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Monday, December 13, 2010

Will S.F. Ever Get a Beer Truck Like Portland's?

Posted By on Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 4:18 PM

click to enlarge Brew truck Beervana launched this weekend at Portland's new D-Street Noshery food-cart pod. - BRIAN YAEGER
  • Brian Yaeger
  • Brew truck Beervana launched this weekend at Portland's new D-Street Noshery food-cart pod.

Former SFoodie beer contributor Brian Yaeger recently moved to Portland, where he's combating instant-onset S.A.D. with ― you guessed it ― beer.

Portland's pods ― those clusters of food carts that nourish so many lumberjack look-alikes ― sprout up across Bridgetown so frequently that they have bestowed Bridgetown with yet another nickname: Cartopia, well documented on SFoodie here,

here, here, and even in this new book here. There are reportedly 500 carts in all. Saturday marked the grand opening of another pod, the D-Street Noshery, in the Southeast Clinton neighborhood on Division Street at S.E. 32nd Avenue.

click to enlarge Captured by Porches Brewing Co. calls the truck a "mobile pubhaus." - BRIAN YAEGER
  • Brian Yaeger
  • Captured by Porches Brewing Co. calls the truck a "mobile pubhaus."

Home to nine distinct food carts ― each lists several vegetarian offerings (even the sustainable fish and meat truck offers farm-fresh eggs) ― the D-Street pod's marvel is the truck from Captured by Porches Brewing Co., a nod to Rose City's best nickname, Beervana. Dubbed a "mobile pubhaus" by Captured by Porches founders Dylan and Suzanne Goldsmith, fresh beer is poured from taps directly drilled into the side of a shortbus. The brewery is based in St. Helens, Ore., roughly 30 miles north of Portland, but they receive special permits to pour beer on-the-go, so to speak. Speaking of on-the-go, if you don't have a growler to refill, bring in any ol' Mason jar and they'll come up with a reasonable price for the fill. The idea is so brilliant and obvious, it's only a matter of time before others follow in their wake. Rogue Brewing is already rumored to be working on a similar concept.

click to enlarge What goes best with beer from a truck? Waffles from the Awesome Cone truck, of course. - BRIAN YAEGER
  • Brian Yaeger
  • What goes best with beer from a truck? Waffles from the Awesome Cone truck, of course.

From one of the five taps actually flowed draft ginger-quince kombucha, and because of their license, it can be legally served over 0.5% ABV. CbP's flagship Invasive Species IPA seemed to be the biggest hit at the rainy day (surprise!) grand opening. We leaned slightly in favor of the Yggdrasil Imperial Pale. A maltier, more balanced beer that could be said to be more IPA-like than the hay-flavored IPA (and at 7.8% ABV, 1 1/2 percent higher in alcohol), it was a great accompaniment to our green chile chicken arepa from the Fuego de Lotus cart (the wife didn't take our hint about trying the pork belly in red chile maple sauce arepa instead) as well as our other grub from Awesome Cone. Chef Gus describes his creations thusly: "They're waffle cones! But instead of boring, old ice cream, they're filled with food. Hot, delicious food."

When he slapped a "sold out" piece of masking tape over the chicken and dumpling cone as we approached the order window, we opted for the pig cone ― pulled pork with tangy slaw. Alas, the mac 'n' cheese cart was dark. Luckily, the Pie Spot wasn't similarly empty, so we left noshing a three-bite-sized "pie hole" filled with s'mores.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Follow Brian Yaeger at @yaeger.

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