5211 NE 148th Ave., 503-714-1222, levelbeer.com. 11 am-8 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-10 pm Friday and Saturday.
Have you ever heard of Argay? I hadn't, though this East Portland neighborhood has more residents than Goose Hollow or Eastmoreland. That's probably because Level Beer is the first buzzy business the hood has had since, uh, ever. The property was formerly a produce market called The Barn, until being taken over by Geoff Phillips, owner of vaunted beer bar Bailey's Taproom. Phillips was looking to buy a spacious property, and found that a brewery made it pencil-out when a beer bar could not. Phillips is not himself a beermaker, so he tabbed two talented brewers: Jason Barbee of Ex Novo and Shane Watterson of Laurelwood. They turned the barn-sized barn into a 20-barrel production brewery with a cozy taproom next to the kettles and a massive covered patio in the previous tenant's greenhouse. It's a wonderful place to hang out, and probably the single best place to be on a sunny but chilly day. There's no kitchen, but two food carts have settled in the parking lot, including a very good burger spot. As has become common, Level introduced itself with collaboration beers made on other people's systems before filling its tanks in summer 2017. The beers released since have been top-notch. The house motto is "brewed with balance," and it's not an idle boast. The two standouts are Let's Play, a dry-hopped Pilsner that remains just a little biscutty, and Be Your Own Dad, a best bitter that's just 4.3 percent ABV, but packs in a lot of classic English flavor.
Nearby: If you're all the way out here, you might as well hop on the 205 and cross the bridge to Vancouver, to check in on our northern suburb's fast up-and-coming beer scene.