There are few things more heralded in the Pacific Northwest than bicycles and microbreweries.
Perhaps it’s no wonder then that Hopworks Urban Brewery — known as HUB — already seems to be gaining traction at its newest brewpub at 17707 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd. in Vancouver. Co-founder Christian Ettinger said Tuesday that business has been almost nonstop since its Dec. 30 opening.
“I’ve been here open to close,” Ettinger said. “We’ve been so flattered with the response.”
The brewpub is the brewery’s first outside of Portland and third overall. Ettinger said they picked east Vancouver for its mix of up-and-coming neighborhoods with relatively slim competition from other gastropubs.
“Vancouver and Washington represents a wonderful community, and when we look at new opportunities, we look to strong neighborhoods that don’t have an overabundance of beer,” he said.
But its success obviously hinges on people who, as Ettinger puts it, “vote with their dollar.” Customers who were there Tuesday said they’d anticipated HUB’s opening since its announcement in July. Some had enjoyed the beer but never wanted to journey to Portland.
Hopworks Urban Brewery: hopworksbeer.com
“I’ve been here twice since it opened,” said Adam Luedy, a 31-year-old Vancouver resident. “I’d never been to one, but I liked their beers. I always wanted to go, but I just never got over to Portland.”
For others, it’s yet another brewpub to try. Mike and Terri Cochran of Vancouver said they try all of the breweries and had to come “initiate” HUB.
“We’re happy to see more and more of these, and they’re all good,” Mike Cochran said.
The brewery’s gears-and-beers style is as prominent as ever at the Bennington neighborhood location. The 6,000-square-foot space features a row of bike frames over the bar, near tall, stainless steel brew tanks. “BEER” is spelled out in large, yellow letters on the east wall. On a clear day, panoramic windows at the brewpub’s mezzanine level give views of Mount Hood.
Ettinger describes the building, with its wood, concrete and exposed metal beams, as an “industrial ski lodge.”
“It’s a warm respite from the elements and a place to come relax with friends and family after you’ve had a great day,” he said.
From groundbreaking to grand opening, construction took about eight months. The place seats 225 people indoors with a possibility of another 100 seated outside, weather permitting.
Beer served there will be almost exclusively HUB’s own batches, except for a rotating guest tap for local breweries. Ettinger said he hoped to get brews from Loowit, Trap Door and other Vancouver beermakers.
The brewery was founded by Ettinger and his wife, Brandie Ettinger. The first brewpub debuted on Southeast Powell Boulevard in Portland in 2007, near Cleveland High School. The brewery opened a second brewpub on Northeast Williams Street in Portland in 2011. With minimal advertising, Ettinger said they have succeeded by distilling a culture that appreciates beer and sustainability.
“For the right people, that really resonates. I feel like our pubs are an extension of that,” Christian Ettinger said.
Sustainability is prevalent at this new brewpub. The ingredients are locally sourced. The building is fitted with 10-kilowatt solar panels and has been designed to be energy and water efficient.
The name HUB, he said, has many meanings, including that of a wheel and being the center of revolving activity.
“The things we like are these cycles of life: bicycles, beer, bands and music,” he said. “I think it’s important to know that when everything comes full circle then it’s up to you to leave the world a better place.”
The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.