When she moved to Portland from Dayton, Ohio, Tia Williamson felt like she landed in the ideal spot: Her new apartment sat right above Natian Brewery’s Burnside taproom, and Williamson wanted to learn as much as she could about craft beer. “I was there all the time,” she says. She started working there with another out-of-towner: Kristine Corey, from Flagstaff, Arizona. When Corey and Williamson lost their jobs in early 2020, their boss, Ian McGuinness, set them up with new gigs, and the two became closer than ever. “We grew closer during the pandemic,” Williamson says. “We drove to work together, we went home together, we spent all our time together on the weekends.”
Now, the two are taking over the taproom where they found each other. Later this month, Williamson and Corey will open Neighbors Taproom, a beer bar, coffee shop, and community space featuring local art and musicians.
In the mornings, Neighbors will serve Deadstock coffee and vegan pastries like croissants and vegan pop tarts from Toast’d; the cafe will occasionally serve beers made with honey, but generally the space will be vegan. As the space transitions into evening service, Williamson and Corey will pour pints of Pacific Northwestern beers, including things like Ecliptic’s Carina Peach Sour, 5440’s Kascadia Kolsch, and a few remaining beers from the late Natian Brewery, specifically Natian Irish Water and the Dublin Down stout. The taps will also include non-alcoholic drinks like kombucha and non-alcoholic beer.
The food will be simple — packaged snacks, potentially a food cart parked outside — but Williamson and Corey are more focused on the environment within the space: They want Neighbors to host musicians, dedicate a wall where artists can hang their art to sell, and host community events like book clubs. “What’s nice is that we’ve been working there for a couple of years, so we know the regulars,” Williamson says. “Everyone knows someone who make art, or has a friend who has a musician. It makes us excited for the future.”
Overall, as two women coming from small cities, they want Neighbors to serve the same role Natian held for them: As a welcoming first base for the people moving to Portland. “With all those apartment buildings around, all these people moving into Portland, we want to give people a sense of,’ Oh, this is Portland,’” Williamson says. “They can learn about the local artists, learn about beer, without straying too far from home.”
Neighbors Taproom will open at 1306 E Burnside Street.
• Natian Brewery [Official]