Worth Their Malt

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Martin Luther King Jr. once said “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” Well, it turns out that the Pacific Index editorial team can’t crawl very far.

   On a recent rainy Thursday evening, we set out on a brewery pub crawl to scout out the offerings of the two (2) breweries in Forest Grove. Ridgewalker Brewing and Waltz Brewing are both an easy walk from campus, while Kaiser Brewing on the southern reach of town is “temporary closed.”

   Within sight of campus on 21st street, Ridgewalker Brewing advertises itself as a “neighborhood pub.” On that Thursday, over half the tables were filled by families. This is a good place to bring the in-laws and friends alike. The taproom is bright and alive, illuminated by several heavy iron chandeliers suspended from a criss-crossed grid of rough-hewn beams. The gorgeous booth and bench tables are similarly sawed from massive rounds of hardwood.

   While the Index’s faculty advisor eviscerated a classic Pub Cheeseburger, my first foe was a BBQ Pulled Pork which drew jealous glances from the rest of the posse, who consoled themselves with the fruity effervescence of Helvetia Cider’s Son of a Peach. The cider is indeed peach-forward, but overall well-balanced and invigorating.

   The beer offerings were ample, although perhaps played it safe. The Longstride IPA is a basic, no-frills IPA, while their newer release, Stay Cold, Pony Boy throttles back the hops and offers a deliciously understated IPA. The John Wit is a creamy and easy-drinking witbier that begs for a hot summer day and the shade of riverside willows.

   Provisioned with froth and fries, we sallied forth to continue our quest, but were forced to leave the minors among our company behind at the threshold of Waltz Brewing. At first glance, Waltz is the dark side to Ridgewalker’s light. The exterior looks pulled from the junkyard, and the tables are mix-and-match, including folding tables plastered over with brewery stickers. Old saws are nailed to the wall behind the bar, painted with the names of various beers. The back room is stacked with empty kegs and the door knocker for the men’s bathroom features a large pair of brass balls.

   The team behind Waltz are long-time buddies, and that easy-going camaraderie is evident in the mood there, as friends sidled up to the bar after the posted closing time and laughed freely, but they were just as welcoming to us newcomers. The bar hosts live music from time to time, with the next show being Topless Hank, who will play on April 23.

   Waltz offers an ample variety of beers. The Galaxy Pale Ale is smooth and easy drinking—a back-to-basics beer. One of our number decided to go further afield, sampling the Vertigo’s Hatch Chili Red Ale. The bartender raised an eyebrow and asked, “You want a whole pint?” Distinctly spicy, yet supported by a malty flavor base and undercurrents of pine, this burnin’ hot beer will not be forgotten.

   The inaugural Pacific Index Brew Pub Crawl found that while Forest Grove is hardly a microbrew mecca, the Ridgewalker and Waltz breweries are both worth their malt. — Lane Johnson and the Index Editors


Managing Editor

Major: English Literature

Hometown: Shedd, Oregon

Hobbies: cycling, reading, camping, xc skiing, hiking, backpacking

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