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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 714
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McMenamins Gresham and Eastern Portland
Sunday 13 May 2018   —   Category: Dining Out
One day last May (2017), when my wife Catherine and I were running some errands in the Portland metro area, we continued our McMenamins Passport adventure by visiting one of their pubs in Gresham and two along the Interstate 205 corridor.

All three of them are located in small, mundane strip malls, so they lack the charm and appeal of the historic McMenamins properties. Nevertheless, we needed to stop by each one in order to get our Passport stamps for those locations.
 
 
 
After an afternoon hike to the top of Powell Butte and back, we headed to the nearby Mc­Men­a­mins Highland Pub and Brewery, at the intersection of SE 182nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard (U.S. Route 26), in the eastern Portland metro suburb of Gresham.
This was the view from our table at one end of the restaurant. Highland Pub has the usual McMenamins features, with a bar, tables, booths, and lots of wood.

For dinner we both had a gyro with a side salad, which the menu described as “seasoned beef with tzatziki sauce, cu­cum­ber, red onion, tomato, lettuce and feta cheese in a warm Greek-​style pita.”

This was my forth McMenamins gyro over a period of twelve months. I really enjoyed each one, but this time it struck me how the meat had a consistency more like mystery meat than slices of steak. It was very tender, but actually too tender to seem natural. Since I can easily make a better gyro at home, I decided to not order it in the future. At least I got my Passport stamp.

 

An unexpected part of the décor was an ornate chandelier, which seemed more than a little out of place in a casual strip-​mall pub.

On the other hand, it is a grand example of the McMenamins obsession with un­con­ven­tion­al, and sometimes quite bi­zarre, lamps which illuminate all of their properties.

According to the Highland Pub Web site, this nine-​foot-​tall, 300-​pound lamp is a “gorgeous psychedelic Italianate chan­de­lier, a sibling of the pair hanging from the rafters of our rocking Crystal Ball­room in downtown Portland.”
 
A portion of the building is home to one of McMenamins’ 26 microbreweries.

This decentralized, distributed approach to brewing allows McMenamins to offer over 200 different beers on any given day, with each brew being available at one or more of their their 120 venues.
 
 
 
After a couple of shopping errands we landed at McMenamins Mall 205 Pub, located, amazingly enough, in eastern Portland’s Mall 205 shopping center at the junction of the I-205 and SE Wash­ing­ton Street.

Sunset was approaching, but it was still warm enough to sit outside. I did not know which beer I wanted, so I tried a few samples.
One was a few sips of Sgt. Pepper’s Porter. According to the brewer:

“About twenty days ago today, a beer was brewed that guar­an­tees to raise a smile. So may I introduce to you a deliciously light, coffee-​toned porter with slight hints of chocolate and smoke. So sit back, enjoy a pint, and let the evening go. Just remember, it’s wonderful to drink it. It’s certainly a thrill. It’s such a lovely porter beer, I’d like to take it home with me. Fill a growler and take it home.” Meas­ure­ments: 5.6% ABV • 26 IBU

My notes from that day read: “Almost like a stout ... too much of a coffee taste ... yuck!”
 
Another sample I tried was Skeletor Wins! IPA. According to the brewer:

“Finally, the battle for Eternia is over. Spoiler alert! Skeletor wins. He-Man put up a good fight. His tiger sidekick and friends like Man-E-Faces gave it their best, but the evil one and his minions now have control of Castle Greyskull and the rest of Eternia. He may seem brass and thin skinned, but he’s sup­pos­ed­ly a pretty good negotiator, so I’m going to hold back my criticism for at least the first 100 days. Either way, this beer is delicious, and the extremely goofy beer names have now come to an end. Good riddance, I say.” Meas­ure­ments: 7.0% ABV • 59 IBU

I have NO idea what this Masters of the Universe description has to do with this beer. Good riddance, I agree! My notes from that day read: “It is too hoppy for me!”
 
The last small glass I tried was Boysenberry Semi Sweet Tart. According to the brewer:

“An old favorite has finally returned, and better late than never I always say. As the cousin to the popular Purple Haze, this tart beer will have you begging for more. With a nice, subtle tartness and a clean fruit flavor, it’s the perfect pick for an almost sum­mer day. All you’re missing now is a catchy haiku, like ‘Boy­sen­ber­ry tart / Refreshing beer with some fruit / Now I’m good to go.’” Meas­ure­ments: 5.6% ABV • 20 IBU

I forgot that I had already tried a sample ten days previously. My notes from this second time read: “Not bad ... maybe the best McMenamins fruit beer, but I wouldn’t want a whole pint.”
 
In the end I didn’t care for any of the samples, so I went with a Sleepy Hollow Nut Brown, which I had quaffed three times before.

Next to the pint of ale is my Mc­Men­a­mins Passport, with Catherine’s Passport next to the pot of Tao of Tea Cranberry Orange tea which she enjoyed.
 
As with the previous pub, Mall 205 has the usual McMenamins features, with a bar, tables, booths, and lots of wood.




It also features some of the famous Mc­Men­a­mins artwork, like the Hallucinator Ale painting by long time company artist Lyle Hehn.
 
I snagged another Passport stamp before we headed out.

 
 
 
As the sun was setting, a seven mile drive south on the I-205 brought us to our last destination of the evening, the Sunnyside Pub in the Clackamas County community of Sunnyside, in the south­east­ern Portland metro area.
I was getting kind of tired of beer, so to cap off the evening I had their delicious Black Cherry Cider. This seasonal hard cider is always a winner!

With the cider I received a just-​for-​fun Edgefield Cider 25th Birthday stamp in my Passport.

 
To accompany the sweet cider, Cath­er­ine and I shared an expensive slice of truly scrump­tious lemon cake.

Also sweet was another Passport stamp!

 
These McMenamins strip mall pubs all start to look the same, with very similar tables, booths, bar and style of wood­work.
 
In the end, these three McMenamins venues are not really worth vis­it­ing a second time. With their boring strip mall exteriors, similar run-​of-​the-​mill interiors, lack of historical significance, and uninspiring pub-​fare menus, there is really no compelling reason to. Been there, done that, got my stamps, finished!

I took a total of 42 photos during my tour of these three pubs. Exactly half of them made the grade, and can now be viewed in the new Mc­Men­a­mins Eastern Portland 2017 album.

Of course, Mall 205 and Sunnyside are not the only two McMenamins pubs along the I-205 corridor. Between six and eight miles to the southwest are the Oregon City pub and the West Linn pub. The story of my visit to those two venues can be found in the article An Oregon City / West Linn Pub Crawl.
 
For more tales about other locations, see My McMenamins Passport Adventure.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 714
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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 714
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