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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fifteenth Ave Hophouse Looking Good

Spacious outdoor seating adds to the experience
We've seen a lot of new breweries and pubs opening their doors in recent times. I particularly enjoy seeing the new pubs and tap houses that bring in quality beers from around the region and beyond. These places don't brew so their only loyalty is to great beer.

The Fifteenth Avenue Hophouse (cross street is NE Brazee) opened a few weeks ago and is just now gaining momentum. This place is connected to the Hawthorne Hophouse (41st and SE Hawthorne). I visited the Hawthorne location over the summer and was impressed by the beer selection and vibe.

The Fifteenth Avenue location is follows the same line of thought. They have more taps here, 33 in all. Most of these taps pour beer, but a few pour cider and wine. There are no bottles of any kind here, which swerves away from the recent trend of pubs doubling as bottle shops.

Like its brethren on Hawthorne, Fifteenth Avenue has a pleasant ambiance. There is a spacious, comfy outdoor seating area. The interior is quasi-plush, in keeping with the general theme of the surrounding Irvington neighborhood. They had a gent playing acoustic guitar and singing when I visited, adding to the vibe.

Expect great beers here. They were pouring beers from Ninkasi, Nectar, Oakshire, Boneyard and Natian, among others. I tried Red Nectar from Nectar brewing, on the barkeep's advice. Wow. This is a perfectly matched mix of malt and hop flavor, aroma and bitterness. I wasn't surprised to learn Firestone Walker makes this beer or that it won a Gold Medal at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival in the American Amber category. Great stuff.

They are still in the process of getting their menu completely up-to-speed. Fifteenth Avenue apparently has a larger kitchen than the Hawthorne location and they expect to serve some higher end fare to go with the standard pub menu we all know and love.

They had some issues getting this place open due to opposition in the neighborhood. But it  isn't a strip club and it isn't a tavern, either. The low key ambiance goes perfectly with the surrounding area. I suspect the Fifteenth Avenue Hophouse will do well.

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