If the Concordia neighborhood were a city-state it would go a long way to being self-sustaining. You can get fresh made bread and pastries from Miss Zumsteins, grass-fed meat butchered at Old Salt, and ice cream made on premises at Roses. And that’s just on NE 42nd Avenue.
Concordia has two breweries, McMenamins Kennedy School in the east and Great Notion Brewing on the west side of the neighborhood. McMenamins is part of a bigger operation offering a theater, lodging, bars and restaurants. Great Notion sticks to what it does best.
The McMenamins group has embellished Portland and beyond by buying and refurbishing semi-historic properties and repurposing them into dining and entertainment venues. The McMenamins brewery at the Kennedy School opened as part of the rejuvenation of the 1915 neighborhood school in 1997.
The brewery is in what used to be the little girls’ room of the old school, and features artwork depicting the history of beer making as well as the antics of schoolgirls. The brewery operation was upgraded in 2011 with the addition of glycol-jacketed fermentation tanks. The brewers produce typical McMenamins standard and seasonal beers, along with rotating selections such as King’s Landing IPA, Oatmeal Porter and Concordia Pale Ale. Kennedy School is located on NE 33rd, a block north of Killingsworth.
The recently opened Great Notion Brewing has a claim to the tough independent settlers of northwest Oregon. The name comes from the second novel by Oregon writer Ken Kesey, the author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
The brewery is in the former location of Mash Tun, around the corner from Pine State Biscuits on NE Alberta and NE 22nd Ave. Great Notion took over the space on the New Year’s day this year, It’s a are kid-friendly establishment – an opening celebration Great Notion held in February was like a birthday party – the place was full of grade schoolers and their parents. They even had a balloon man.
In early March the new management rolled out the newest Great Notion offerings. They range from Double Stack, a breakfast stout “aged on a ridiculous amount of Vermont maple syrup and locally roasted coffee beans,” to El Chapo, described as “dark and dangerous.” This Mexican-inspired Stout is aged on pasilla & anejo peppers, cinnamon, chocolate and vanilla beans.
In addition to its variety of beers and sours, Great Notion’s imaginative kitchen turns out starters, salads and sandwiches for every appetite, including vegan and gluten free options.
A February story in the Willamette Weekly ranked 73 Portland IPAs. Two of the top five spots – Ripe and Juice Jr. –went to Great Notion.