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February 5th, 2014 MARTIN CIZMAR | Beer Guide
 

Beer Guide 2014: Low Growl

Unexpectedly awesome growler filling stations.

bg2014(lowgrowl)39TH MINI MART - IMAGE: Emma Browne

Clinton Street Market

3400 SE Clinton St., 234-0372.

From the outside, Clinton Market looks like a beaten-in little bodega that makes its bones on energy shots, beef jerky, lottery tickets and smokes—mostly smokes. But inside this surprisingly large store is perhaps the largest collection of beer bottles south of Division Street and east of the river, including semi-rare imports like Brasserie d’ Achouffe and Pinkus situated above Camo Black Extra malt liquor. And behind the camo bandannas and e-cigarettes, five taps dispense Barley Brown’s and Breakside at only $12 for 64 ounces.


39th Mini Mart

935 SE Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., 234-1411.

Comparatively antiseptic thanks to its high-gloss white linoleum floors and neat shelves, the whistle-clean lines at this convenience store pump 64 ounces of double IPA for $9.99. Along with tandoori chicken, cellphone chargers and copies of Busted magazine, the shop also schedules special tastings from companies like Bridgeport and 2 Towns. You’re much better off here than at the nearby Belmont Bodega, which has an actual bar but only four taps—one of which goes to PBR, and two others to mainstream ciders.


Old Town Pizza

226 NW Davis St., 222-9999; 5201 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 200-5988; oldtownpizza.com.

Pizza, sandwiches and growlers of beer, all delivered by bike in Old Town and for 15 blocks around the brewery on MLK. It’s $15 for a new growler ($10 if you hand them back one of their own) plus a $2.50 delivery charge. They even use the bike to deliver kegs to nearby bars, though not private parties. Greasy, cheesy, bready pizzas are $20 for a modest-sized large. 


New Seasons, Safeway

New Seasons, 3445 N Williams Ave., 528-2888, newseasonsmarket.com. Safeway, 2800 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 236-7070, safeway.com.

Portland’s two newest major grocery stores, the gutted Safeway on Hawthorne and brand-new New Seasons between Williams and Vancouver, both installed growler filling stations. Before you burn rival rewards cards, there are a few things you should know. First, you can’t work the handles yourself and the protocol for tracking down help (ask Safeway’s customer service desk, buzz a New Seasons associate) is a hassle. Second, New Seasons’ selection is limited and expensive, with two wines and two beers, including Hopworks Alt priced at $15. Safeway has five beers topping out at $14 for a bourbon barrel-aged stout, but Josh, the bag boy summoned to help, didn’t show up for 10 minutes. Personally, I’ll stick with the legendary beer case at Fred Meyer on Hawthorne.


Gresham Tobacco Outlet

1173 NE Division St., Gresham, 661-2290. 

Sure, this tobacco store in the plaza behind the Best Western Pony Soldier Inn has Cyclone wraps, Blu e-cigs, corncob pipes, hookahs, two humidors of cigars and a food section stocked with Hostess devil’s food cake Donettes and the newest flavor of Cheetos. But it also has an outrageously well-appointed tap list (Ballast Point IPL, Atlas Apricot Cider, Worthy DIPA, Iron Horse Irish Death) with $8.99 fills and a stock of growlers, including the $50 Bräuler and three glass varieties. Some locals are slow on the uptake—the couple in front of me found it odd to reuse the glass, eyeing a Stone jug for next time as the clerk filled a new Double Mountain growler—while others are realizing this is the cheapest way to get top-notch brew anywhere in the metro area. 



Portland-Area Breweries from A to Z
 | Beer of the Year | Favorite Beers #2-10

Portland-Area Cideries | Top 5 Ciders of the Year Beer Bars and Bottle Shops

Local Growler Makers | Surprising Growler Fills | Homebrew Shops

Restaurants With Great Beer | Local Beer and Liquor Pairings

An Oral History of BridgePort IPA | Beer Events Calendar | Beer Tours

Day Sips: North Oregon CoastHood RiverEugeneSeattle

 
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