2204 NE Alberta St., No. 101, 503-548-4491, greatnotionpdx.com. noon-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, noon-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
Established: January 2016
No Oregon brewery has ever had a year like Great Notion. On New Year's Day of 2016, three homebrew buddies with no professional experience or training took over a tiny, forgotten brewpub space on Northeast Alberta Street. A year later, it's the most discussed, debated and imitated brewery in the state, having completely changed the conversation around IPA. The magic is in the yeast, cultivated from East Coast Heady Topper and Hill Farmstead by guru James Dugan. Dugan, an active beer trader, cultivated the yeast for his own homebrew because he wanted to drink more juicy, cloudy New England-style IPA than he could practically acquire via UPS. Neighbor-turned-business partner Andy Miller started hanging out and helping brew, and next thing you know Dugan was leveraging his house to contract the massive amount of Citra and Mosaic hops they needed to take their Juice Jr. and Ripe IPAs commercial. They can't make enough of either, so very little of Great Notion's beer ever escapes the packed-to-the-gills taproom.
In addition to the cloudy IPAs, Great Notion does fun and aggressively flavored novelties like a blueberry beer that tastes exactly like a Costco blueberry muffin, and a maple-drenched imperial breakfast stout. The food menu is also quirky and well-executed—think fried plantains and "nachos" made with cheese fried into the shape of a chip, then topped with salsa.
Bar story: Great Notion had originally planned to make beers in giant clay amphorae like the ones used to house the water that Jesus turned into wine. But sadly the beer kept leaking out of the clay. Dugan wept.