I keep mentioning John’s Marketplace in all my recent reviews, so I figured it was finally time to write a bit about the store itself here. Located in Portland, Oregon, in the Multnomah Village neighborhood, the store from the outside looks like a completely unassuming neighborhood market and grocery. There’s history behind it, too:
John’s Market was founded in 1923 by John Feus – a Swiss immigrant that settled in Multnomah (a settlement just South of Portland). Multnomah Village is the neighborhood today, one of many in the Portland Metro area. In 1958 the store relocated to the old power station from the Red Electric and a modern 12,000 square foot Super Market was born. John’s flourished as a thriving market until the large box stores and shopping malls appeared throughout SW Portland.
In 1990 John’s was left operating as a convenience store along Multnomah Blvd. which had now long ago replaced the railroad tracks of the Red Electric. In the early 90’s the second owner Jack Furman had a new formula for success. Jack put in a large wine selection and sold beer for less; much, much less. Jack began to operate the Store as a marketplace. In 1999 David Percival became the third owner of John’s Market. Today the old supermarket of the 50’s is crammed with beer and wine from around the world, and Dave’s Keg-Dog Chunks is the friendly mascot.
Upon entering, I was simply blown away by the size and variety of their beer selection. Refrigerated coolers lined the walls and shelf after shelf after shelf was taken up by beer: a highly generous selection of American microbrews, and a hefty representation of more countries than I would have imagined. Seriously—besides the old standards (United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Mexico, Canada, Russia), the Scandinavian countries were represented, Armenia, Lithuania, Southeast Asia, Italy, and many more that I’ve forgotten.
(Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera! So you’ll have to content yourself with the three really crappy cameraphone pics I snapped. Next time I will take my camera.)
To get an idea of how many beers they carry, check their beer page. It’s not complete, though, but it’s probably close.
I ended up buying six beers:
- Samurai Ale from Great Divide
- Chicory Stout from Dogfish Head
- Midas Touch from Dogfish Head
- Uerige Alt
- Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier
- Baltika Porter
But there were many, many more that I wanted to buy. I foresee many future trips.
Even more impressive, was the guy at the register was just as knowledgeable about beer as any true beer geek—this was a surprise. We had a conversation on the relative merits of Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute, 90 Minute, and 120 Minute IPAs, and he clearly recognized the quality of the Uerige Alt.
This is definitely going to be one of my "required stops" whenever I come to Portland now. (Trader Joe’s is another.) I have to be careful not to let my head explode from too many choices, though.
3535 SW Multnomah Blvd.
Portland, OR 97219