On the previous post about the new taps at the Green Dragon, someone commented that their 50 taps must be one of the largest collections in the city. The Horse Brass just barely squeaks past them because of their 3 cask engines, and Patrick pointed out that the Dublin Pub in Hillsdale has over 50 taps (59 according to their website).
But the reigning champion in Portland is clearly Henry's Tavern, with about 100 taps. Let me pull out some cliches to describe Henry's Tavern. The large, well-chosen tap-list is like casting pearls before swine (most patrons order macro lagers or cocktails). A beer there will cost you an arm and a leg. Henry Weinhard must be rolling over in his grave to have Henry's Tavern using his name and his building.
Enough cliches. I would love to love Henry's, with its massive beer list and great historic location. The first bar I ever went into -- as you can see by my identification card -- was a tavern owned by my Uncle Henry. The finest honky-tonk in Austin used to be Henry's Bar and Grill on Burnet Road (now an AutoZone parking lot, grrrr...). But Portland's Henry's Tavern always manages to annoy me in one of the following ways:
- The servers know nothing about the beers.
- The beer list doesn't list prices or serving quantities.
- The servers don't know the quantities.
- The beer list is often out of date.
- The servers can't tell you any additions/subtractions to the list.
- The beer is expensive.
Henry's probably has the most expensive pints in town -- well, maybe Higgins or Rogue can beat them, but those places at least give a damn about the beer they're serving. And since the prices aren't posted anywhere, you just take your chances until the check arrives.
That's one thing, and I'll admit to being kind of a tightwad. Nevertheless, I would patronize the place more if not for the total lack of respect for beer there. It could be a kind of beer-geek heaven with just a little bit of creative management. For example, the Tap House Grill in Seattle is a similar establishment, but a nod is given to beer fans, and the servers know their stuff.
Don't hold your breath: I think Henry's has done the calculation on what kind of customer they are angling for, and it's corporate restaurant diners, not beer geeks. The giant beer list attracts a certain chest-thumping contingent, but they are mostly oblivious to the genuinely interesting variety on the list.