Craft brewery wings its way into Washington Square
Shoppers now have a way to take a refreshing edge off those long days of going from store to store at the mall — this one not involving caffeine — in the form of Washington Square's first craft beer pop-up kiosk.
On Thursday, July 21, Migration Brewing opened a small beer garden adjacent to the food court at the top of the escalator that oversees the mall's center court, something not often seen in local malls.
The beer garden is open every day. It features: Mohazeic Hazy IPA, Straight Outta Portland IPA, Patio Pale and Proper Pilsner, four of Migration's more widely distributed products. Cider, wine and take-out products will be available as well.
Watching the first day of business, Colby Schlicker, Migration's director of marketing, said it started out steady. The Portland-based brewery is pleased with the selection of Washington Square, Schlicker said, describing it as great venue with good energy surrounding it.
"They have a wonderful team here at Washington Square that we've gotten to know real well, and to kind of be in the spot with some really great brands — we've got Apple and Tesla, a lot of other great brands out here — we thought this was a great opportunity. It is one of the heavier-traffic malls in the Northwest," said Schlicker.
The mall will be the award-winning brewery's second pop-up venture, joining Portland's Saturday Market along Southwest Naito Parkway.
The brewer's Tigard location has a small seating area for patrons who can also belly up to a small bar if they wish.
"Right now, we're letting people bring their food in but they can't take the beer out," said Schlicker. "We can seat 35."
In addition to the pop-ups, Migration Brewery, founded in 2010 by four friends with a passion for brewing, has locations on Northeast Glisan Street, Northeast Wilkes Road and North Williams Street. The Wilkes Road location, located in Gresham, serves as Migration Brewery's main production site and corporate offices. However, the Glisan Street location has a small-batch brewery as well.
"That's where we do a lot of the innovation, have new ideas and try new things," said Schlicker.
That innovation was recently highlighted as part of the annual Fuji to Hood Beer Festival, when Migration created an IPA laced with wasabi — yes, the green horseradish that accompanies most sushi dishes.
"We collaborated with (the) brew festival that essentially makes you use one Japanese ingredient and we're like, 'Let's live wild and try wasabi,'" said Brandon Alves, Migration Brewing brand manager. "The wasabi was grown on the Oregon Coast."
The new brew, served on tap at most Migration Brewing locations, is described as having a smell of "bright lime zest and pink Smarties" with flavors reminiscent of peach rings, mango and papaya.
You may not be able to taste the wasabi, but you can feel the heat, said Alves.
While IPA-focused, Schlicker said Migration produces other classic brews as well.
"I think we play to a lot of diversity of tastes," he said. "We've got a good portfolio of beers."
For the future, Schlicker said Migration Brewing hopes to grow the company.
"We're very heavy in Portland. We'd like to kind of fill out the state some more," he said.
Currently present in Colorado, Schlicker said California is a potential market for distribution. At the moment, they are sending quite a bit of beer overseas as well.
"We just sent a big batch of beer to Japan," he said, adding that Japanese consumers are fond of IPAs and Portland products in general.
Migration has also made shipments to China as well.
Schlicker said they will have the mall location for half a year and then will determine whether to expand.
"We'll see how the six months goes. We're excited about the holiday season," he said.
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