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quick bites

A taste of Portland, or Austin, on the Hill

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Where to Winter Hill Brewing Company, appropriately located in Somerville’s Winter Hill.

What for Laptop chatter over snacks, sandwiches, and beer.

The scene Very Austin; very Portland. Plaid-clad day drinkers sip beer at 4:30 p.m. on a sunny weekday afternoon. Some sit at the (outlet-equipped) bar with their devices; others relax on a sizable patio while Broadway traffic zips past.

What you’re eating By day, Winter Hill Brewing is a cafe that sells pastries and other goodies from the Somerville Bread Company and Union Square Donuts. At 4 p.m. on Wednesday through Sunday, it transforms into a restaurant with salads, snacks, and sandwiches. Enjoy small plates ($6) like spicy Korean Brussels sprouts, mac and cheese, or beer-battered pickle chips, or go bigger with sandwiches like the highly recommended old-school Reuben draped with homemade Russian dressing ($13) or a colorful chickpea gyro ($11) with lettuce, tomato, onion, and tzatziki. Sandwiches come with Parmesan rosemary fries, greens, or coleslaw. Drinkers who prefer to offset beer calories with healthier items can choose from three salads ($8): roasted beet, panzanella, or a house mixture of iceberg, spinach, bacon, blue cheese, and blue cheese dressing. OK, maybe not so healthy.

Care for a drink? Coffee — iced, hot, lattes, mochas, and so forth — comes from Counter Culture Coffee. Requests for milk prompt an entire carton to arrive tableside. Then there’s the beer, created on-site. There are five offerings, ranging from Darlin’s IPA (“floral and dank,” says the menu) to Russian Ending imperial stout (“burly and strong”). Pitchers of house ale are $20; half-pints are $4.


Overheard Arguments over California geography; discussions about Nepalese dumplings. “I lived in Livermore for years! Just over the Bay Bridge,” a bon vivant in madras tells his companion, who picks at fried pickles. “Livermore is beautiful, but it’s not near any bridges,” she replies. “I’m thinking of investing in a high-tech lawnmower,” a young man tells a friend. A bleary-eyed dad arrives with a baby carriage and orders a beer, quickly followed by three men in leather vests and cargo shorts, who take up residence at the bar. “I’m here for a job interview,” says a skittish colt in a yellow tunic, who scrambles to the back of the room. Outside, two guys in black jeans — 98-degree heat be damned — discuss next stops. “I’m craving momos. They could even be frozen. I just need them,” one says to the other.


328 Broadway, Somerville, www.winterhillbrewing.com

Kara Baskin can be reached at kcbaskin@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.