Deschutes Brew Pub is -- with all respect to Stone -- what a brew pub should be. With an array of exclusive taps and a menu that's quite good, Deschutes treats you right.
But! How well do the dishes stack up when compared to their Spokane equivalents? That has been a topic of discussion here at the SpoCOOL offices, which lead us to do what we do: We started comparing.
Round one: Mac & cheese
Here we put Deschutes up against Manito, because... Well... It seemed appropriate.
Deschutes mac and cheese is not downright bad, and you really can taste the Obsidian stout used in the sauce. Compare the dish to either of Manito's offerings though? It definitely falls short.
The sauce, while tasty, is too watery, and by the end of the meal you end up with a bowl full of cheese-water. Kind of a waste. The cavatappi is on the softer side of al dente, which doesn't exactly go well with a watery sauce. It's all just a little soggy, and the addition of chicken doesn't contribute much to the palette.
Round two: Pretzels
Saranac has one of Spokane's better pretzels, so, hey, why not?
And as far as the actual pretzel goes, it's hard to beat what Deschutes serves up. It's thick, with a crispy outside and a soft, fluffy inside. The bite is just what it should be, reminding us of what we've tried in Geneva, Switzerland.
Not that Saranac is too far behind, but their pretzel is a bit more... ordinary? It has a nice bite to it, but the pretzel is far from being as thick and fluffy as Deschutes's.
Where Saranac does excel, however, is with the sauce. Deschutes yet again errors on the side of soupiness, and dipping the pretzel into the sauce doesn't quite give you the desired stickiness. Saranac has gone the other direction, with a thicker option.
It's kind of up to the individual to decide if Deschutes's spicier mustard is a good thing or not, but for me, personally, they have the upper hand with it.
Both spots have their advantages and disadvantages, but Deschutes takes this one home thanks to an excellent pretzel. Still, Saranac isn't far behind.
Round three: Beer nuts
There is no contest. Nothing beats Dechutes's beer nuts. Just try them. They're stellar.
Well, I suppose Deschutes takes it home, as they have everything under one roof. In addition you get the adventure of going through all their special beers.
But all in all, good of a reputation as Deschutes's food deservedly has, you can easily find local substitutes, sometimes better, other times close to the league Deschutes plays in.
Do check out Deschutes Brew Pub, though. We make it a destination anytime we visit Portland. It's an excellent spot.