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Kells Brewpub 2nd Anniversary

Kells Brewpub 2nd Anniversary



It's already been Two Years for Kells Irish Pub's brewpub off-shoot on Northwest 21st in Portland and they are celebrating this Friday with live music and two special beer tappings.
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Kells, once just a famous Irish pub, now a flourishing beer maker: Portland Breweries Series

Garrett McAleese tried to do something else. He went the college route, earning an international business degree and landing a job overseas.

But when you’ve grown up in one of America’s great Irish bars, learning the business surrounded by family and friends, it’s tough to let go.

So, the son of Kells Irish Pub founders Lucille and Gerard McAleese came home to Portland. Then in 2012 he founded Kells Brew Pub, now Kells Brewery, in Northwest Portland, launching a new venture for the longtime Portland and Seattle sister Irish pubs.

“I grew up always doing something in the bar, whether it was cooking or busing tables, so you learn a little bit of everything, then have a love and a passion for everything,” McAleese says during a recent interview. “You get to develop your palate from a very young age. … It was fun, and it led to this deep passion for making beer and creating a menu for the restaurant.”

Kells Brewery now makes all the beer for the McAleese clan’s restaurants. That includes Southwest Portland’s renowned Kells Irish Pub, which opened in 1990, and the original Kells, which opened in 1983 near Pike Place in Seattle. McAleese also brews for his pizzeria, Coltiva, near Seattle’s Key Arena.

McAleese says he had no inkling he’d go into the family business, but a taste of office life changed that. The University of Oregon grad was living in Argentina, working for an American logistics company, sitting all day at a desk on the phone.

“I was miserable,” says the 31-year-old McAleese. “After working in the restaurant industry for almost a decade, I missed that personal interaction. So I quit and went and started working at the bar underneath the room I was renting and kind of never looked back.”

As luck would have it, he met some Americans who were opening a brewery in Rosario, Argentina, so he told them he’d work for free if they taught him how to brew. He learned the business, developed recipes, then found himself back in the states sharing his vision with his dad.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I got this idea, I’ve been doing these recipes,’ ” he recalls telling his dad. “My vision was much smaller, but my father, he’s been doing this so long. He’s like, ‘If you want to do this, do it all the best -- and also it’s got to be a Kells.’”

McAleese the younger got busy converting a former tile retailer at Northwest 21st Avenue at Davis Street into the newest Kells. The building, also a parking garage decades earlier, came with large, old-growth beams and high ceilings. Today, dark wood throughout – from the tables to the big, elegant full bar – lends authenticity and comfort.

McAleese is a hands-on guy, helping install the brewing line and building the “snugs” – Victorian-era private, wooden booths – that mirror ones in his favorite pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland. McAleese has made the Northwest location a slightly smaller version of the big Kells across town – even down to clearing out the tables on weekend nights for music and dancing.

Kells Brewery has two beer approaches: One is a line of “old world” beers, including an Irish stout, Irish red and Irish lager. The other is a series of modern styles that includes a Northwest IPA, a double IPA and a Tropical Hazy IPA, which are canned and distributed in area stores.

The food menu similarly is a graceful blend of old and new world. It doesn’t skimp on Irish classics like shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips, but it also offers sandwiches, burgers, salads and fish. Much of the produce comes straight from the family’s Wilsonville farm, and Kells is committed to environmentally friendly products, including sustainable fish and locally raised meats.


Kells, once just a famous Irish pub, now a flourishing beer maker: Portland Breweries Series

Garrett McAleese tried to do something else. He went the college route, earning an international business degree and landing a job overseas.

But when you’ve grown up in one of America’s great Irish bars, learning the business surrounded by family and friends, it’s tough to let go.

So, the son of Kells Irish Pub founders Lucille and Gerard McAleese came home to Portland. Then in 2012 he founded Kells Brew Pub, now Kells Brewery, in Northwest Portland, launching a new venture for the longtime Portland and Seattle sister Irish pubs.

“I grew up always doing something in the bar, whether it was cooking or busing tables, so you learn a little bit of everything, then have a love and a passion for everything,” McAleese says during a recent interview. “You get to develop your palate from a very young age. … It was fun, and it led to this deep passion for making beer and creating a menu for the restaurant.”

Kells Brewery now makes all the beer for the McAleese clan’s restaurants. That includes Southwest Portland’s renowned Kells Irish Pub, which opened in 1990, and the original Kells, which opened in 1983 near Pike Place in Seattle. McAleese also brews for his pizzeria, Coltiva, near Seattle’s Key Arena.

McAleese says he had no inkling he’d go into the family business, but a taste of office life changed that. The University of Oregon grad was living in Argentina, working for an American logistics company, sitting all day at a desk on the phone.

“I was miserable,” says the 31-year-old McAleese. “After working in the restaurant industry for almost a decade, I missed that personal interaction. So I quit and went and started working at the bar underneath the room I was renting and kind of never looked back.”

As luck would have it, he met some Americans who were opening a brewery in Rosario, Argentina, so he told them he’d work for free if they taught him how to brew. He learned the business, developed recipes, then found himself back in the states sharing his vision with his dad.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I got this idea, I’ve been doing these recipes,’ ” he recalls telling his dad. “My vision was much smaller, but my father, he’s been doing this so long. He’s like, ‘If you want to do this, do it all the best -- and also it’s got to be a Kells.’”

McAleese the younger got busy converting a former tile retailer at Northwest 21st Avenue at Davis Street into the newest Kells. The building, also a parking garage decades earlier, came with large, old-growth beams and high ceilings. Today, dark wood throughout – from the tables to the big, elegant full bar – lends authenticity and comfort.

McAleese is a hands-on guy, helping install the brewing line and building the “snugs” – Victorian-era private, wooden booths – that mirror ones in his favorite pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland. McAleese has made the Northwest location a slightly smaller version of the big Kells across town – even down to clearing out the tables on weekend nights for music and dancing.

Kells Brewery has two beer approaches: One is a line of “old world” beers, including an Irish stout, Irish red and Irish lager. The other is a series of modern styles that includes a Northwest IPA, a double IPA and a Tropical Hazy IPA, which are canned and distributed in area stores.

The food menu similarly is a graceful blend of old and new world. It doesn’t skimp on Irish classics like shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips, but it also offers sandwiches, burgers, salads and fish. Much of the produce comes straight from the family’s Wilsonville farm, and Kells is committed to environmentally friendly products, including sustainable fish and locally raised meats.


Kells, once just a famous Irish pub, now a flourishing beer maker: Portland Breweries Series

Garrett McAleese tried to do something else. He went the college route, earning an international business degree and landing a job overseas.

But when you’ve grown up in one of America’s great Irish bars, learning the business surrounded by family and friends, it’s tough to let go.

So, the son of Kells Irish Pub founders Lucille and Gerard McAleese came home to Portland. Then in 2012 he founded Kells Brew Pub, now Kells Brewery, in Northwest Portland, launching a new venture for the longtime Portland and Seattle sister Irish pubs.

“I grew up always doing something in the bar, whether it was cooking or busing tables, so you learn a little bit of everything, then have a love and a passion for everything,” McAleese says during a recent interview. “You get to develop your palate from a very young age. … It was fun, and it led to this deep passion for making beer and creating a menu for the restaurant.”

Kells Brewery now makes all the beer for the McAleese clan’s restaurants. That includes Southwest Portland’s renowned Kells Irish Pub, which opened in 1990, and the original Kells, which opened in 1983 near Pike Place in Seattle. McAleese also brews for his pizzeria, Coltiva, near Seattle’s Key Arena.

McAleese says he had no inkling he’d go into the family business, but a taste of office life changed that. The University of Oregon grad was living in Argentina, working for an American logistics company, sitting all day at a desk on the phone.

“I was miserable,” says the 31-year-old McAleese. “After working in the restaurant industry for almost a decade, I missed that personal interaction. So I quit and went and started working at the bar underneath the room I was renting and kind of never looked back.”

As luck would have it, he met some Americans who were opening a brewery in Rosario, Argentina, so he told them he’d work for free if they taught him how to brew. He learned the business, developed recipes, then found himself back in the states sharing his vision with his dad.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I got this idea, I’ve been doing these recipes,’ ” he recalls telling his dad. “My vision was much smaller, but my father, he’s been doing this so long. He’s like, ‘If you want to do this, do it all the best -- and also it’s got to be a Kells.’”

McAleese the younger got busy converting a former tile retailer at Northwest 21st Avenue at Davis Street into the newest Kells. The building, also a parking garage decades earlier, came with large, old-growth beams and high ceilings. Today, dark wood throughout – from the tables to the big, elegant full bar – lends authenticity and comfort.

McAleese is a hands-on guy, helping install the brewing line and building the “snugs” – Victorian-era private, wooden booths – that mirror ones in his favorite pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland. McAleese has made the Northwest location a slightly smaller version of the big Kells across town – even down to clearing out the tables on weekend nights for music and dancing.

Kells Brewery has two beer approaches: One is a line of “old world” beers, including an Irish stout, Irish red and Irish lager. The other is a series of modern styles that includes a Northwest IPA, a double IPA and a Tropical Hazy IPA, which are canned and distributed in area stores.

The food menu similarly is a graceful blend of old and new world. It doesn’t skimp on Irish classics like shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips, but it also offers sandwiches, burgers, salads and fish. Much of the produce comes straight from the family’s Wilsonville farm, and Kells is committed to environmentally friendly products, including sustainable fish and locally raised meats.


Kells, once just a famous Irish pub, now a flourishing beer maker: Portland Breweries Series

Garrett McAleese tried to do something else. He went the college route, earning an international business degree and landing a job overseas.

But when you’ve grown up in one of America’s great Irish bars, learning the business surrounded by family and friends, it’s tough to let go.

So, the son of Kells Irish Pub founders Lucille and Gerard McAleese came home to Portland. Then in 2012 he founded Kells Brew Pub, now Kells Brewery, in Northwest Portland, launching a new venture for the longtime Portland and Seattle sister Irish pubs.

“I grew up always doing something in the bar, whether it was cooking or busing tables, so you learn a little bit of everything, then have a love and a passion for everything,” McAleese says during a recent interview. “You get to develop your palate from a very young age. … It was fun, and it led to this deep passion for making beer and creating a menu for the restaurant.”

Kells Brewery now makes all the beer for the McAleese clan’s restaurants. That includes Southwest Portland’s renowned Kells Irish Pub, which opened in 1990, and the original Kells, which opened in 1983 near Pike Place in Seattle. McAleese also brews for his pizzeria, Coltiva, near Seattle’s Key Arena.

McAleese says he had no inkling he’d go into the family business, but a taste of office life changed that. The University of Oregon grad was living in Argentina, working for an American logistics company, sitting all day at a desk on the phone.

“I was miserable,” says the 31-year-old McAleese. “After working in the restaurant industry for almost a decade, I missed that personal interaction. So I quit and went and started working at the bar underneath the room I was renting and kind of never looked back.”

As luck would have it, he met some Americans who were opening a brewery in Rosario, Argentina, so he told them he’d work for free if they taught him how to brew. He learned the business, developed recipes, then found himself back in the states sharing his vision with his dad.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I got this idea, I’ve been doing these recipes,’ ” he recalls telling his dad. “My vision was much smaller, but my father, he’s been doing this so long. He’s like, ‘If you want to do this, do it all the best -- and also it’s got to be a Kells.’”

McAleese the younger got busy converting a former tile retailer at Northwest 21st Avenue at Davis Street into the newest Kells. The building, also a parking garage decades earlier, came with large, old-growth beams and high ceilings. Today, dark wood throughout – from the tables to the big, elegant full bar – lends authenticity and comfort.

McAleese is a hands-on guy, helping install the brewing line and building the “snugs” – Victorian-era private, wooden booths – that mirror ones in his favorite pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland. McAleese has made the Northwest location a slightly smaller version of the big Kells across town – even down to clearing out the tables on weekend nights for music and dancing.

Kells Brewery has two beer approaches: One is a line of “old world” beers, including an Irish stout, Irish red and Irish lager. The other is a series of modern styles that includes a Northwest IPA, a double IPA and a Tropical Hazy IPA, which are canned and distributed in area stores.

The food menu similarly is a graceful blend of old and new world. It doesn’t skimp on Irish classics like shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips, but it also offers sandwiches, burgers, salads and fish. Much of the produce comes straight from the family’s Wilsonville farm, and Kells is committed to environmentally friendly products, including sustainable fish and locally raised meats.


Kells, once just a famous Irish pub, now a flourishing beer maker: Portland Breweries Series

Garrett McAleese tried to do something else. He went the college route, earning an international business degree and landing a job overseas.

But when you’ve grown up in one of America’s great Irish bars, learning the business surrounded by family and friends, it’s tough to let go.

So, the son of Kells Irish Pub founders Lucille and Gerard McAleese came home to Portland. Then in 2012 he founded Kells Brew Pub, now Kells Brewery, in Northwest Portland, launching a new venture for the longtime Portland and Seattle sister Irish pubs.

“I grew up always doing something in the bar, whether it was cooking or busing tables, so you learn a little bit of everything, then have a love and a passion for everything,” McAleese says during a recent interview. “You get to develop your palate from a very young age. … It was fun, and it led to this deep passion for making beer and creating a menu for the restaurant.”

Kells Brewery now makes all the beer for the McAleese clan’s restaurants. That includes Southwest Portland’s renowned Kells Irish Pub, which opened in 1990, and the original Kells, which opened in 1983 near Pike Place in Seattle. McAleese also brews for his pizzeria, Coltiva, near Seattle’s Key Arena.

McAleese says he had no inkling he’d go into the family business, but a taste of office life changed that. The University of Oregon grad was living in Argentina, working for an American logistics company, sitting all day at a desk on the phone.

“I was miserable,” says the 31-year-old McAleese. “After working in the restaurant industry for almost a decade, I missed that personal interaction. So I quit and went and started working at the bar underneath the room I was renting and kind of never looked back.”

As luck would have it, he met some Americans who were opening a brewery in Rosario, Argentina, so he told them he’d work for free if they taught him how to brew. He learned the business, developed recipes, then found himself back in the states sharing his vision with his dad.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I got this idea, I’ve been doing these recipes,’ ” he recalls telling his dad. “My vision was much smaller, but my father, he’s been doing this so long. He’s like, ‘If you want to do this, do it all the best -- and also it’s got to be a Kells.’”

McAleese the younger got busy converting a former tile retailer at Northwest 21st Avenue at Davis Street into the newest Kells. The building, also a parking garage decades earlier, came with large, old-growth beams and high ceilings. Today, dark wood throughout – from the tables to the big, elegant full bar – lends authenticity and comfort.

McAleese is a hands-on guy, helping install the brewing line and building the “snugs” – Victorian-era private, wooden booths – that mirror ones in his favorite pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland. McAleese has made the Northwest location a slightly smaller version of the big Kells across town – even down to clearing out the tables on weekend nights for music and dancing.

Kells Brewery has two beer approaches: One is a line of “old world” beers, including an Irish stout, Irish red and Irish lager. The other is a series of modern styles that includes a Northwest IPA, a double IPA and a Tropical Hazy IPA, which are canned and distributed in area stores.

The food menu similarly is a graceful blend of old and new world. It doesn’t skimp on Irish classics like shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips, but it also offers sandwiches, burgers, salads and fish. Much of the produce comes straight from the family’s Wilsonville farm, and Kells is committed to environmentally friendly products, including sustainable fish and locally raised meats.


Kells, once just a famous Irish pub, now a flourishing beer maker: Portland Breweries Series

Garrett McAleese tried to do something else. He went the college route, earning an international business degree and landing a job overseas.

But when you’ve grown up in one of America’s great Irish bars, learning the business surrounded by family and friends, it’s tough to let go.

So, the son of Kells Irish Pub founders Lucille and Gerard McAleese came home to Portland. Then in 2012 he founded Kells Brew Pub, now Kells Brewery, in Northwest Portland, launching a new venture for the longtime Portland and Seattle sister Irish pubs.

“I grew up always doing something in the bar, whether it was cooking or busing tables, so you learn a little bit of everything, then have a love and a passion for everything,” McAleese says during a recent interview. “You get to develop your palate from a very young age. … It was fun, and it led to this deep passion for making beer and creating a menu for the restaurant.”

Kells Brewery now makes all the beer for the McAleese clan’s restaurants. That includes Southwest Portland’s renowned Kells Irish Pub, which opened in 1990, and the original Kells, which opened in 1983 near Pike Place in Seattle. McAleese also brews for his pizzeria, Coltiva, near Seattle’s Key Arena.

McAleese says he had no inkling he’d go into the family business, but a taste of office life changed that. The University of Oregon grad was living in Argentina, working for an American logistics company, sitting all day at a desk on the phone.

“I was miserable,” says the 31-year-old McAleese. “After working in the restaurant industry for almost a decade, I missed that personal interaction. So I quit and went and started working at the bar underneath the room I was renting and kind of never looked back.”

As luck would have it, he met some Americans who were opening a brewery in Rosario, Argentina, so he told them he’d work for free if they taught him how to brew. He learned the business, developed recipes, then found himself back in the states sharing his vision with his dad.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I got this idea, I’ve been doing these recipes,’ ” he recalls telling his dad. “My vision was much smaller, but my father, he’s been doing this so long. He’s like, ‘If you want to do this, do it all the best -- and also it’s got to be a Kells.’”

McAleese the younger got busy converting a former tile retailer at Northwest 21st Avenue at Davis Street into the newest Kells. The building, also a parking garage decades earlier, came with large, old-growth beams and high ceilings. Today, dark wood throughout – from the tables to the big, elegant full bar – lends authenticity and comfort.

McAleese is a hands-on guy, helping install the brewing line and building the “snugs” – Victorian-era private, wooden booths – that mirror ones in his favorite pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland. McAleese has made the Northwest location a slightly smaller version of the big Kells across town – even down to clearing out the tables on weekend nights for music and dancing.

Kells Brewery has two beer approaches: One is a line of “old world” beers, including an Irish stout, Irish red and Irish lager. The other is a series of modern styles that includes a Northwest IPA, a double IPA and a Tropical Hazy IPA, which are canned and distributed in area stores.

The food menu similarly is a graceful blend of old and new world. It doesn’t skimp on Irish classics like shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips, but it also offers sandwiches, burgers, salads and fish. Much of the produce comes straight from the family’s Wilsonville farm, and Kells is committed to environmentally friendly products, including sustainable fish and locally raised meats.


Kells, once just a famous Irish pub, now a flourishing beer maker: Portland Breweries Series

Garrett McAleese tried to do something else. He went the college route, earning an international business degree and landing a job overseas.

But when you’ve grown up in one of America’s great Irish bars, learning the business surrounded by family and friends, it’s tough to let go.

So, the son of Kells Irish Pub founders Lucille and Gerard McAleese came home to Portland. Then in 2012 he founded Kells Brew Pub, now Kells Brewery, in Northwest Portland, launching a new venture for the longtime Portland and Seattle sister Irish pubs.

“I grew up always doing something in the bar, whether it was cooking or busing tables, so you learn a little bit of everything, then have a love and a passion for everything,” McAleese says during a recent interview. “You get to develop your palate from a very young age. … It was fun, and it led to this deep passion for making beer and creating a menu for the restaurant.”

Kells Brewery now makes all the beer for the McAleese clan’s restaurants. That includes Southwest Portland’s renowned Kells Irish Pub, which opened in 1990, and the original Kells, which opened in 1983 near Pike Place in Seattle. McAleese also brews for his pizzeria, Coltiva, near Seattle’s Key Arena.

McAleese says he had no inkling he’d go into the family business, but a taste of office life changed that. The University of Oregon grad was living in Argentina, working for an American logistics company, sitting all day at a desk on the phone.

“I was miserable,” says the 31-year-old McAleese. “After working in the restaurant industry for almost a decade, I missed that personal interaction. So I quit and went and started working at the bar underneath the room I was renting and kind of never looked back.”

As luck would have it, he met some Americans who were opening a brewery in Rosario, Argentina, so he told them he’d work for free if they taught him how to brew. He learned the business, developed recipes, then found himself back in the states sharing his vision with his dad.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I got this idea, I’ve been doing these recipes,’ ” he recalls telling his dad. “My vision was much smaller, but my father, he’s been doing this so long. He’s like, ‘If you want to do this, do it all the best -- and also it’s got to be a Kells.’”

McAleese the younger got busy converting a former tile retailer at Northwest 21st Avenue at Davis Street into the newest Kells. The building, also a parking garage decades earlier, came with large, old-growth beams and high ceilings. Today, dark wood throughout – from the tables to the big, elegant full bar – lends authenticity and comfort.

McAleese is a hands-on guy, helping install the brewing line and building the “snugs” – Victorian-era private, wooden booths – that mirror ones in his favorite pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland. McAleese has made the Northwest location a slightly smaller version of the big Kells across town – even down to clearing out the tables on weekend nights for music and dancing.

Kells Brewery has two beer approaches: One is a line of “old world” beers, including an Irish stout, Irish red and Irish lager. The other is a series of modern styles that includes a Northwest IPA, a double IPA and a Tropical Hazy IPA, which are canned and distributed in area stores.

The food menu similarly is a graceful blend of old and new world. It doesn’t skimp on Irish classics like shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips, but it also offers sandwiches, burgers, salads and fish. Much of the produce comes straight from the family’s Wilsonville farm, and Kells is committed to environmentally friendly products, including sustainable fish and locally raised meats.


Kells, once just a famous Irish pub, now a flourishing beer maker: Portland Breweries Series

Garrett McAleese tried to do something else. He went the college route, earning an international business degree and landing a job overseas.

But when you’ve grown up in one of America’s great Irish bars, learning the business surrounded by family and friends, it’s tough to let go.

So, the son of Kells Irish Pub founders Lucille and Gerard McAleese came home to Portland. Then in 2012 he founded Kells Brew Pub, now Kells Brewery, in Northwest Portland, launching a new venture for the longtime Portland and Seattle sister Irish pubs.

“I grew up always doing something in the bar, whether it was cooking or busing tables, so you learn a little bit of everything, then have a love and a passion for everything,” McAleese says during a recent interview. “You get to develop your palate from a very young age. … It was fun, and it led to this deep passion for making beer and creating a menu for the restaurant.”

Kells Brewery now makes all the beer for the McAleese clan’s restaurants. That includes Southwest Portland’s renowned Kells Irish Pub, which opened in 1990, and the original Kells, which opened in 1983 near Pike Place in Seattle. McAleese also brews for his pizzeria, Coltiva, near Seattle’s Key Arena.

McAleese says he had no inkling he’d go into the family business, but a taste of office life changed that. The University of Oregon grad was living in Argentina, working for an American logistics company, sitting all day at a desk on the phone.

“I was miserable,” says the 31-year-old McAleese. “After working in the restaurant industry for almost a decade, I missed that personal interaction. So I quit and went and started working at the bar underneath the room I was renting and kind of never looked back.”

As luck would have it, he met some Americans who were opening a brewery in Rosario, Argentina, so he told them he’d work for free if they taught him how to brew. He learned the business, developed recipes, then found himself back in the states sharing his vision with his dad.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I got this idea, I’ve been doing these recipes,’ ” he recalls telling his dad. “My vision was much smaller, but my father, he’s been doing this so long. He’s like, ‘If you want to do this, do it all the best -- and also it’s got to be a Kells.’”

McAleese the younger got busy converting a former tile retailer at Northwest 21st Avenue at Davis Street into the newest Kells. The building, also a parking garage decades earlier, came with large, old-growth beams and high ceilings. Today, dark wood throughout – from the tables to the big, elegant full bar – lends authenticity and comfort.

McAleese is a hands-on guy, helping install the brewing line and building the “snugs” – Victorian-era private, wooden booths – that mirror ones in his favorite pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland. McAleese has made the Northwest location a slightly smaller version of the big Kells across town – even down to clearing out the tables on weekend nights for music and dancing.

Kells Brewery has two beer approaches: One is a line of “old world” beers, including an Irish stout, Irish red and Irish lager. The other is a series of modern styles that includes a Northwest IPA, a double IPA and a Tropical Hazy IPA, which are canned and distributed in area stores.

The food menu similarly is a graceful blend of old and new world. It doesn’t skimp on Irish classics like shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips, but it also offers sandwiches, burgers, salads and fish. Much of the produce comes straight from the family’s Wilsonville farm, and Kells is committed to environmentally friendly products, including sustainable fish and locally raised meats.


Kells, once just a famous Irish pub, now a flourishing beer maker: Portland Breweries Series

Garrett McAleese tried to do something else. He went the college route, earning an international business degree and landing a job overseas.

But when you’ve grown up in one of America’s great Irish bars, learning the business surrounded by family and friends, it’s tough to let go.

So, the son of Kells Irish Pub founders Lucille and Gerard McAleese came home to Portland. Then in 2012 he founded Kells Brew Pub, now Kells Brewery, in Northwest Portland, launching a new venture for the longtime Portland and Seattle sister Irish pubs.

“I grew up always doing something in the bar, whether it was cooking or busing tables, so you learn a little bit of everything, then have a love and a passion for everything,” McAleese says during a recent interview. “You get to develop your palate from a very young age. … It was fun, and it led to this deep passion for making beer and creating a menu for the restaurant.”

Kells Brewery now makes all the beer for the McAleese clan’s restaurants. That includes Southwest Portland’s renowned Kells Irish Pub, which opened in 1990, and the original Kells, which opened in 1983 near Pike Place in Seattle. McAleese also brews for his pizzeria, Coltiva, near Seattle’s Key Arena.

McAleese says he had no inkling he’d go into the family business, but a taste of office life changed that. The University of Oregon grad was living in Argentina, working for an American logistics company, sitting all day at a desk on the phone.

“I was miserable,” says the 31-year-old McAleese. “After working in the restaurant industry for almost a decade, I missed that personal interaction. So I quit and went and started working at the bar underneath the room I was renting and kind of never looked back.”

As luck would have it, he met some Americans who were opening a brewery in Rosario, Argentina, so he told them he’d work for free if they taught him how to brew. He learned the business, developed recipes, then found himself back in the states sharing his vision with his dad.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I got this idea, I’ve been doing these recipes,’ ” he recalls telling his dad. “My vision was much smaller, but my father, he’s been doing this so long. He’s like, ‘If you want to do this, do it all the best -- and also it’s got to be a Kells.’”

McAleese the younger got busy converting a former tile retailer at Northwest 21st Avenue at Davis Street into the newest Kells. The building, also a parking garage decades earlier, came with large, old-growth beams and high ceilings. Today, dark wood throughout – from the tables to the big, elegant full bar – lends authenticity and comfort.

McAleese is a hands-on guy, helping install the brewing line and building the “snugs” – Victorian-era private, wooden booths – that mirror ones in his favorite pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland. McAleese has made the Northwest location a slightly smaller version of the big Kells across town – even down to clearing out the tables on weekend nights for music and dancing.

Kells Brewery has two beer approaches: One is a line of “old world” beers, including an Irish stout, Irish red and Irish lager. The other is a series of modern styles that includes a Northwest IPA, a double IPA and a Tropical Hazy IPA, which are canned and distributed in area stores.

The food menu similarly is a graceful blend of old and new world. It doesn’t skimp on Irish classics like shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips, but it also offers sandwiches, burgers, salads and fish. Much of the produce comes straight from the family’s Wilsonville farm, and Kells is committed to environmentally friendly products, including sustainable fish and locally raised meats.


Kells, once just a famous Irish pub, now a flourishing beer maker: Portland Breweries Series

Garrett McAleese tried to do something else. He went the college route, earning an international business degree and landing a job overseas.

But when you’ve grown up in one of America’s great Irish bars, learning the business surrounded by family and friends, it’s tough to let go.

So, the son of Kells Irish Pub founders Lucille and Gerard McAleese came home to Portland. Then in 2012 he founded Kells Brew Pub, now Kells Brewery, in Northwest Portland, launching a new venture for the longtime Portland and Seattle sister Irish pubs.

“I grew up always doing something in the bar, whether it was cooking or busing tables, so you learn a little bit of everything, then have a love and a passion for everything,” McAleese says during a recent interview. “You get to develop your palate from a very young age. … It was fun, and it led to this deep passion for making beer and creating a menu for the restaurant.”

Kells Brewery now makes all the beer for the McAleese clan’s restaurants. That includes Southwest Portland’s renowned Kells Irish Pub, which opened in 1990, and the original Kells, which opened in 1983 near Pike Place in Seattle. McAleese also brews for his pizzeria, Coltiva, near Seattle’s Key Arena.

McAleese says he had no inkling he’d go into the family business, but a taste of office life changed that. The University of Oregon grad was living in Argentina, working for an American logistics company, sitting all day at a desk on the phone.

“I was miserable,” says the 31-year-old McAleese. “After working in the restaurant industry for almost a decade, I missed that personal interaction. So I quit and went and started working at the bar underneath the room I was renting and kind of never looked back.”

As luck would have it, he met some Americans who were opening a brewery in Rosario, Argentina, so he told them he’d work for free if they taught him how to brew. He learned the business, developed recipes, then found himself back in the states sharing his vision with his dad.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I got this idea, I’ve been doing these recipes,’ ” he recalls telling his dad. “My vision was much smaller, but my father, he’s been doing this so long. He’s like, ‘If you want to do this, do it all the best -- and also it’s got to be a Kells.’”

McAleese the younger got busy converting a former tile retailer at Northwest 21st Avenue at Davis Street into the newest Kells. The building, also a parking garage decades earlier, came with large, old-growth beams and high ceilings. Today, dark wood throughout – from the tables to the big, elegant full bar – lends authenticity and comfort.

McAleese is a hands-on guy, helping install the brewing line and building the “snugs” – Victorian-era private, wooden booths – that mirror ones in his favorite pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland. McAleese has made the Northwest location a slightly smaller version of the big Kells across town – even down to clearing out the tables on weekend nights for music and dancing.

Kells Brewery has two beer approaches: One is a line of “old world” beers, including an Irish stout, Irish red and Irish lager. The other is a series of modern styles that includes a Northwest IPA, a double IPA and a Tropical Hazy IPA, which are canned and distributed in area stores.

The food menu similarly is a graceful blend of old and new world. It doesn’t skimp on Irish classics like shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips, but it also offers sandwiches, burgers, salads and fish. Much of the produce comes straight from the family’s Wilsonville farm, and Kells is committed to environmentally friendly products, including sustainable fish and locally raised meats.


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