First, there were non-profit bars; now, the doors have swung open at North Portland's new non-profit brewery. Ex Novo Brewing Co. officially debuted last week on N. Flint Avenue, brewing beer on-site for its 50-seat brewpub (founder Joel Gregory notes the brewery's fermenters sit about eight feet away from the start of the bar: "There's no question we brew beer here").
The name Ex Novo (which translates to "from nothing") emphasizes the brewery's non-profit mission, which "came about pretty naturally," Gregory says. "Sitting down and asking the question, 'What do I want this brewery to be about?,' it didn't take long to feel the pull to make it about helping others that are doing great work in the community and world abroad." To that end, Ex Novo has pledged to split profits among four beneficiaries: Impact NW, Friends of the Children, MercyCorps, and International Justice Mission. "Sustainable community development and alleviating extreme poverty have always been things that have my heart," Gregory says, "so it just made sense to make my business work toward that end."
The pub, inside a building dating from the 1940s, plays off of its exposed barrel truss roof and old-growth beam mezzanine, bringing in rustic woods and combining them with clean lines to create "a really comfortable space." Ex Novo currently offers three house-brewed beers on tap — a Session Pale Ale, an IPA and a traditional Scottish Red, $4.50 per pint, a dollar less during happy hour — and Gregory says a souring program and barrel-aging program are set to roll out "in the next year."
The food menu, meanwhile, features a dozen salads, sandwiches, and snacks. Made-to-order guacamole with housemade tortillas, veggie-and-red-rice-stuffed yams, and "bacon for the table" make up the latter category, while sandwiches include a beer-braised beef brisket, yam and bacon, and roasted turkey on brioche. Ex Novo is open now; hours vary daily.
· Ex Novo Brewing Co. [Official site]
· All Previous Eater Insides [Eater PDX]