During last years’ annual Zwickelmania event, we often had to wait in lines to enter breweries for the free tours and samples. In some cases (Widmer and Cascade), we simply glanced at the crowds and just kept on driving.
For this year’s event, we decided to visit some of the less-popular places, ones that are not so much on the Portland beer geek radar.
Our first stop of the day was at Occidental Brewing Co. This brewery, which opened in 2011, is one of the few places in Oregon that focuses on traditional German styles. They have a fairly bare-bones tap room next to Cathedral Park, under St. Johns Bridge, an area of Portland that is not overrun with breweries or beer bars.
Eight beers were on tap, including their five regulars (Hefeweizen, Kölsch, Altbier, Dunkel, and Pilsner) and three seasonals.
Occidental Kölsch (4.5%) 3.4 out of 5.0
Fresh and light pale malt nose, tiny grassiness, and gentle hops. Clean medium straw color. Sweet malty initial, mid palate flavor changes with light hopping, finishes soft and fruity. Thin body, light carbonation. Smooth, fresh, and clean. According to the bartender, this is Occidental’s flagship brew.
Occidental Bohemian Pilsner (5.8%) 3.6
Pleasant and lightly grassy nose. Clear medium straw color, creamy white head, and good lace. Grass, grain / mid palate moves to light sweet pale malt / thin hop tracks in finish. Thin body. Clear and clean across the palate. Europeans might describe it as an American-style pils. Pretty good.
Occidental Alt (5.3%) 3.7
Good mild, sweet malt aroma, with some spiciness and slight floral notes. Clear dark amber color, really pretty. Bright sweet cereal initial / smooth rich malt mid palate, reminiscent of Bass Pale Ale / light bitterness and then a balanced finish. Thin body. A pleasant alt, just a touch hoppier than a German alt.
6635 N Baltimore Ave
Portland, Oregon United States 97203
503 719 7102