McMenamins 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop is now open
It’s been 30 years since Portland was introduced to McMenamins Terminator Stout, first brewed as the 12th-ever batch at Mike and Brian McMenamin's Hillsdale Pub by original brewer Ron Wolf to satisfy the Irish brothers’ love of Guinness. And it’s been more than 38 years since Mike McMenamin had a dedicated retail outlet for beer—what we now call a bottle shop.

Mike McMenamin's early Raleigh Hills Market must’ve looked quite anemic compared to the new 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop in Northwest Portland’s Alphabet District, which opens today. For one, it relied mostly on imported beer. For another, there weren’t 800 different beers (and wines and ciders) to fill the 23 chiller doors that the new market boasts. According to Dan McMenamin—Mike’s son—the corresponding number of doors is a complete coincidence that I happened to catch.

The new retail space, taking over the space of 23rd Avenue Market, becomes a de facto extension of McMenamins Tavern and Pool next door. That pub features 26 taps and neighborhoody accouterments including billiard and shuffleboard tables and a CD jukebox (which, surprisingly, doesn’t stock a single Grateful Dead album). The new bottle shop offers 16 taps and limited seating at which to enjoy those pints, plus food from next door and rotating cocktails beginning with a seasonally appropriate hot buttered rum. Beer-wise, nine of the taps are dedicated to beers from various McMenamins breweries. To celebrate today's grand opening as well as Terminator’s 30th anniversary, flights of four versions of Terminator will be available.

Flight of four different Terminators shows how accommodating the stout is.
  • Brian Yaeger
  • Flight of four different Terminators shows how accommodating the stout is.
There’s the roasty original; an extra-roasty Spanish Coffee Terminator (made with McMenamins’ house-roasted coffee beans, nutmeg, and cinnamon from Jen Kent down at the Thompson Brewery in Salem); warming, boozy Black Rose Terminator (made by the brewing team at the Edgefield Brewery in Troutdale, and aged in three-year-old McMenamins' Hogshead Whiskey barrels); and Cherry Soured Oak Terminator. The latter, it’s important to note, was created by Chris Oslin and Brady Romtvedt at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse in Hillsboro and matured in a Billy Whiskey cask. The tartness is completely derived from 42 pounds of cherries and is not a true sour-fermented beer with any sort of wild yeast. It is, nonetheless, worth the effort to get there.

Because there’s an entire market’s worth of shelves to fill, patrons can purchase any of the 17 bottled spirits made at the company’s two distilleries: Edgefield and Cornelius Pass. They can also shop for bottled and canned beer arranged by style rather than brand (and then take it over to Tavern and Pool). The store's curation falls to manager Kyle Stone-Chilla, who stocks mostly “the usuals” found around here but has gotten his mitts on some rarer stuff from, such as sour beers from the Bruery Terreaux, and Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (since even devout geeks covet this Anheuser-Busch InBev product). There also happens to be McMenamins swag out the wazoo, from growlers and flasks to Hammerhead plush dolls and all manner of tchotchkes.

McMenamins' 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop is located at 2290 NW Thurman, daily, 10 am-10 pm