Jackson at N.W.I.P.A.
6350 SE Foster Road, 971-279-5876, nwipa.beer.
Jackson Wyatt knows what he likes, and what he likes is hops. The bushy-bearded face of this FoPo hop kiln has an outstanding palate for the spectrum of beers between India Session Ale and Cascadian Dark Ale, and takes a hard line on each and every beer allowed on one of his six taps. If it's on tap at N.W.I.P.A., it will be hoppy, fresh and very good.
Jeremy and Quyen at Roscoe's
8105 SE Stark St., 255-0049, roscoespdx.com.
Roscoe's co-owner Jeremy Lewis is the sort of dude who dresses up as a truly frightening SpongeBob Marley for Halloween— and Roscoe's is a reflection partly of his own personality, along with that of partner Quyen Li. This means Roscoe's is unlike any other beer bar in Portland: a low-down Montavilla dive stacked with knickknacks psychedelic or otherwise, a smoking porch with an on-off ventilation switch, an old biker or two hustling pool at the tables, a vast craft-beer menu outfitted with personal tasting notes, and goofball monthly "beer summits" that are almost never quite planned even a week in advance but are always stacked with amazing brews when the day comes.
Geoff and Nick at the Upper Lip
720 SW Ankeny St., theupperlip.net.
The big problem with Bailey's Taproom is that it's always swamped. So maybe it's not surprising that the brains behind the place built themselves a nice little clubhouse above the fray. There's a small collection of high-end bottles and only six taps, all pouring what owner Geoff Phillips and tech manager Nick Rivers want to drink. They're often seated at the short bar, and there's a huge table behind them where you can nearly always find a seat.
Dan at Stammtisch
401 NE 28th Ave., 206-7983, stammtischpdx.com.
Dan Hart really gets into Oktoberfest. Drop by Portland's best German bier bar—which might also be it's best bar, period—during Oktoberfest and you'll see him in lederhosen, with a big stein of Märzen. Look fast, because the Eugene native and former pro skier launders those lederhosen and flies off to Germany in time for the party there.
Tyler, Kate, Clark and Sarah at Saraveza
1004 N Killingsworth St., 206-4252, saraveza.com.
"What should I have next?" we asked on a fall evening. Tyler Vickers, the bearded, no-nonsense bartender at Saraveza, didn't hesitate: "Another Pliny." And that's what we love about Saraveza. Whereas other too-nice Portland bar backs will ask you the finer points of your flavor profile, what kinds of "beers you like" and so on, the folks at the Wisconsin-themed bar will give it to you straight. Between bartenders like Vickers and Kate Vincent, beer buyer Clark Prather and owner Sarah Pederson, the bar is run by excellent palates. When ordering, it's always best to just take their advice. Especially when they're the only ones who know just how fresh that keg of Pliny is.
Herb at Loyal Legion
710 SE 6th Ave., 235-8272, loyallegionpdx.com.
Loyal Legion is home to the longest bar in Portland, and 99 taps of all-Oregon beer, the largest selection anywhere. It's also home to the highest-paid dishwashers (everybody starts at $15) and the largest pair of mutton chops, on the head of beer director Herb Apon. A member of the founding team at Uptown Brewing, Apon has built a lot of connections with beer purveyors to help him pull in rare brews alongside long-standing favorites. He was also the force behind the Legion's controversial ultra-cold taps, beloved by some, reviled by others, but undeniably terrific when pouring the new Boneyard Pilsner.