Team: Portland Pickles
Affiliate: N/A (West Coast League)
Ballpark Basics: It’s a pickle party!
Walker Stadium is located within Lents Park, a multi-purpose park with playgrounds, soccer fields, basketball courts, walking trails and fields in the Lents neighborhood of Portland. Baseball has been played on this field since 1956. However, it received an upgrade when the Pickles began play in 2016.
A small grandstand sits behind home plate with a set of bleachers down each baseline. Walker Stadium has a party atmosphere and this is partially due to the number of group seating options at the park. There is a party deck that sits above the grandstand behind home plate. They have dugout suites on either side of the field that can be rented out by groups of up to 25 people along with the Hot Corner Suite that sits just behind third base that can fit up to 40 people. Then there is the Deschutes Party Plaza along the first base side that can be rented out to groups as large as 150 people. There is berm seating in both the left and right field corners and then picnic tables sit behind the left and right field walls (that actually sit in front of the bullpens) and can accommodate groups of up to 6 people.
There is a concession stand on the party deck behind home plate. The rest of the concessions sit behind the bleachers with options on either side. They offer the typical ballpark fare: burgers, dogs and pizza but the real treat is the pickles, both fried pickles and the ginormous Dillon’s Pickle on a Stick.
Best Spot for Beer: There are multiple beer tents around the park with different options at each. The Deschutes Party Plaza has a beer tent with a focus on brews from Deschutes (obviously) but the best variety can be found at Dillon’s Draft House. Located along the third base concourse you will find multiple local draft and canned options. Also, be sure to check out Dillon’s Hideaway Bar in the right field corner. The bar is built surrounded by trees and offers beer as well as cocktails.
The party atmosphere continues with the announcers. Any time the Pickles score the announcers tell everybody to “Raise the chairs!”. Dillon the Pickle can be found roaming the stands getting the crowd riled up throughout the game. Portland has a long and storied history with baseball and the Pickles do a great job of continuing the tradition.
Brew Basic: A brewery that’s so out of this world, it was able to survive the pandemic.
Like many cities, the pandemic hit Portland hard. On our trip just before Covid, we visited Hair of the Dog, a brewery known for boozy high-gravity beers and creative bulldog inspired designs. Announced their closing, summer 2022. Similarly, we loved Based Camp Brewing Company, a place with solid beer and a whole mood that was just “camping”. Closed February, 2021.
But fear not intrepid readers! We did our due diligence and squeezed in a third Portland brewing staple in our brief visit. Enter Ecliptic Brewing to save the day (and this post). Not only are they still going strong, their new Moon Room expansion has taken over the space that once was Base Camp.
The original Ecliptic, aka the Mothership Brewery, has been around since the early 2010s and remains their main production facility. It is housed in a dark gray boxy industrial building with large outdoor space that includes tables – mostly of the picnic variety – with umbrellas, a stage for bands (and also additional seating when not hosting a performance, and of course bike parking. This is Portland.
Inside the concrete and gray wall theme continues, but with some large spacey murals. Ivory globe lights hang from the ceiling in clusters, along with additional appropriately spaced (to our eye at least) glass balls for each planet in the solar system, which were of course scaled to size and accurately colored as well. A long bar faces a half wall that encloses the kitchen, which puts out pub food with a menu that changes every other month or so. Dark chair and table sets, along with similarly colored booths complete the dining area.
Even before opening the second location, they still had a good dozen beers on tap at any given time, running the gamut of styles. They also have hard cider and kombucha cans if that’s more your thing. True to theme, Ecliptic’s flights are six beers served in a carved wooden celestial sphere, and are a popular choice amongst the patrons. Seeing as it basically let us try half of what was available that night, we of course took that route as well.
Starburst IPA (7.8% ABV / 75 IBU) Brewed with at least 5 different hop strains, this dry hopped IPA was citrusy and hoppy in both palate and smell. One of two more traditional IPAs we had on our flight (see Orbiter below) this one was slightly floral and fruity at first but in true dry hopped form a bit chewy and brusque in the end. A flagship staple on Ecliptic’s menu, be on the lookout for their hop trials, where they brew Starburst entirely with one kind of hops.
Carina Peach Sour ( 5% ABV / 10 IBU) We’ve found sours run all over the tart scale and this one was no different. Though tangy, overall the peach really helped tame the tartness and made this pale gold beer more fruity than sour. Overall light and refreshing, we thought the Carina Peach was on the right track but needed a bit more to it.
Capella Porter (5.2% ABV / 39 IBU) Ecliptic’s Capella pours a solid brown and has a dark, malted smell that was heavier than the beer itself. Which isn’t to say this beer is light, it’s still got a solid palate that’s slightly nutty but made up mostly of chocolate malts and a touch of sweet caramel.
Phaser Hazy (6.5% ABV / 45 IBU) Like most of their other IPA offerings, Phaser is again a blend of 4+ hop varietals that blend to make this cloudy but bright yellow hazy IPA bright and tropical. Like most west coast takes on hazy or juicy IPAs, this one still had a strong hop backbone, and even a slight bite at the end.
Jovian’s Delight Black Saison (6.3 ABV / 26 IBU) Not one of their standards, we were intrigued by this farmhouse style with cold brew and plums. Pouring as dark, if not darker than the porter. Aside from a bit of tang in the nose, the coffee was strong enough in smell and taste to mute the typical spice and funk of a saison or farmhouse. Similarly, the customary plushness of dark fruits (in this case the plum) was similarly less pronounced, despite this, Jovian’s Delight remained a smooth, rich and thoroughly coffee’d, beer.
Orbiter IPA (7.4 ABV/75 IBU) – One of their more popular beers. This “American” IPA is again a blend of many of the traditional IPA hop strains, so Chinook, Cascade, Centennial etc. A deep golden, almost amber color, Orbiter smells hoppy and maybe a little citrusy, but the taste is actually mostly caramel and resin. It feels medium-bodied, and despite coming in at a 75 on the IBU scale the hop bite at the end isn’t overly bitter or chewy.
825 N Cook Street
Portland, OR 97227