In a food and beverage city like Portland, Oregon, it’s not easy for a restaurant to rise to star status, but Ecliptic Brewing appears to be well on its way.
The craft brewery and restaurant was established in 2013 by John Harris, a veteran of craft brewing expertise whose career began as a brewer at McMenamins’ breweries and progressed to Deschutes where he crafted recipes for the brands Mirror Pond, Black Butte Porter, Jubelale, and Osbidian Stout. He spent the next 20 years as a brewmaster at Full Sail, where he was responsible for the Brewmaster Reserve line, before opening Ecliptic Brewing, where his brewing creativity and love of astronomy have awakened a new force in craft beer and food pairings.
The restaurant’s name—a nod to the earth’s annual spin around the sun—also foreshadows the rotation of the seasonal beer and food menu every six weeks, in alignment with the old-world calendar. The core menu includes pub staples like burgers, soups, and salads—albeit with an elevated flair as seen in the Ecliptic Burger, a half-pound burger with pancetta, red onion, aged Gruyere, and Russian dressing ($14). However, the seasonal menu—led by executive chef Michael Molitor—takes off with diverse offerings like the Grilled Panissa, with chickpea polenta, black kale, blood orange, and smoked walnuts ($13), or the Braised Brisket, with whipped Yukon potatoes and turnip-caper gremolata ($16), two of the highlights on the Winter Solstice menu.
The beer offering is even more stellar, with selections ranging from the Spica Pilsner, ABV 5.5%, to the Rosette Saison, ABV 6.6%, to the heftier Pollux Imperial IPA, tapping in at an ABV of 8 percent.
On January 16th, Ecliptic Brewing will release its Barrel-Aged Oort Imperial Stout, with flavors of bitter chocolate, vanilla, and oak, and boasting an ABV of 12.1 percent. This beer is part of Ecliptic’s reserve series lineup and has been sleeping in bourbon barrels for 15 months. Alongside the debut of this beer, the brewery’s Oort Imperial Stout will be released for a second year, weighing in at an ABV of 8.5 percent, and combining roasted barley and chocolate malts with three types of caramel malts.