Scout Beer now open
Scout Beer now open Brian Yaeger

Reflecting on the number of breweries operating in Inner Southeast brings to mind a bit by Emo Philips titled “Most States” where the spasmodic comedian rattles off the examples proving that most states do not end with the letter A. (If you’re too lazy to count, watch him here.) Likewise, most Portland breweries are not located in Inner Southeast. The only ones that are are Lucky Labrador, Hair of the Dog, The Commons, Cascade Barrel House, Base Camp, Baerlic, Rogue’s Buckman Botanical Brewery, Mt. Tabor, Grixsen, and Ground Breaker. And while three more are expected to open in the coming weeks, as of yesterday we can add to that list Scout Beer.

Of his neighbors and predecessors, Scout co-owner Joe St. Martin said, “Competition encourages more people to come out and try things.”

Scout’s opening line-up of house beers (that are currently brewed by Unicorn Brewing, aka Portland U-Brew in Sellwood, certainly count as trying something new, even in this era where it’s all been done before. The opening lineup includes: Tanglad (lemongrass saison), Kentucky (bourbon-aged coffee stout), Porridge (oatmeal pale ale with cinnamon, raisins, and vanilla), Anaphylactic (peanut butter porter), Jam (red ale with marrionberries), Sap (strong ale with maple syrup and spruce tips), Noritorious (gose with nori) and Panama Jack (brown ale with rum and coconut).

Oh, and since it’s nearly a death wish to launch a brewery without an IPA, naturally there’s an IPA. But in St. Martin fashion, it’s got strawberries and rhubarb. Now that the world has seen its fair share of fruited IPAs, it’s not bad and not that out-there.

If the name Scout rings a bell to beer lovers, it’s likely because you’ve seen their beer cart at the Tidbit pod on SE Division. (The cart, originally at the defunct Good Food Here pod on SE Belmont, St. Martin and partner Sean Oeding bought off Craigslist). There also used to be one at the Gantry at Zidell Yards. Just like those tap guest beers, a handful of popular beers and ciders round out Scout’s 18 tap handles.

Despite all the less than traditional ingredients, which are generally added during secondary fermentation, St. Martin says, “I don’t want to brew a beer that’s overwhelming with some crazy ingredient. It has to have finesse.”

After sampling through two flights of all ten house beers (I’ll get to that tenth in a minute), I’d say Jam was my favorite. It’s bright and bursting with berry flavor though instead of marrionberries it had a tangier currant note. Porridge doesn’t exactly taste like a bowl of oatmeal, but it’s not as sweet as it sounds and with the rain back, a beer with cinnamon and vanilla that’s still light bodied is a treat. For more warming elixirs, Sap and Kentucky tastily get the job done.

Pro tip: If you can’t decide between the peanut butter porter on the #9 tap or the jammy ale on the #10 tap, order a 9.5, as the PB&J result is Scout’s true intention. Instead of scooping out jars of Jif, Scout uses powdered peanut butter, but with a small handful of other Reese’s-like beers out there, St. Martin’s kinda over it.

Another beery feature coming soon, says St. Martin, will be individual coffee presses not to make coffee but to act as a device akin to what the beer world calls a “Randall.” Customers will be able to order any beer plus, essentially, toppings, only they’re added to the French press for an infusion-for one. It could be coffee beans in your porter or figs in your strawberry IPA.

While the test batches at Unicorn came three barrels at a time and Culmination has done at least one 10-barrel batch, St. Martin is looking forward to firing up the five-barrel system (with 15 barrel fermenters to brew triple batches) already in place, Scout’s beers will soon be truly house-made, possibly by Halloween.

It’s a fitting date considering the candied aspect to many Scout beers. Look for a porter made with Cocoa Puffs and a sour ale made with Sour Patch Kids. Sweet tooths (is the collective noun “sweet teeth”?) will also find no-frills s’mores on the dessert menu along with root beer (or beer-beer) floats.

You can get a delicious-looking grilled cheese sandwich or healthy salad, but where’s the inner-child glee in a salad? St. Martin mentioned that one item he hopes to add to the menu is a beer and bacon flight. It will consist of Sap ale paired with maple bacon, naturally, and the saison paired with Sriracha bacon, as well as Porridge partnered with frosted bacon. And on weekends, look for a $5 all-u-can cereal bar.

Minors are welcome until 10 p.m. Which is good because clearly Scout caters to our inner kids.

Scout is located at 1516 SE 10th Ave. at Hawthorne.