Dining out guide: Hopworks Urban Brewery
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 p.m. to close daily.
Contact: 360-828-5139, hopworksbeer.com
Where: 17707 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver.
Health score: Hopworks Urban Brewery received a score of 15 on Sept. 29. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.
Why: Hopworks Urban Brewery is all about creating world-class beer and food using sustainable business practices that protect our environment and inspire the community. Local sourcing of organic ingredients is evidenced in the menu selections, and the coloring displays and kid play area within the dining room convey commitment to being family friendly.
What I tried: My dining companion and I started with the Brewer’s Poutine with pulled pork. I decided on the meatball calzone for my entree, and my dining companion settled on the Peloton Steak Sandwich. I sampled a couple of the beers before choosing the Too Legit to Wit, which was refreshing and light; my dining companion, being a huge fan of a strong hop flavor, tried the Moment of Clarity.
The poutine was a tasty, hearty dish of potato wedges, gravy and garlicky cheese curds. The pulled pork atop completed it perfectly. This is a must-try.
Both of our entrees were good, but the calzone was most impressive. The marinara was rich and tomatoey with a pleasant essence of oregano. The meatballs, ricotta, basil and mozzarella within the expertly made crust were all that I hoped for when I discovered it on the menu.
My dining companion enjoyed his Philly-style steak sandwich, but as good as it was, it did not possess the wow factor of the calzone.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Hummus made with Organic IPX Single Hop Ale is on the starter menu. Italian minestrone soup and a soup of the day are available. Salads include a traditional Cobb, a Caesar and a spicy Southwest quinoa made with romaine, roasted red pepper salsa with quinoa, black beans, sweet corn, grape tomatoes, black olives, avocado and sour cream. The bomber burger sounded tasty, with Tillamook cheddar, a beer BBQ sauce and smoked bacon. The habanero burger brings the heat with crispy jalapenos and Mama Lil’s peppers atop melted, smoked paprika cream cheese with spicy habanero aioli, lettuce, tomato and onion. A scratch-made, freshly pressed vegetarian patty is on the menu, as is a spicy, marinated grilled chicken breast brushed with sweet chili sauce served on a pub bun with grilled pineapple-sesame-ginger-carrot slaw and Sriracha aioli. Fish and chips, tacos, and mac and cheese are among some of the other options. Pizzas include the Meatballer topped with beef and pork meatballs, sweet peppers and caramelized red onions on a marinara base. Kids choices include a pretzel dog, quinoa bowl, a black bean cheeseburger and pasta. Chocolate chip cookies, a stout brownie sundae and a stout float are included in the dessert selection. There are 23 beers and ciders on tap.
Atmosphere: The large, standalone establishment is open and airy with a bar, dining room, mezzanine and patio, which offers ample seating for a large number of diners. Windows wrap around the two-story space, allowing in a lot of natural light; string lights are strung across the dining room, lending a touch of patio charm within. A line-up of bicycle frames creates an interesting feature above the bar, and several large-screen TVs provide entertainment.
Other observations: The waitstaff was very attentive and anticipated needs. The food was delicious and the beer was refreshing. The mezzanine may be reserved for private events. Kegs to go are available.
Cost: Starters cost $4.95 to $12.50. Soup is available in a cup or a bowl for $4 to $7.50. Salads are $10.25 to $12.75 (additional protein may be added for another $4 and $7). Burgers and sandwiches cost $11.95 to $14.95. Pizza comes in 12-inch medium, 16-inch large and 18-inch family sizes, as well as calzone style, and ranges from $15.25 to $30.25. Weekday lunch specials cost $9.50 and $10. Kids options are $5.75 to $6.75. Dessert is $2.25 to $6.95. Happy hour prices are $3 to $8.25.