A Look Inside Ex Novo Brewing Company

by Mary Locke on Dec 1, 2014 in Beer
A Look Inside Ex Novo Brewing Company

The motto for Ex Novo, the new 10-barrel brewery in inner North Portland, is simple: Drink beer. Do good. Inside the brewery’s rustic wood-slatted walls, folks do just that. The neighborhood spot hosts an ever-rotating tap list with eight of its own brews and one guest cider.

Try the rich, Trail Blazers’ point guard-inspired stout, Damon Stoutamire (6.8% ABV), or the Cardinal Sim IPA (6.0% ABV), which makes a mean grapefruit radler. Ex Novo’s Belgian Ale (5.5% ABV) is a balanced fruity beer with a clean, dry finish and four different hops varieties sourced from the Yakima Valley. The brewery’s take on a German dark lager, or Schwarzbier, is the Schwarz-ighted (5.1% ABV). The lager’s malty backbone and toasted nut flavors find balance in the noble hops. If you prefer a more local beer, try the Eliot IPA (6.6% ABV), named for the neighborhood in which the brewery resides. The ale, dry hopped with the Pacific Northwest’s Galaxy, Centennial, Mosaic and Simcoe, has tropical fruit flavors and aromas.

Ten shiny silver brewing barrels lie at one end of the family-friendly brewery (there’s a changing table in the restroom), and at the other, beer drinkers with their kids in tow sit at high-backed wooden booths, sipping on Belgian and Session ales. The brewery’s interior is minimal -- not unlike the current Portland aesthetic for spots of the same sort -- with a framed vintage illustration of a barely settled Bridgetown hanging on the walls. Also hanging: a number of exposed Edison light bulb fixtures, which dangle from the ceiling, making the drinking establishment brighter than most, yet still inviting and hospitable.

At the bar, expect to see a young, enthusiastic, female to your left, wearing a snug Damian Lillard jersey (folks pre-game here en route to the Moda Center). To your right, expect to find an older lad from the neighborhood sipping an IPA while catching the Oregon Ducks game on the one television hanging behind the bar. Overhead, the word “Cheers” is emblazoned on the wall, serving as both a greeting and a tribute.

And the “Do good” part of the brewery’s motto? Net profits from Ex Novo are donated to area nonprofits, including ImpactNW, which helps people to develop skills that lead to independence, and MercyCorps, which aims to alleviate poverty and suffering. Specifically, Ex Novo assists MercyCorps by directly supporting the nonprofit’s work with the Syrian refugee population. “We see these great organizations spending so much time seeking funds and we want to be a consistent fundraising tool for them,” say the owners of Ex Novo, in their official statement. “So, when you drink from our taps or eat from our kitchen, you’re helping us help others. Thanks for that. Seriously.” Cheers, indeed.

Ex Novo, 2326 N Flint Ave.; 503-894-8251

Photos by Mary Locke


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