During the Oregon Brewfest weekend we visited one of Portland’s newest breweries, Gigantic Brewing, which has become the darling of the Portland beer scene (since even before they opened officially in April) for their fantastic IPA and the big personalities of the two principals, Ben Love and Van Havig. Interestingly, unlike many other Portland brewing establishments of late, Gigantic isn’t a brewpub—they are a production brewery with a tap room, no restaurant, located in southeast Portland’s industrial sector.
And they are tremendously successful.
We stopped in between the OBF and dinner to sample some beer and check out the tap room, at which they also serve up champagne (hence “Tap Room and Champagne Lounge”). I will say the image I had in my head of what to expect didn’t quite match the reality, but that’s okay because the reality was much better anyway.
Gigantic has an industrial feel all the way, being built to spec in a repurposed corrugated steel-sided building on SE 26th Avenue, solidly in the heart of an industrial zone not far from the railroad tracks. And because they are a production brewery they’ve played into this industrial feel for the tap room, with concrete floors, open ceiling with exposed rafters, and garage bay door open to the sunlight with unfinished picnic tables and umbrellas set up out front. Inside the tap room is sparsely decorated with artwork (some of which is being used on the labels) and some unusual accoutrements like a semi-creepy mannequin, a rifle, and hanging lampshades made out of brown glass bottles.
The corner we took over is outfitted with retro-funky furniture: a (faux?) leather couch and lounger and several chairs that look straight out of a kitchen from the ’70s. It works well.
I ordered up an imperial pint of their latest beer, Axes of Evil, and English-style pale ale that was brewed in collaboration with Indiana’s Three Floyds Brewing. I’ll have a more complete review coming (I picked up a couple of bottles to bring back from Belmont Station), but my notes at the time read:
Bright with a touch of dank, wet/earthy character in the hops… catty but not quite catty. Drinkable and a nice hot-weather beer as hoppy as it is.
My wife ordered a split bottle of champagne, and our friends Paul and Sandi had beer as well (though I don’t remember what they had).
I also got a taster of the Dyn-O-Mite! Imperial IPA that was also pouring at the OBF (though I missed out on it while there) and found it to be “Really nice, hoppy and sweetly malty and it pops—it has the “hop syrup” quality of a good, big IIPA.”
In addition to their own beers (there were five Gigantic brews on during our visit: their year-round IPA, The City Never Sleeps Imperial Black Saison, Rauchweizen and the Bandit, Axes of Evil, and Dyn-O-Mite!) and champagne they have a rotating taplist of guest brews, mostly local. There is no food available.
Overall I really liked it, it seemed like a great summertime hangout to relax and have a beer or three—even if the ambiance is industrial! And judging by the crowd that was there enjoying beer while we were there, Portlanders definitely agree.
5224 SE 26th Ave.
Portland, OR 97202
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