If You Go
• What: Trap Door Brewing Company.
• Where: 2315 Main St., Vancouver.
• Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Children allowed until 8 p.m. every day.
• Contact: 360-314-6966 or www.trapdoorbrewing.com
That magic summer hour before the bright blue sky is flush with the pink shades of sunset is the perfect time to round up the family and/or friends and find an outdoor space to sip some Vancouver craft beer.
My favorite spot to wile away this pre-sunset beatitude is Trap Door Brewing. I love Trap Door’s evolving beer menu (all brewed on-site) along with food from the food carts that surround it. Things started out slow in the outside area. Earlier this summer, the scene was sedate and a bit quiet for a bar. But, on a recent visit, the atmosphere was more like a raucous backyard party — babies in strollers, dudes discussing Match.com fails, dogs, millennials in high-waisted jeans and top-knotted hair, and a dog named Angel that barked at me like I was the devil.
Owner Bryan Shull has a knack for bringing people together. He stepped in and orchestrated Cruise the Couve when it appeared that Cruisin’ the Gut wasn’t happening and 20,000 people were going to descend on downtown Vancouver in the absence of an organized event. This ability to bring people together to celebrate summer extends to his brewery and taproom.
Trap Door has an indoor bar, a partially shaded outdoor area, and a stationary food cart pod. Taco City, with its bright mural and mariachi music, is easy to spot. The Al Pastor Taco is a marvel of grilled pork, spices, and citrus swaddled in corn tortillas. E-San Thai (affiliated with the restaurant in Portland) serves a varied menu of stir fry, curries, noodles, and appetizers. I like the Drunken Noodles — thick rice noodles smothered in a thin sauce of tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic and chiles. 2 Doors Down (a collaboration between Trap Door and Bleu Door Bakery) offers a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches. I can’t help but order the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup combo. Vancouver Pizza Company delivers pizza to your table (no delivery charge).
Trap Door’s award-winning beer (Uptown Brown won a silver medal at the Washington Beer Awards) goes well with the food. You can tip the bartender in the Inigo-Montoya-prepare-to-tip tip jar. On a recent visit, I had fresh salad rolls from E-San Thai paired with a Tang New England Double IPA. If astronauts drank this Tang on a space voyage, they may have abandoned their mission in favor of giggling about their own weightlessness. This is one those fruity, citrusy New England Double IPAs with a high APV (8 percent) that sneaks up on you like booze-spiked punch at a prom. Another night, I enjoyed the Dry Hop Pilsner with a grilled cheese and tomato soup. The pilsner added a lightness to the creaminess of the sandwich and soup. There are endless combinations of food and beer to explore (along with a stack of board games and cornhole). My plan is to spend the rest of the summer in search of the perfect combination of food, beer, and games.
Rachel Pinsky can be emailed at email@example.com. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @couveeats.