfactory, what I'm most excited about is seeing how this place takes off in the summer, when the surrounding food carts are open and the energy in the courtyard is fed with large mugs of smooth German bier.

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