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Roots Organic Brewing
1520 Southeast 7th Avenue
Portland, Oregon
(503) 235-7668
Visited on February 14, 2010

You might think that an organic brewery in the heart of Portland, Oregon would have a bit of a hippy feel. And you know what? You’d be right.

Roots was my first stop on the second day of my President’s Day Portland brewpub excursion. I planned to hit as many as I could, eating and drinking at both, while trying to empty the stomach by walking everywhere I went. As my first stop of the day, I was plenty hungry and thirsty.

Roots is located just on the east side of the Willamette River and a bit south of the true downtown of Portland. The street’s building have seen some renovations, and they’ve done a nice job. Roots is unassuming from the outside, a long building of alternating solid orange and maroon. It looks a bit like an island hut in the front, which is fitting, seeing as how that’s exactly what it is on the inside. Surfboards, colorful murals, weird paintings and eclectic decorations abound. My favorite was the voodoo Ken doll taped to one of the taps.

The menu looked more impressive than it tasted. Everything is island-themed, with bowls and plates filled with island barbecue, rice and vegetables. Of course, they have plenty of sandwiches and burgers as well. I had a Mayan Bowl with jerk chicken, featuring black beans, coconut rice, avocado, onion, tomato, cilantro and a sweet and spicy sauce. It was fresh, light and refreshing. However, the chicken was a bit hard to find, both physically in the bowl and in its contribution to the taste profile.

The beers were, of course, excellent. Everything in Portland is. I enjoyed a sampler and then hung out with a pint of my favorite, a simple but well-done Pale Ale featuring Amarillo hops. It’s a great session beer.

The service was okay, but not great. Sitting at the bar early in the afternoon in a mostly empty restaurant, I could have used a bit of banter. But as it was, I was well taken care of.

Location: 17
Food: 17
Beer: 19
Service: 16
Overall: 17
Total: 86

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