Both the Widmer Gasthaus Pub and actually brewery are located in a quasi industrial section of town, which makes parking a sinch. Widmer, started by two Oregonian brothers in the 1970s, is responsible for brewing America's original hefeweizen, and I'd like to now claim bragging rights that this was my first and only non PBR/Keystone Light beer back when I was barely legal. They offer free tours and an awesome happy hour.
We weren't sure what beers to start off with so our waiter kindly brought out some samples since Widmer has a rotating list of seasonal beers.
The first round of beers included the OKTO, a sweet, maltier beer with a little bitterness and the Broken Halo IPA, a "devilishly bold" Indian Pale Ale.
The OKTO and Broken Halo force
Widmer serves largely German food, so we started off with the Fondue Sausage Sampler ($8.95): an ensemble of bratwurst, double-smoked kielbasa and weisswurt drenched in a fondue made of swiss cheese, beer, wine and spices. Although the green onions look like some afterthought of the line cook, they are an essential part of accentuating the creamy cheese and the hearty sausage. What happens when you have a table of five six foot women? Order another one.
The sauteed mushrooms ($4.95) proved to be another solid and satisfying start to our meal. Widmer takes a half pound of button mushrooms, sautes them in intense garlic butter, and brings them out on a sizzle platter. The amount of garlic used was beyond generous.
My new favorite Widmer beer is the Deadlift IPA, with a robust hop flavor yet orange blossom nectar nose. It's 8.6% ABV, so drinker beware.
Some of my friends, original Portland inhabitants, never lose their hefe loyalty. Just in case you're wondering how the original is served, here you go:
America's original Hefeweizen
After the appetizer sausage fest I was feeling carnaged out so I got the Vegetarian Reuben ($7.95), which basically substitutes tomatoes for the meat and carries on with the classic components of sauerkraut: melted swiss cheese and 1000 island dressing all on a grilled marbled rye bread. I loved this version more than the meaty one.
Vegetarian Reuben = a tricked out grilled cheese
The Pulled Pork Quesadilla ($8.95) with alder wood smoked pork and tillamook cheddar was applauded.
The one side Widmer is wildly famous for is their "Widmer Sisters" potato salad with dense and waxy red skin potatoes, red onions, relish, dill and whole grain mustard. This is the potato salads of potato salads, German style of course.
As much as I love my friends, after all they are my old teammates and all their names are written on my right kidney if it should ever come to that, but they ordered boring items offered on the menu. No schnitzel, or epic beer cheese soup to report on. Maybe later.
Zzzzzzz......Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
(Insert snore) Turkey Deluxe
Biggest offender: Soup and Salad combo. Come on, guys!
995 N. Russell
Portland, OR 97227