We were in Portland over the weekend, and had dinner with family at Widmer Brewing Friday night. It was my first visit to Widmer (their Gasthaus on Russell Street, actually) and while it wasn’t a comphrenesive visit, I thought I’d write up a short review anyway.
I liked it a lot. Almost immediately upon sitting down, our waiter appeared and offered to bring me a taster of their new Vienna lager (I never did quite catch what the name was). I of course accepted, and tried several other tasters that others didn’t finish before getting a pint of that lager. Service on our end of the table (there was eight of us) was very good, though (I’m told) it wasn’t nearly as good at the other end.
The lager was good, spicy and crisp, and there were several other beers on the menu that I would have liked to try: their seasonal Snowplow Milk Stout, for instance. But what I absolutely had to get was the Alt. I’ve had a variety of Widmer brews, but never the one beer that they are especially famous for; more than one authority has cited Widmer’s Altbier as being the only true Alt outside of Dusseldorf, Germany.
It was very good. Malty, hoppy, a little spicy, clean. A nice amber color. Very drinkable, I’d definitely start with this beer if (when) I go back there. Worth the hype? I can’t say for sure, since I’ve never had a true Altbier—but you can’t go to Widmer and not try the Alt if you’re into beer.
Also, I got a taster of their new Doppelbock before we left. That was good too, very rich and dark. It was a German beer night!
The food was good; I had the bouillabaisse which was loaded with seafood, and even came with whole crab claws and the equipment to crack them (the nutcracker thing, a sheller? Shucker? Nutcracker?) Interestingly, they don’t have French fries anywhere on the kids menu, which is unusual; the kids got spaetzle instead (kind of a mac and cheese).
Definitely stop by there for beer and dinner if you get the chance.