Ringler’s (McMenamins Brewing Company)
1332 W. Burnside
Visited on May 23, 2009
McMenamins Brewing is a large chain found just about everywhere in the Pacific Northwest. They’ve got about 65 locations throughout Washington and Oregon. But rather than being stereotypical Americana, these pubs and restaurants are eclectic and unique, and many feature live music and local artists.
I visited Ringler’s Pub, the outfit of McMenamins located in downtown Portland near the largest book store in the country. Without consulting my original review, I don’t remember a lot about it, other than the fact there was outdoor seating and a very cheap individual pizza involved. The pizza wasn’t great, and the beer didn’t impress me. But let’s go back to see what I thought at the time.
On one of the main east/west drags of downtown Portland and right across the street from the largest independent book store in the country, Ringler’s has all of the character and interest of all of McMenamins locations. Featuring a gigantic bar, pool tables, televisions, bar games and eclectic decorations, the bar is a dark homage to a traditional beer hall where folks gather to hang out and drink. Top notch location.
The food is mostly bar fare. I stopped in around 4 on a Saturday afternoon and was pleased to find it was still happy hour despite the weekend. There was a long menu of food items for $2, and I went with a simple 8-inch pepperoni pizza. Nothing fancy. Good, crisp and chewy crust. Plenty of cheese and pepperoni, and a touch too much grease for my tastes. But awesome for $2. Terrible for the typical price, though.
Like all McMenamins locations, the beer is solid but not outstanding. I think it’s amazing that they can be such a large chain with 40 some locations in Oregon and Washington, yet retain their beer’s deliciousness and assertiveness. Very little would appeal to the Bud drinker here. It’s craft brewing through and through, unlike Rock Bottom, who appeals to the beer drinker on the edge of trying a real beer.