A brewery tucked in the back of a homebrew supply shop isn’t an entirely unique idea: Westmoreland’s Portland U-Brew and the connected Unicorn Brewing have a similar setup. But the tiny new Look Long Brewing Company has brought the concept to the northern side of town, and has in the process created a charmingly low-key place to plan out your next homebrew recipe—or anything else in the world you feel like contemplating—as you deliberate over a pint of their house ale.
Operating out of the same building (same room, technically) as the Homebrew Exchange supply shop on North Interstate, Look Long is among the city’s smallest licensed breweries—a nanobrewery, to be precise, with a one-barrel, 31-gallon brewing capacity in their brewhouse, hidden behind a curtain in their cozy taproom. On a recent visit, they had five of their beers available for sipping, tweaked from the many house recipes available at their homebrew shop and on their website. This means that, in some cases, you can not only read the recipe of the Look Long beer you’re enjoying, you can saunter through the partition, buy all the ingredients, and make your own version at home.
But non-brewers will feel just as comfortable at Look Long, as they’ve taken subtle but important steps to make the place incredibly inviting, with a small, wraparound bar that compels conversation and a couple of tables situated by the window. There’s also plenty of stuff that isn’t beer to occupy you, such as the stack of tabletop games shelved alongside a selection of beer books, comic-book collections, and gaming modules. On that note, there’s a role-playing-game undercurrent to much of Look Long, carrying over to the names of their house beers, such as their gently spicy Gnome Cleric Belgian-style blonde ale or their insanely sessionable Health Potion red ale, which packs a ton of malty flavor into its 4 percent ABV. These were joined on a recent visit by a pleasing El Doradoat IPA made with oats, and an appealingly brash Mansplainer porter made with sage.
In the unlikely event that Look Long’s own beers don’t do it for you—or you’ve already lapped their small rotation of tap handles—there’s a fridge full of bottles from other brewers, further evidence the place is positioned to be a regular drop-in for members of the local beer community. If you’re hungry, Long Do Thai Food cart sits right outside, and Blackbird Pizza is just a few doors down and will deliver. Although it’s only been open since the beginning of February and the hours are as yet limited, Look Long already feels like it’s a firmly established part of the neighborhood. Look Long Brewing Company, 6650 N Interstate, Thurs 3-8 pm, Fri & Sun noon-8 pm, Sat noon-10 pm
Good news for campers, recyclers, and anyone who’s ever unsuccessfully tried to cram another six-pack of bottles into an already crowded fridge: Deschutes Brewery has begun putting their beers into cans. The Bend brewing giant’s flagship Mirror Pond Pale Ale, along with their Pacific Wonderland Lager and Fresh Squeezed IPA, can be found in colorful, surprisingly good-looking cans in just about any grocery store in the city, although their enduringly popular Black Butte Porter has not yet made the transition. (No word on what impact the president’s boneheaded trade war might have on aluminum pricing.)
Coffee beer seems to be having a moment, as a rash of new beers made with God’s favorite bean have recently hit the market. You can find some new ones in local bottle shops, like HUB Morning Vibes Imperial Latte Stout, which is made with Nossa Familia Coffee; Rogue Cold Brew 2.0, a blonde-ale relative of their Cold Brew IPA, made with Stumptown Cold Brew; and pFriem Golden Coffee Pale, a draft choice now in bottles and made with Coava Coffee.
If those options don’t combine your vices adequately, there’s the upcoming Baker’s Dozen, a festival that combines coffee, beer, and doughnuts. Now in its fourth year, the fest was started by former Mercury beer scribe Brian Yaeger, and admission gets you tasters to the 13 coffee beers, including brews from event host Ecliptic Brewing, Widmer, Modern Times, and many others. (You also get 13 doughnut samples and a souvenir glass.) It goes down on Sunday morning, which gives you the rest of the day to decide whether you’re beer-buzzed, coffee-wired, or coming down off a doughnut-induced sugar high. Fourth Annual Baker’s Dozen, Sun March 11, 10 am-2 pm, Ecliptic Brewing, 825 N Cook, $28 advance, $33 door, tickets at merctickets.com/go/BakersDozenPDX