Gigantic Opens Pub and Taproom on Hawthorne

By Jack Rubinger

Gigantic has expanded its brewery empire with a new location on Hawthorne Blvd. which opened in November. The neighborhood is excited about the opening in the space, formerly a fish and chips joint that closed during the pandemic. 

On a recent Wednesday evening, all the booths were filled with families with young children or couples, with a smattering of folks hanging out by the bar. There was music in the background and the vibe was friendly and fun.

Draft beers available included Gigantic IPA, Sassy Pony, Project Pilsner, Mecha Red, LP Stout, The Time Warp, Darcelle Blonde IPA, Ginormous MK11, Space Brontosaurus and Gigantress Citrus Sour.

The taproom has 16 beers on tap and two kinds of cider, plus several wines. There is also cask engineered beer in the British fashion, with beer drawn from kegs or Firkins. “There’s no pressure on the keg,” said Brewmaster Ben Love. “The beer is taken from the tank before packaging.” The result is a nuanced malt with great flavor and aroma. “It’s a different take on draft that looks like a Guinness with a great head,” said Love.

While there’s no brewing at the new taproom, the food offerings go way beyond the usual pub fare, with inspiration from overseas. The Danish Pork Sandwich, a traditional dish served around the holidays, also known as “Flaeskasteg,” is a big hit. The pork is roasted till there’s a crispy skin. The meat is sliced and served on a bun with braised red cabbage, dill pickles and remoulade. This recipe was developed by Love and his friend Justin prior to the opening of the taproom’s restaurant.

The Japanese Fried Chicken, or “Karaage,” is available as an appetizer or sandwich. The chicken is marinated in tamari, ginger and garlic and breaded with rice flour. The appetizer is served up in a nice chunk with rice wine and pickles. The sandwich is served on a bun and you can get it regular or spicy with Ramen spices.

The Japanese Fried Tofu Sandwich features tofu from Ota, a local tofu company. The sandwich is perfectly proportioned and comes with a delightful sauce that’s on the spicy side. Accompanied by Kolschtastic on draft, the sandwich beer combo was a perfect pick me up. 

Naturally, burgers are popular, and the Smash Burger is the taproom’s most popular dish, also available for vegans. They have a house salad, a Caesar salad, grain bowls, too. 

One thing that’s always been fascinating about Gigantic is the beer labels. It turns out that there are a number of artists who’ve contributed to the look and feel of Gigantic, led by art director Rob Reger. One artist, from the Bay Area, created the Emily the Strange Character, which is also a Dark Horse comic book series. There are several different artists, some local, some from across the US as well as Japan, where they also sell beer. “We’re also looking for artists,” said Love. “For some artists, it’s a fun break. We don’t give them direction. We stay out of their way and let them be creative. We just give them the name of the beer and let the name inspire them.”

The taproom seats about 70 in the main area and 90 people outside. “We took out the tile floor and rebuilt the bar, then we put in windows to the alleyway, so the windows open,” said Love. Love and crew show Timbers and Thorns matches on the TV, but he said people are really there to have good conversations with friends. “We’re offering food and bar snacks to keep your beer company. All ages are welcome and there is a really sweet courtyard patio for when the good weather returns (or for the warm at heart),” said Love.

Gigantic is also currently offering home delivery through Road Beers PDX. Just place an order through the Gigantic website and the fine folks at Road Beers will do the delivery. Road Beers delivers within a 15-mile radius of the brewery. Near or far, Road Beers operates off a $20 minimum order with a $5 delivery fee. Delivery for Gigantic will be Wednesday-Sunday, with a midnight order cutoff for next day delivery. For example, if you order Sunday-Tuesday, you will get your order on Wednesday. If you order Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday, you will get it the next day.  

A native Oregonian, Love’s passion for beer began with a pint at the Horse Brass and a stint at Belmont Station in 1999. His brewing career began in 2003 in Appleton, WI at the Adler Brau Brewpub. He returned to Oregon in 2004 to brew at Pelican in Pacific City. In 2007, Love became the first employee and Head brewer at Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) in Portland. Love always wanted to own his own business and put years of dreaming and scheming into action to start Gigantic, which he launched in 2012 with partner Van Havig. 

With a well-rounded beer collection and the right kind of food for friends and families, Gigantic has the recipe for success on Hawthorne.

Photo by Jack Rubinger.

Gigantic Opens Pub and Taproom on Hawthorne

2 thoughts on “<strong>Gigantic Opens Pub and Taproom on Hawthorne</strong>”

  1. Hi, Matt.

    There was no intent to “make readers do some work” but rather the feeling that our readers were capable of using a search engine to look up Gigantic Brewing or to using a map function to do the same. Or perhaps take a stroll down Hawthorne to take in more of what the Boulevard has to offer. If you make it over to Gigantic’s new space you might notice that there is a new tenant going in across the street, a space that has been vacant for some time.

    Cheers and thanks for reading!

  2. I am one of your readers and a community member living in Buckan.

    I just read the print version of this article, and now seeing it here to comment on the print edition. And now also comment on this online edition.

    Is there a reason you don’t cite the location of Gigantic on Hawthorne? I’m used to other publications noting it either at the end of the article in italics or in the first paragraph.

    Or do you just want to make your readers do some work to get full information?

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