Friday, June 3, 2016

Portland Taproom: Royale Brewing's The Garrison

What: The Garrison by Royale Brewing
Where: 8773 N. Lombard St.
Honeys Heart: Everything but the beer (and that's ok!)

I already touched on this in my posts about Mama San and Swift & Union, but it's been really exciting to watch as up-and-coming restaurateurs are more and more viewing St. Johns and Kenton as viable neighborhoods to start their businesses.

One recent addition to downtown St. Johns that I'm pretty pumped about is Two-Thirds, a mixed-use development featuring a shop space, three restaurant/bar spaces, offices, and apartments.

Photo from Eater Portland
Two of the restaurant/bar spaces opened last month: The Sudra (Kel & and reviewed their The Ocean location here) and The Garrison taproom. (24th and Meatballs is rumored to be filling the third slot, but there's been no official word yet.)

With the weather being so nice, Doug and I recently walked to downtown St. Johns for dinner at Girasole (great wood-fired pizza, btw) followed by a round at The Garrison.

I didn't know anything about Royale Brewing before news of their taproom broke, but Doug explained that they've been around for a few years (their website says 2014) and their beers have been available at a selection of local restaurants, including a favorite of ours- La Taq.

Doug didn't remember being especially impressed with Royale's beers when he had tried them previously, and I have to say, I felt fairly "meh" about the pale ale, belgian blonde, and stout that we sampled during our visit. They all had that sort of homebrew-y vibe to them where the beer's not bad, something's just a little off.

But, and I stress the "but" here, sometimes it doesn't matter if the beer is iffy as long as the spot has other things going for it, and The Garrison definitely has other things going for it:

#1 The Location
Before Royale came to town, there were really only two other beer-focused spots that we frequented in our neighborhood: Chill N Fill and Occidental Brewing, neither of which we have ever walked to. The Garrison is an under 15-minute walk from our house, so I can see us taking advantage of that a lot, especially in the summer. 

#2 The Ambiance
St. Johns has a lot of great dive bars, but there are only a few spots to go when you're looking to drink somewhere a bit classier. The patio at The Fixin' To is our go-to when it's nice out, but The Garrison is giving it a run for its money with its dual open-air options of picnic tables or outdoor bar seating (which I neglected to take any pictures of- sorry!).

#3 The Food
If it turns out that 24th and Meatballs is in fact moving next door, it will be a dream come true for Doug, who gets to eat their meatball sandwiches much less than he would like.

#4 The Service 
Our server was super friendly and easy to talk to. Service is not always at top priority at breweries and taprooms, so I appreciate that The Garrison is bucking that trend.  

And so, even if the beer is not so great, I'll think we'll be patronizing The Garrison quite a bit. Cheers!