It seems you can’t blink in this town without a new brewery/restaurant/taproom opening. Most of it goes unnoticed because we just can’t keep up with it all. Proper Pint was different. My wife and I drive by the location everyday and have been watching the progress since before we even knew it was going to be a taproom. When the signs went up for Proper Pint we were excited to have another beer bar in the area that would be walking distance from our house (Only 7 blocks).
Last Saturday, we drove by the location (52nd and Woodstock) and saw people inside. They looked open. We already had plans for that day, but we decided we would swing by on Sunday. While I was searching the internet for a website with online tap listings and hours of operation, I didn’t find it, but I did run across this great article from New School Beer which gives a little bit of history of the owner Sean Hiatt, formerly of the Civic Taproom. The article also has some great pictures of the interior, which I neglected to take because I was more interested in the beer.
So we stopped in on Sunday, and as fate would have it, ended up sitting next to Sean at the bar. He looked nervous, but in that excited energy kind of way. Turns out they had opened the day before, when we saw people inside, so this was only their second day open. We chit chatted with Sean and with Gary behind the bar while we ordered a couple beers and enjoyed the space. Sean said they hoped to have a “grand opening” celebration in a couple weeks. He said the target was Saturday August 5th, but that sounded up in the air, so don’t quote me on that.
One of the things I discovered in the article, and then spoke to Sean about on Sunday, was that he built the bar. Literally. He is an accomplished wood worker and he built the tables, stools, shelves, bar, barback etc. Anything made of wood in that bar, he made it. He said it took him about four months to make all the chairs and tables. Talk about a labor of love!
I would certainly call last weekend a “soft opening”, there are still some kinks to work out, like tap handles that don’t fit quite right and figuring out how to best utilize the flow control taps, but I feel confident they will get those worked out quickly.
Another thing that I observed, which was both a kink to work out and a great example of customer service, was when a patron ordered the de Garde Bu Weisse, and then she came back a few minutes later and told Gary that she thought this was the Zitrus Weizen and not the Weisse. The two taps were side by side. Gary poured a small amount from both taps, looked, smelled and tasted them (which is allowed now by OLCC regulations) and told the customer she was absolutely right. Poured her a new glass and then went to the back to see what had gone wrong and discovered the two draft lines were swapped. The way he handled that situation was very well done. Obviously with being newly opened, things like this will happen, but to handle them with class and grace is a tribute to the team there at Proper Pint.
When we were there they had a good mix of beers on tap, which has probably changed by now, including the requisite IPAs and Double IPAs, but also a handful of lighter beers like Kolsch and Weizen and Farmhouse beers. They also have a couple of ciders on tap and two nitro taps. One was Left Hand Milk Stout on Nitro, the other was a Nitro IPA from Loowit. While I loved the hop profile of the IPA, the Nitro made it seem flat and overly sweet. It was missing that bite from the carbonation.
If you live in SE Portland (or maybe if you don’t) I’d highly recommend you swing by. I know my wife and I will be back fairly often.
Proper Pint Taproom is located at the Intersection of 52nd Street and Woodstock Blvd. They are open from noon to about midnight, 7 days a week (official hours not yet posted). For more information check out their Facebook Page.