Brewery Profile: Gigantic Brewing
Taxidermy, firearms and bladed weapons. According to owner Van Havig, these are the three things a brewery must have. They of course, have all of these things in the tasting room. They also have an outgoing staff, great atmosphere and really great beer. Gigantic is a brewery/taproom in SE Portland in the industrial district that sets itself apart from every other brewery... and basically sets itself apart from everything else as well. The taproom is small, but it stands out amongst the giant, almost derelict looking warehouses—like a gleaming oasis of beer.
When you walk in you realize that this is a place that's all about the beer (and sparkling wine). There are a few tables outside, a few inside and a bar with stools. Gigantic derived its name from what we in the profession of sarcasm call "irony." Gigantic doesn't ever want to be big. They know what they want to be and they are already that. There is no food here, no happy hour. Just what's on tap. You can bring outside food in, just no alcohol. There is a Pizzacato Pizza nearby, and a taco truck across the street that serves up delicious .99 cent tacos. When I visited, there were three house beers on tap. Axes of Evil was a pale ale that had bright aroma notes of citrus mixed with the faint smell of hops. The first taste of this summery beer is of an orange. Very citrusy, which then gives way to a fresh hop flavor with a bitter mouthfeel and a light body. Next in line was the IPA which is pretty much their only staple beer and the only one you'll find on tap for longer than three months. Other beers here are limited release, no exceptions. Once they're gone, they're gone. The aroma of this beer is one of a fresh hop ale. It was nothing short of sticking your head in a bag of hops and inhaling the aroma until your sinuses bleed from sheer euphoria. The first taste was a slight hop/astringent mix. After that it is a strong fresh hop flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste. A very well balanced IPA in my opinion, not too much of anything which seems to be a rarity in a world full of over-hopped beers. Lastly there was the "City that Never Sleeps." This Imperial Black Saison was something to behold. Smokey notes blend with crystal malt, pilsner malt and Belgian yeast to make a masterpiece with the aroma of coffee, the flavor of sour cherry, smoke, and roasted malt.
Gigantic may not be huge, but they do have quite a Gigantic impact on the beer market in Portland. You can find 22's of their beer in stores already—an amazing accomplishment for a brewery who has only had their doors open for less than 5 months. Especially because their beers are also already in Oregon, Washington, Alaska and British Columbia. You can find their beers in Zupans, Whole Foods, Market of Choice, New Seasons, Fred Meyers and bottles of their IPA this fall in Safeway. Gigantic brews about 110 barrels a month; their plans are to grow to 4,000 barrels a year and not get any bigger. You can also find their beers at a few festivals that range into the international category such as Oregon Brewers Festival, Holiday Ale Festival (is December here yet???), Great American Beer Festival and the Great Canadian Beer Festival in Victoria B.C.
All in all, this is a great little place to experience beer and some real Portland characters. Gigantic is open 3-9pm M-F, 2-9pm on Saturdays, and 2-8pm on Sundays. Ride your bike in, bring your dog, sit down next to a friendly local and stay for a few hours. You may just leave with a gigantic appreciation for the little guys of the beer world.
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