San Diego brewery Modern Times opened its Portland outpost last week at Southeast 7th and Belmont, taking over the former space of the Commons Brewery. While the sudden departure of the Commons has been justly mourned in the Portland beer community, visiting team Modern Times did not come to play, and their tasting room—dubbed the Belmont Fermentorium, although please smack anybody if you hear them call it that out loud—is already firing on all cylinders.
There’s not much in the way of seating, although there are a large number of stools along the bar and windows. Still, most drinkers will need to stand on their own two legs as they congregate beneath a giant piñata of Randy “Macho Man” Savage. The hallway to the bathrooms is covered with yarn art, including dioramas of ’80s iconography like Donkey Kong and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Groovy ’60s go-go music plays, 3.5-inch floppy disks panel the sides of the bar, and your bill arrives tucked inside a cassette case. Modern times, indeed.
But their beer is fully of the moment, and their zesty, tropical hop flavors provide a welcome Southern California sunniness to a dark and rainy city whose own hop traditions have leaned on piney, forest-timber flavors. The beers—not cheap, with the average 16-ounce pour costing $6.50—include several IPAs, including a dynamite hazy IPA, and their flagship Lomaland saison, but don’t sleep on the Ice pilsner, either. Fittingly, they also have one guest tap: Commons Urban Farmhouse.
The small food menu is all vegan, and the adjoining “mini mart” offers cans and crowlers (large, 32-ounce cans) to go, along with the expected apparel and the less expected Modern Times coffee. Modern Times’ Belmont Fermentorium, 630 SE Belmont, Sun-Tues 11 am-10 pm, Wed-Sat 11 am-midnight