Black-and-white photo of a mixed-use building with a restaurant on the first floor. Text across the image says, "A pint at Mazama Brewing at Orenco Station § Hillsboro, Oregon."
craft beer,  Oregon

A pint at Mazama Brewing at Orenco Station in Hillsboro, Oregon

Mazama Brewing at Orenco Station is a year-old gastropub.  However, there is a lot more to the taproom and New American restaurant.  It is part of Mazama Brewing, a family-owned brewery in Corvallis, Oregon, that opened in 2013.  The current location opened in April 2019 with an emphasis on contemporary food and craft beer.  Despite the name there is no beer brewed at Mazama Brewing at Orenco Station, although it serves an extensive list of Mazama beers.

Brewery’s history

Jeff and Kathy Tobin began homebrewing in the 1980s, but did not initially plan to open a brewery.  After a trip to Belgium in 2011, the couple decided to pursue opening a brewery.  In 2013, the couple opened Mazama Brewing in a Corvallis strip mall, which coincidentally housed 2 Towns Ciderhouse.  Over the past two years, the company expanded into the restaurant industry by opening Mazama Brewing at Orenco Station in April 2019.  In March 2020, they opened Mazama Brewing Craft Beer & Kitchen in downtown Corvallis, which was previously Big River Restaurant.  Both restaurants share a similar menu focusing on upscale pub food that is locally and sustainably sourced.

Story behind the name

Although most people are familiar with Crater Lake in southern Oregon, many people are unfamiliar with Mount Mazama.  However, Crater Lake would not exist without Mount Mazama.  The compound volcano erupted about 7,000 years ago, which resulted in a caldera that filled and became known as Crater Lake.  The indigenous Klamath people tell a story of a battle between the deities of Llao and Skell.  Eventually, Llao lost and collapsed into Mount Mazama, which resulted in Crater Lake and the current landscape.  The Oregon Encyclopedia has several articles about Mount Mazama’s eruption (read more here).

Visiting the restaurant

Mixed-use building with a small patio and signage that says "Mazama Brewing Co." in blue letters.
Brewery entrance.

Mazama Brewing at Orenco Station is a short walk from the MAX Blue Line Orenco Station stop.  The gastropub lacks a private parking lot, but there is plenty of street parking surrounding the building.  Additionally, the restaurant is easy to reach via public transportation, whether traveling from downtown Portland or from elsewhere in Washington County.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The restaurant has ample seating at tables, a high bar facing the windows, or at the bar top.  Customers receive table-side service regardless of their seating choice.  The look is sleek and modern, but rustic with a healthy dose of natural wood to contrast the clean lines of the mixed-use building.

Baseball fans coming to see the Hillsboro Hops can easily stop by Mazama Brewing at Orenco Station, as the team’s free shuttle to the MAX Blue Line Orenco Station stops by the gastropub.

The beer

A arched flight board with six tasting glasses on a bar top with "Mazama Brewing Co." on a brick wall in the background.
A flight of beers.

In 2013 when the Tobins started Mazama Brewing, the company focused on European styles.  The brewery initially brewed a lot of Belgian and German-style beers.  The brewery has expanded its scope to include hop-forward ales that are extremely popular in the Pacific Northwest.  However, the bread and butter of the brewery is European-style beers.

Unlike many breweries, Mazama does not list a set of flagship or core beers.  Instead they divide beers into five styles (read more here).  Flights at Mazama Brewing at Orenco Station are available as a group of four or six beers.  In my flight, I mixed and matched between some of the brewery’s staples and one-off offerings, but focused on the European styles.  The Saison/Saison d’Etre is clean and crisp with a hint of pepper on the finish, as should be expected with a farmhouse ale.  The Abbots Gone Wild, which is a barrel-aged Belgian tripel, is a unique sour ale.  It is malty and smooth, but tart and funky.  It is a truly unique twist on the Belgian tripel.

The food

Located in an upscale area of suburban Portland, Mazama Brewing at Orenco Station emphasizes upscale pub fare that is sustainable and locally sourced.  Appetizers include duck meatloaf and macaroni and cheese with entrees like cauliflower steak and fish and chips.  Bar snacks range from pickled vegetables to blended nuts.  Brunch, which is available on Saturday and Sunday from opening until 3 p.m., has items like stuffed French toast, fried chicken Benedict, and Moroccan baked eggs (see full menu here).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For lunch, I sampled the Mazama mac and cheese with lobster, as suggested by a regular enjoying his lunch at the bar.  Additionally, I tried the duck meatloaf and house pickled veggies.  The food was a unique blend of typical comfort food like mac and cheese or meatloaf, but with an upscale twist.  The Mazama mac and cheese was creamy and cheesy and topped with panko that added a textured crunch to a childhood favorite.  The duck meatloaf has a cherry BBQ sauce that adds a level of tartness to a well-known dish.  The house pickled veggies are an assortment of cucumbers, mushrooms, asparagus, cauliflower, and more pickled in different spices that add complexity to the typical bar item.

Touring the brewery

Mazama Brewing at Orenco Station does not brew beer on site.  All beers served at the restaurant are brewed at Mazama’s production facility in Corvallis, Oregon.  Tours of the production facility are available by appointment, but there is no taproom at the brewery.

Getting to the restaurant

Mazama Brewing at Orenco Station is located on the TriMet MAX Blue Line at Orenco Station in Hillsboro.  It is a 45-minute commute on the Blue Line from downtown Portland, and a 12-minute ride from the Hillsboro Transit Center.  The gastropub is also accessible via TriMet #47 bus, which stops at Orenco Station.  The restaurant is less than two minutes from the MAX stop. It is about a 30-minute drive from downtown Portland via U.S. 26 and a 10-minute drive from downtown Hillsboro.

The essentials

Address: 955 NE Orenco Station Loop, Hillsboro, OR 97124
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (brunch served until 3 p.m.); Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (brunch served until 3 p.m.).
Note: The global pandemic may affect hours and services.  Check the brewery’s social media accounts for the most up-to-date information.
Accessibility: There are no steps in the publicly accessible area of the restaurant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *