Drinking great beer, especially craft and small-house brews, is a thing in Oregon. A big thing. However, it’s not always easy to find the range of choices you might want, even in the greater Portland area. But when you head to ABV Pub in Hillsboro, Oregon, your problem is solved. Hillsboro is in the heart of the beautiful Tualatin Valley, sometimes called Portland’s backyard, and an easy drive from the city.
Calling itself a “tap house and beer-centric restaurant,” ABV Pub has 34 draft taps for great brews and about 60 feet of glass-front coolers lining two walls, stocked with more than 800 hard-to-find canned and bottled beers, mead, porter, cider, and wine. There’s bound to be something in there for the most curious or persnickety brew imbiber.
Location: ABV Public House, 23588 Clara Lane, Hillsboro, Oregon. Located in the Sunset Highway Business Park, just west of Highway 26, east of NE Brookwood Parkway. Circle to the back of the building for parking and entrance.
Menu: ABV Pub’s beer-centered menu is a nice, local take on gastropub food, with some changeable seasonal specialties. A range of burgers (including elk, lamb and pastrami burgers) sandwiches, soups and salads, pizza, inventive happy-hour small plate dishes and a few stellar desserts. The one thing that ties much of the menu together is beer. Foods that are braised or marinated in beer, dishes with beer as an ingredient, or ones that pair well with the beers being poured that day. There are plenty of vegetarian options at all times.
Thoughts: If you’re looking for a candlelit table with romantic ambiance, ABV Pub is not the place. Located in a business park, it’s garage-big, open, casual and sometimes noisy, a proud beerhall, not a hideaway haven. High ceilinged and open, with exposed iron beams, the room is decorated with rustic wood tables, cheerful strings of patio lights and big beer banners hanging here and there. Nothing about it is pretentious in the least.
Good, fresh food and drink draw crowds. This place can get crowded, and it’s not unusual to have to wait for a table. But waiting at a bar with 32 taps and a bartender who will ask about your tastes, explain the dozens of choices, and even offer samples to help you decide makes the waiting go down easy. A hoppy IPA, a fresh peachy cider, or a seasonal mead with ginger are happy ways to standby.
When your table is ready, prepare to eat well. I was at ABV Pub with a small party so got to try a few dishes. None were disappointing; a couple were astonishingly good. My favorite was the Beer Cheese Soup, rich and thick, made with smoked wheat beer and aged sharp cheddar. The flavor was strong, with a delightful depth, and chock-full of house-made croutons. A companion had a cup of the New Mexico Green Chili, made with smoked pork shoulder and flavored with lots of garlic, lime, and cilantro to smooth out the green chilis.
A surprise favorite was the grilled Caesar salad, made with a grilled wedge of romaine and good parmesan cheese. And I found the Green Chili Poutine, made with French fries, Wisconsin cheese curds, and smoked pork green chili, worth traveling for.
Finally, the burgers! I ordered the Fiddy Fiddy (50/50) Burger, a half pound of ground bacon and ground beef, topped with chipotle bleu cheese sauce, caramelized onions, peppadews and potato chips… and more bacon. Though a bit salty, it was a mouth-awakening delight. I also tasted my friend’s elk burger. She ordered it with gorgonzola cheese, which balanced the rich, slightly gamey flavor of the elk. A side of Dirty Fries, hefty wedges tossed with sage, rosemary and aged parmesan, was a perfect accompaniment.
The dessert selection is small. But when one of those choices is something called “Beer”amisu, you really don’t need to look any farther. This is their signature dessert, a house-made tiramisu infused with a cappuccino stout beer, layered with mascarpone zabaglione, and finished with cocoa powder. Oh my!
The Happy Hour menu offers some enticing small-bite dishes, starting with a warm German bakery pretzel served with beer cheese and spicy house mustard. Add some deviled eggs with sriracha mayo and crushed kettle chips, and an order of bratwurst with braised onions and mustard cream sauce to accompany whatever libation you’ve chosen.
And speaking of libations – You’re not limited (if that could be the word) to those 32 drinks on tap. In the yards and yards of coolers lining the walls, more than 800 labels of beer, mead, cider, and wines offer enough options to make your head spin, if the drinks themselves don’t do it. There are over 40 kinds of honey mead alone.
Pick your favorite or ask your server for some suggestions. Do not, however, open the cans or bottles yourself. State liquor laws require that they are opened by your server, with a corkage fee attached. However, you’re free to choose as many as you want to take away with you.
Despite all the alcohol on offer, ABV Pub in Hillsboro is very kid-friendly. On weekends, especially, it teems with families whose members span the age range. Yes, they offer a special kids’ menu.
With choice this wide and food and drink this good, it can get very busy. And you’re not here for fast food. Don’t expect to get in and out quickly before some other event. They fstate right on the menu that “Good food takes time. Please be patient.” All dishes are cooked to order. Nothing is ever microwaved or cooked in advance.
Don’t let yourself be put off by the hard-to-find business park location of ABV Pub. Or by the lack of a sign other than the small sandwich board announcing that you have arrived. Though it might not be where or what you expect, it’s clearly worth the trip to Hillsboro. A GPS will help you find it!
Price Range: At lunch, expect a range from $4 for a cup of soup, $9 for poutine or a hummus platter, $10-11 for a salad. Sandwiches, with fries or a house salad, run $11-14. Burgers are $10-16. Happy Hour small plates and snacks are $3-7. Dinner prices are similar. The “Beer”amisu dessert is $7.
Tap prices range widely. Most fall into the $6-8 range for a 16 oz. pour. A few, like the Smoked Fig Cocoa Barleywine, come as a 6 oz. pour for $5.50, or 10 oz, for $7.50.
Pin For Later: Save this to your favorite Incredible Edibles board for whenever you want great brews and pub fare in the Greater Portland Area.
Disclosure: The author received a complimentary meal courtesy of the Washington County Visitors’ Association/Visit Tualatin Valley to facilitate this review. The post contains affiliate links. Clicking through for additional information or to make a purchase may result in a small commission being paid to us, at no additional expense to you. This helps support this site and its authors, and we thank you.
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