A new Slabtown brewery is now serving malt-forward beers, crisp lagers, and hand-pies. Run by veteran Portland brewers, Hammer & Stitch opened earlier this month in the space formerly occupied by Clear Creek Distillery.
After a year of delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hammer & Stitch finally opened on Oct. 10. The brewery comes from Ben Dobler and Cameron Murphy, who have an extensive history in the Portland beer scene: Dobler cut his teeth at the iconic Widmer Brothers brewery before stints at Laurelwood, Mt Tabor, and Bridgeport Brewing. It was at Laurelwood where he met Murphy, who took over as head brewer there after Dobler’s departure.
Dobler says that he wants to focus on the role of malt in Hammer & Stitch beers, “to push folks to revisit or discover how malt can be at the forefront without being overbearing or sweet,” he says. As such, Hammer & Stitch will look to focus on clean-and-simple lagers and ales with a focus on malt’s role in beer-making.
Interestingly enough, the brewery’s porter does this by actually omitting roasted malt from the mash: The Porter, which is lighter in style than most any others found in town, has the sort of clarity one might expect to see in a brown ale, instead. According to Dobler, this is by design: He said he was hoping to have a porter that stood out from others, to feel truly different from a stout — a line that has been blurred by most modern brewers.
Beyond the porter, the brewery has launched with a handful of flagship beers simply named “the Lager,” “the Ale,” and “the IPA.” The Lager is lightly dry-hopped with Idaho 7 and cashmere hops, but still comes across clean and crisp on the palate, making it a versatile pairing for the food options currently available in-house.
The kitchen is backed by catering company Grand Cru Hospitality, who is no stranger to the world of brewpub food — the company has handled the food menu at Stormbreaker Brewing for five years. The menu features traditional beer bar offerings like burgers and wings, with the addition of hand pies and even some vegan options. The gluten-free hand pies are made with masa flour and rotating fillings. Another departure from standard brewpub fare: The restaurant’s “nachos,” essentially deconstructed ahi tuna sushi on a wonton chip, are a bright take on a pub staple.
Hammer & Stitch serves its beers and snacks in a bright, open-concept taproom, which gives beer drinkers a wide-open look at what the owners have dubbed “brewery theater.” It’s here that Hammer & Stitch intends to showcase the product as well as the process behind it. While currently only serving draft beer, the team at Hammer & Stitch hopes to have beer in cans in the near future — a part of the show, so to speak.
Hammer and Stitch is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, and has socially distanced indoor seating in the front of the house, outdoor patio seating, and brewery area seating. The brewery is located at 2377 NW Wilson Street.
• Hammer & Stitch Brewing [Official]
• Hammer & Stitch Brewing Opens in Northwest Portland [BP]