Over the holiday weekend, I had the opportunity to visit one of the newest breweries to open in the state, Xicha Brewing in Salem. We were visiting friends in town and one of them was friends with the head brewer, so of course we had to check it out. Apparently, the crew running the place are all West Salem natives and have a huge backing of community support. They weren’t that busy when we got there on the early afternoon of Black Friday, but apparently most nights they’ve been slammed and it was hopping by the time we left.
They’ve been open less than a month so the beer selection is somewhat limited, but still very solid. They had five beers on when we were there. An IPA, a pale ale, an Amarillo dry-hopped pale ale, a porter and a variant of the porter with Hatch chilies. I believe we tried all of them aside from the standard pale ale.
The beer is solid and I expect it to continue to impress, but the reason you want to go here is the FOOD. Cooking for them is the owners of Pura Vida Cocina in McMinnville, and it’s really unique Latin and South American food. It’s similar to Mexican but with some unique twists. I got Sopes, which was a crispy masa cup with their guava BBQ chicken, black beans, cheese and pickled cabbage. It was really good and very different than anything I’ve ever had. My wife got the daily special which was Venezuelan style shrimp arepas, which are a stuffed masa dish similar to a empenada but usually served open faced rather than fully closed (at least the two times I’ve seen them).
They are tucked away in an industrial park, but it’s well worth searching out. I’m already looking forward to going back. I literally cannot recommend it enough.