Restaurant Review: First National Taphouse

I’ll straight up admit I’m not a huge beer connoisseur, I prefer wines, but enjoy craft cocktails or a fine scotch the most (I know…how bougie). However, I’m always willing to try something new and I am one to enjoy multi-course meals that incorporate a beverage pairing whether it be wine, sake, or yes- beer.

A few weeks back, I returned home from tending to a tire catastrophe to find a gift bag at my front door from Watershed Communications with a Growler and an invitation to dine with a guest at First National Taphouse followed by getting the growler filled with my choice of brew.

One Wednesday night back at the beginning of October, my partner in flossiness Caitlyn and I dressed up and headed down to First National Taphouse growler in hand. The Taphouse is located adjacent to Portland State University, an area with a severe lack of non-college bar or non-fastfood-esque restaurants. The original location is in Eugene and both locations strive to serve locally sourced beers and gourmet pub fare.

Five Course Menu with Beer Pairings
Five Course Menu with Beer Pairings

Upon being seated, Caitlyn and I were handed a five course menu and beer pairing that would be our culinary itinerary for the evening. Mouthwatering, isn’t it?

Course 1: Prawn Boule: Brunoise vegetables, prawns, brandy nosh, potato roll. Paired with First National Taphouse Baker's Blonde in collaboration with Vertigo Brewing
Course 1: Prawn Boule: Brunoise vegetables, prawns, brandy nosh, potato roll. Paired with First National Taphouse Baker’s Blonde in collaboration with Vertigo Brewing

Such a delightful first course, a potato roll stuffed with tender shallot sauteed prawns, veggies and a delectable sauce. Also, quite the generous portion- the beer was light and summery (forgive me I don’t know beer lingo well enough to say something better)

Course 2: Artisan Cheese Terrine (Barbander Goat Gouda, Taphouse Ricotta, Ancient Heritage Hannah, Asian Pear) paired with Duche de Longueville Cidre Antoinette
Course 2: Artisan Cheese Terrine (Barbander Goat Gouda, Taphouse Ricotta, Ancient Heritage Hannah, Asian Pear) paired with Duche de Longueville Cidre Antoinette

This unique rendition of a cheese plate was RIDICULOUS. Caitlyn and I are the ultimate cheese heads so having a mini mason jar full of various delectable fromage to spread on pears and baguette was heaven on a plate. None of the cheeses were too pungent so if you’re on the fence about anything too strong, I’d say this is a perfect “cheese plate” for you. The cider was also a pleasant accompaniment, I’m a fan of ciders (probably because they aren’t too hoppy) so this was a great choice as it wasn’t too sweet.

Course 3: Honey Root Vegetable Boxty (parsnip, carrot, yellow beet, Irish potato pancake, spiced honey). Paired with Elysian the Great Pumpkin Imperial
Course 3: Honey Root Vegetable Boxty (parsnip, carrot, yellow beet, Irish potato pancake, spiced honey). Paired with Elysian the Great Pumpkin Imperial

Another innovative yet delectable small plate. The boxty is a potato pancake and this one was topped with a melange of fall veggies and spiced honey; all the flavours of fall especially when paired with the Pumpkin Imperial.

Course 4: Whiskey Pepper Steak Frite (Pepper Crusted Hanger Steak, Irish Whiskey Demi Glace, Microbrew Fries). Paired with Oscar Blues Deviant Dale's IPA Nitro
Course 4: Whiskey Pepper Steak Frite (Pepper Crusted Hanger Steak, Irish Whiskey Demi Glace, Microbrew Fries). Paired with Oscar Blues Deviant Dale’s IPA Nitro

Well, you all know how much I adore steak so having a steak frites course is obviously always welcome. This was a delicious, lean, medium rare slab charred with a pepper crust and accompanied by the crispiest perhaps double-fried frites. The IPA being as hoppy as it is wasn’t my favourite, but appropriate considering it was being paired with red meat.

Course 5: Chocolate Porter Ice Cream & Young's Double Chocolate Stout Foam with Hazelnut Brittle. Paired with Young's Double Chocolate Stout
Course 5: Chocolate Porter Ice Cream & Young’s Double Chocolate Stout Foam with Hazelnut Brittle. Paired with Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

I apologize for the hidden hazelnut brittle, but man that was the star of the show for this dessert. The mason jar was more whipped cream like in texture than ice cream so this made a light and appropriate dessert that didn’t leave either of us overfull post meal. In fact the heaviest part of this course was certainly the double chocolate stout.

And...our growler
And…our growler

And we left happily with a full growler.

Overall, if you’re looking for somewhere with a casual (but not divey) vibe with splendid food and a generous beer list, then check out First National Taphouse. They’re apparently famous for their fried in duck fat chicken wings (which I am yet to try) and also have an enticing brunch and happy hour menu. I’ll definitely be back soon!

This post was sponsored as the meal for my guest and I was comped. With that said, the review is 100% my opinion and words. 

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