77 NE 4th St., Gresham, 669-0569, 4thstreetbrewing.com. 4 pm-1 am Monday-Friday. Noon-1 am Saturday-Sunday.
Among the offerings at Gresham’s 4th Street Brewing you’ll spot the rarest of all craft brew styles: the light lager. This makes sense. While this plasma screen-lit pub makes its own beer—five mainstays plus a rotation of seven seasonals—it’s mostly a sports bar. Besides Gresham Light, 4th Street’s tap handles pour chiefly IPAs and pale ales. Occasionally, there’s a surprise blitz from rotating recipes like cherry tart or double Pilsner. The glasses come cheap: $2 pints on Tuesdays, $1.50 on Wednesdays, and happy hour all day Sunday. And when they say “pint,” they mean a full 20 ounces, just like the queen drinks. 4th Street supports its local high schoolers (go Gophers!) and operates in a sustainable facility, but it’s best positioned as someplace for Greshamites to watch the Blazers while sipping housemade Miller Lite. ENID SPITZ.
Drink this: Powell Porter, a 4th Street mainstay, feels light for its hue and actually does a good job of fusing chocolate flavors with paler ale. Middle of the road, but in a good way.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, rares, high-ABV, session.
4765 NE Fremont St., 460-9025, alamedabrewing.com. 11 am-11 pm Sunday-Thursday. 11 am-midnight Friday-Saturday.
Born in Beaumont Village right around the time the first flip phones were hitting the streets, Alameda Brewing is now widely distributed but stays true to its small-tank roots. Its first five beers are always on tap, even if Alameda now focuses more on fascinating seasonals like the blood orange-infused My Bloody Valentine and Papa Noel’s, which WW picked as the best local holiday ale in a blind taste test last year. Corrugated metal panels on the bar and between booths reflect cool hanging lights, but it’s otherwise plain; nothing here belies City of Roses quirkiness, including humdrum bartenders. The brews are the reason to come: $10 and 12 tasters down, it’ll win your devotion. Alameda’s recent expansion to a 20-barrel facility with a grain silo keeps its best beers, like the indulgent Black Bear XX Stout, in constant production. ENID SPITZ.
Drink this: You can’t leave without trying the decorated Black Bear XX Stout. It’s gone from gold to silver in the recent years, but it’s still thick and chocolaty enough to please. It actually tastes better on a standard tap line instead of nitro.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, food carts near, bike-friendly, beer bottled or canned, sessionable, hops.
1055 NE 25th Ave., Suite N, Hillsboro, 828-1400, ambacht.us. 4-6 pm Thursday.
Portland’s rise to brewing prominence was closely tied to the hop—that gorgeous, bitter little flower that grows so well here. But the best part of the city’s beer culture is its evolution, with our breweries now looking hard at other ingredients and traditions. Ambacht Brewing is one of the new wave, eschewing the hop race in favor of Belgian farmhouse ales. The resulting product might lack the refinement of, say, Logsdon’s cherished line, but these beers aren’t meant for a museum. They’re intended to be consumed the way farmhouse ales always were, with feet propped up on a warm day, or along with a big meal. Shortly after our beer guide goes to print, Ambacht will be opening a tap house near the Hillsboro Airport. Expect to hear more about these guys. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: Ginger Farmhouse Ale. They don’t skimp on the ginger, and this would pair well with Korean barbecue or Nong’s Khao Man Gai.
Perks: Beer bottled or canned.
832 N Beech St., 281-7708, amnesiabrews.com. Noon-midnight Tuesday-Sunday. 3 pm-midnight Monday.
With basic picnic benches inside its corrugated sheet-metal walls and across the dog-friendly patio, Amnesia has long been a standby for times when the place you’re sitting is as important as what you’re sipping. The beer isn’t the most sophisticated in town, but the brewery’s got sauerkraut-smothered sausages and tofu brats, and the smoky aroma of grilled meat mingles nicely with the malty smell of wort wafting from the seven-barrel system in the back. Out of Amnesia’s taps surge five year-round offerings—the popular Copacetic IPA packs a piny punch and the Dusty Trail Pale makes for easy day-drinking—and several seasonals. These offerings are set to expand with the brewery’s new location in Washougal, Wash. That just-unveiled outpost employs 15 barrels, producing enough beer for Amnesia to start canning. REBECCA JACOBSON.
Drink this: The Slow Train Porter is smooth and balanced, drinkable any time of year.
Perks: Dogs allowed, food carts near.
930 SE Oak St., 477-7479, basecampbrewingco.com. Noon-9 pm Sunday-Wednesday. 11 am-midnight Thursday-Saturday.
Base Camp Brewing is not located within walking distance of two rock gyms by mistake. The staff of self-professed adventurers grin in action photos behind the bar, and carabiners glint from every corner in the massive tasting cave where topo maps and Oregon stone camp out under a constellation of fiber-optic stars. Half of Base Camp’s beers are characterized by the dreaded adjective “drinkable”—mild and unexceptional, perfect for the weary outdoorsperson who might otherwise settle for a cold can of Coors at the end of a long, hot day. But standouts include the crisp, fruity rye Pilsner and the caramel-y doppelbock. Order a pint of the aromatic flagship India pale lager to go with a basket of crunchy falafel from the Gonzo food cart outside. Just don’t get smashed and climb on top of the wide, welcoming granite bar—that’s adventure of a different sort. ADRIENNE SO.
Drink this: S’more Stout. Take one bite, and then leave the toasted marshmallow floating on top as you sip. The scent of caramelized sugar is a perfect complement to this dark, full-bodied beer that tastes like smoke, chocolate and coffee.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, food carts near, bike-friendly, beer bottled or canned.
820 NE Dekum St., 719-6475, breakside.com. Noon-10 pm Sunday. 3-10 pm Monday-Thursday. Noon-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
Most breweries trade in kegs, pints or bottles. North Portland’s Breakside does its best work with taster trays. The brewery’s year-round offerings are solid—the choco-chili Aztec is one of our top 10 beers—but given that Breakside made a staggering 83 different brews last year, try as many nips as you can. A 4-ounce pour is often the right portion, too. Even pleasantly interesting offerings like ultra-hot Szechuan Blonde and super-smoky Toro Red lose their charm halfway into a pint. You may struggle to finish a shooter glass of offensively salty cucumber gose or the overly herbal Nordic Porter. But that’s all part of the fun at this brewery, which pours beers made with beets and rooibos tea next to ambitious pub fare, including an opulent $10 hummus plate that’s actually worth $10. With a new tap room and full-scale production facility just opened in a Milwaukie industrial park, I wonder how much longer Breakside will push the envelope. Brewmaster Ben Edmunds says he plans to keep Dekum edgy, but the demands of a big operation tend to embog innovation. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: Aztec, see page 16.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, high-ABV, sessionable, sours.
1313 NW Marshall St., 241-7179, bridgeportbrew.com. 11:30 am-11 pm Tuesday-Thursday. 11:30 am-midnight Friday-Saturday. 11:30 am-10 pm Sunday-Monday.
BridgePort is the oldest craft brewery in Oregon, opened by the Ponzi wine family of Dundee in 1984. Over nearly 30 years, BridgePort has won its share of accolades, and its flagship IPA, which debuted in 1996, has defined the bitter, piny flavor of the Northwest outside our corner of the country. The Ponzis still make wine, but the BridgePort brand is now owned by the Texas-based maker of Shiner Bock. The hulking Pearl neighborhood brewpub, renovated in 2005 to better suit the neighborhood’s loft-dwelling crowd, feels like a fortress thanks to its sprawling dining room, big glass elevator and men’s room urinals the size of telephone booths. As fortresses go, though, this one feels like a holdover from a war long ago won that’s ill-equipped for service in today’s battles. A BridgePort offshoot on Southeast Hawthorne shuttered in December after limping along for years. Changes may be coming to this proud old institution, too. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: Old Knucklehead, an extremely approachable barleywine that’s 9.1 percent ABV.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned.
Buckman Botanical Brewery/Green Dragon
909 SE Yamhill St., 517-0660, buckmanbrewery.com. 11 am-11 pm Sunday-Wednesday. 11 am-1 am Thursday-Saturday.
Danny Connors of Buckman Botanical Brewery is the David Copperfield of Portland beer brewers: Each new brew is a showy magic trick with mass appeal. Making a Kölsch taste not like a pumpkin beer, but exactly like pumpkin pie, is right on par with making the Statue of Liberty disappear. Ginger Pale Ale distills the sweet flavor of ginger without a snap’s irritating bite on the tongue’s tip, while the brewery’s Chamomellow is probably its signature achievement, a tasty and sessionable double-brew of beer and tea that cushions its drinker like a beanbag chair. The chamomile flavor is so pronounced one almost forgets it’s beer—a reasonable complaint about botanicals, but easy to forget while drinking. The strange, geeky gruits (that’s beer without hops) receive the delightfully strange, geeky showcase they deserve in Buckman’s home at Rogue Ales’ many-tapped Green Dragon. The men’s and women’s restrooms are marked “STANDING” and “SITTING,” respectively, a mannequin presides over the space and Hawaiian shirts garner discounts on Tuesdays. MATTHEW KORFHAGE
Drink this: The fragrant Chamomellow lives up to its name, and doesn’t cloy on multiple glasses.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, rares, sessionable.
701 E Burnside St., 946-8151, burnsidebrewco.com. 3-10 pm Sunday-Tuesday. 3 pm-midnight Wednesday-Friday. Noon-midnight Saturday.
Burnside Brewing is at least as good at pairing food with its beer as it is at cramming foodie flavors into its brews. From its famous Sweet Heat—a standard chili beer even if it is brewed with apricot puree and Jamaican scotch-bonnet peppers—on down, the brewery trumpets its use of plums, mallow root and Kaffir lime leaf. Whatever’s in them, though, most of Burnside’s beers turn out surprisingly conventional. So order some food. The Stock Ale has a light root-beer finish that lends sweet notes to the house’s tart pickled vegetables. The Permafrost Winter Strong Ale has a green apple flavor in its syrupy malt, a pint that goes well with a hanger steak. Among the more adventurous combinations, at least one big bet has paid off: the Uni Ale, made with sea urchin and tomato water. Light but chewy, it doesn’t reek like the sea, but rather smells like the blossom of some undiscovered jungle vegetable. The atmosphere, like the beers, is a little confused, stuck between medieval rustic and laser-cut modern. MITCH LILLIE.
Drink this: Alter Ego Imperial IPA, a very balanced IPA that is sweet and drinkable.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV, sessionable, high-hops beers.
Captured By Porches
22 SE 28th Ave., 971-207-3742 capturedbyporches.com. 8:30 am-11 pm Tuesday-Sunday.
A blissful marriage between Portland’s beer and food-cart cultures was just too great to keep down. After scuttling plans to convert a gas station into a microbrewery six years ago, Dylan Goldsmith—who established the Captured by Porches brand on the house-party circuit before going legit—and partner Suzanne Moodhe set up in a warehouse in St. Helens, and brought their fine assortment of vegan brews back to Stumptown via three Kool-Aid-colored “beer buses.” It is about as Portlandian a concept as ever existed. Earlier this year, city regulators, in an effort to restrict pouring to only brick-and-mortar establishments, refused to issue the brewery a permit to continue operation. But in March, a ruling by the OLCC allowed the business to reopen, and the taps—affixed to the side of buses—are once again flowing. If available, try the Yggdrasil Imperial Pale Ale, one of the label’s heaviest hitters at 9 percent ABV, though it goes down so easily you’ll hardly notice. MATTHEW SINGER.
Drink this: Ask for the Cascadian Dark Ale, which is actually a blend of the Yggdrasil Imperial Pale Ale and the Blackbird Stout. It’s like one of those In-N-Out secret menu items.
Perks: Kids allowed, food carts near, beer bottled or canned.
Cascade Barrel House
939 SE Belmont St., 265-8603, cascadebrewingbarrelhouse.com. Noon-10 pm Sunday-Monday. Noon-11 pm Tuesday-Thursday. Noon-midnight Friday-Saturday.
A pilgrimage is, by definition, the long journey undertaken by the religiously devout to a sacred structure. For those who genuflect at the Altar of Sour, Cascade’s barrel house, an offshoot of Raccoon Lodge, is a worthy Mecca. Since accomplishing the incredible feat of taking both gold and silver in the wood- and barrel-aged sour beer category at the Great American Beer Festival in 2009, theirs have become some of the most sought-after in the style. The medaling beers—Bourbonic Plague and Vlad the Imp Aler—are billed as “Northwest-style Sours,” but the former is dark, rich and spicy, while the latter is blonde, tart and tannic. The adjacent warehouse used for barrel aging and blending allows for infinite flavors, often augmented with local fruits, and unveiled weekly at Tap It Tuesday, where patrons at the bar may be doused with a sour shower. BRIAN YAEGER.
Drink this: Given the veritable farmers market of fruit beers that are puckering-ly acidic in a complimentary way—the cherry-riffic kriek and blueberry are not to be missed—it’s the Noyaux that steals the show, characterized by the meat of apricot pits.
Perks: Kids allowed, food carts near, bike-friendly, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV, sessionable, sours.
2515-B Portland Road, Newberg, 971-832-8131, chehalemvalleybrewing.com. 5-9 pm Monday-Thursday. 5-10 pm Friday. Noon-10 pm Saturday. Noon-9 pm Sunday.
Newberg’s main claim to fame—beyond Herbert Hoover living there for four years and a handful of prominent wineries—is that it has more churches per capita than any other town in Oregon. It’s fitting, then, that Chehalem Valley Brewing feels like a church basement, only with big-screen TVs, dartboards and a live jazz band. Due to limited brewing capacity, only a handful of the brewery’s serviceable offerings (double church pun!) were available when I stopped in on a bustling Friday night. Unfortunately, they were out of their Hop on Pop Double IPA, which draws distinction for clocking in at 6.4 percent ABV, perhaps a playful nod to Newberg’s temperate Quaker origins. Chehalem Valley Brewing isn’t a destination, but the Broken Bottle IPA is interesting enough to warrant a stop if you’re out that way. And there’s free popcorn. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: Broken Bottle IPA, a Northwest-style IPA that has some curious notes, almost as if it was aged in Champagne barrels.
Perks: Dogs allowed, full menu, food carts near, rares, high-hops beers.
2724 SE Ankeny St., 894-8080, coalitionbrewing.com. 3 pm-midnight Tuesday-Friday. Noon-midnight Saturday-Sunday.
Even if it’s only about 3 years old, Coalition is very much a classic Portland brewpub. Though now bottling and canning, Coalition’s soul is an inviting tasting room where a neighborhood crowd shows up to chat while serviced by some of our town’s friendlier bartenders. The flagship Two Dogs IPA is magnificently balanced, with the crisp bitterness of dandelion leaves and a melty caramel sweetness. It’s a throwback to when IPAs offered floral, zesty complexity instead of stinging acidity. It was a beer I remembered loving, even as I sipped my first pint. Founders Kiley Hoyt and Elan Walsky started as homebrewers participating in Widmer Brothers’ collaboration project, and the brewery pays it forward with a similar coalator program. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: Two Dogs IPA, a balanced classic.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, food carts near, beer bottled or canned.
1728 NE 40th Ave., 943-6157, columbiariverbrewpub.com. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
After 37 years of homebrewing but without professional experience, Rick Burkhardt and his wife, Lynn, opened this brewpub in the former Laurelwood space in the Hollywood District in 2010. Why wait so long? “We decided the risk was better taken after our kids are grown,” says Rick. Now, one of those kids and even a grandkid work at the pub. Geeks will appreciate that the seven-barrel brewing system in the basement is visible from the restaurant since another previous tenant, Old World Pub and Brewery, cut the hole in the floor. Rick culls from “all but five” of his 60 time-tested homebrew recipes, and it’s paid off. At the auspicious 2012 World Beer Cup, Columbia River won two silver medals for stouts. Grab the seasonal oatmeal stout, Stumbler’s, and a basket of beer-battered french fries that are among the best in town. BRIAN YAEGER.
Drink this: Paddler’s Porter, sold as a regular porter even though it drinks like an Imperial.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV, hops
1810 SE 10th Ave., Unit E, 343-5501, commonsbrewery.com. 5-9 pm Thursday-Friday. 2-9 pm Saturday.
In 2010, Mike Wright got a nanobrewery called Beetje licensed in his garage and started pitching his suds to neighborhood bars. When people loved the beer, he decided to step up to a full-scale commercial brewery with a more common name. So far, so good. Wright’s Urban Farmhouse Ale is WW’s Beer of the Year, while Flemish Kiss took home a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival last October. Many of the Commons’ beers use Belgian yeasts smuggled back from a trip that was part pilgrimage, part homecoming, given that his wife is Belgian-born. The bare-bones tasting area is set up on the edge of the brew house and you’re free to wander around the hoses and tanks. In fact, you should: Commons doesn’t even have proper chairs, let alone food or music, but elbow room in the tasting room can still get pretty scarce. BRIAN YAEGER
Drink this: Urban Farmhouse Ale is a saison and relatively mild at 5.3 percent ABV with pleasant fruity and peppery esters. The golden color, low bitterness (22 IBUs) and lively carbonation keep it approachable to beer noobs and covetable to beer geeks. See page 10.
Perks: Beer bottled or canned, high-ABV, sessionable, sours.
Deschutes Portland Public House
210 NW 11th Ave., 296-4906, deschutesbrewery.com. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Tuesday. 11 am-11 pm Wednesday-Thursday. 11 am-midnight Friday-Saturday.
Among the first generation of Oregon micros, Bend’s Deschutes has held up best against the second and third waves of craft brewers. Its rich, anise-y limited edition Abyss Imperial stout is legendary for its depth of flavor, and the old-school Black Butte Porter remains the gold standard for the form, but the Portland Public House’s best offerings are its own rotating array of interesting house-brewed seasonals and experimentals. The brewpub itself is a tight-tabled Pearl District beer barn, not overtly pleasant, but one settles in immediately upon tasting Deschutes’ recent Cassis Abbey, a wine-stained black currant sour with a dry finish, or succumbing to the fireplace comforts of the house’s Bomb Squad Smoked Imperial, which clambers back to tickle the entire top of the palate, and maybe even the sinuses, before settling into dark chocolate. The Old Pilgrim Barleywine is another recent local success, an exercise in balance that leaves behind a light, lavender perfume. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Drink this: Seek out Dissident Oud Bruin sour brown, Deschutes’ only wild yeast beer, which shows a knack for imparting deep warmth to sours’ usual fruity acidity.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV, sours, high-hops beers.
2126 SW Halsey St., Troutdale, 669-8610, mcmenamins.com/edgefield. 11 am-midnight Sunday-Thursday. 11 am-1 am Friday-Saturday.
Edgefield, McMenamins’ flagship property, has a winery, distillery and brewery to fuel its many bars. The McMenamin brothers’ crown jewel has 100 hotel rooms, a golf course, soaking pool and an amphitheater, but the keystone of the entire operation is McMenamins’ handcrafted ales, including the classic lineup brewed by some of the team’s best players. It’s no wonder the 74-acre farm in Troutdale is often referred to as a Disneyland for adults. Edgefield is an inspired marriage of good beer, compelling scenery and great programming, worth the trip for a big outdoor concert or taking a stroll with a pint. MICHAEL LOPEZ.
Drink this: Red Riser IRA, hailed as a beer to “celebrate the late winter months”; this India Red Ale strikes a tenuous balance between its four varieties of hops and six different malts.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV, high-hops beers.
326 S Broadway St., Estacada, 630-2337, fearless1.com. 4-9 pm Monday, Wednesday-Thursday. Noon-10 pm Friday-Saturday. Noon-9 pm Sunday.
Nestled on the banks of the Clackamas
River some 30 miles southeast of Portland, Estacada is perhaps best
known among Portlanders as the home of the Legendary Safari Club’s
taxidermied tigers. Quietly, though, Estacada’s Fearless Brewing has
started canning some of the area’s most underrated beer in its
straightforward, no-frills restaurant and pub. Enthusiastic brewmaster
Ken Jonson’s most recognizable offering, a Scottish ale, should take a
back seat to Fearless’ immensely flavorful and complex Loki Red
Ale—among our picks for the 10 best beers of the year—which should
impress discriminating drinkers and river tubers alike. Fearless’ full
lineup also includes a cream ale, a porter, an India session ale and an
Drink this: Loki Red Ale, see page 18.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, rares.
Fire On The Mountain
3443 Northeast 57th Avenue, 894-8973, portlandwings.com. 11 am-11 pm daily.
Fifth Quadrant (Lompoc)
3901 N Williams Ave., 288-3996, lompocbrewing.com. 11 am-midnight Monday-Thursday. 11 am-1 am Friday-Saturday. 11 am-11 pm Sunday.
The demolition of Lompoc’s most beloved outpost, the gritty New Old Lompoc in Northwest, felt like the fall of Rome. The tavern and rustic brewery, purchased by Jerry Fechter and late Horse Brass publican Don Younger in 2000, held a special place in the hearts of many a Portland drinker, even after the better-equipped Fifth Quadrant opened in 2005. With its tall, six-person booths and kid-friendly atmosphere, the Quad is more family restaurant than hardcore beer bar. In some ways, the transition seems symbolic of the mainstreaming of craft beer, once for outsiders drinking in a half-collapsed century-old building, now for soccer dads. The classic brews—from the hop-heavy C-Note Imperial Ale to the always satisfying Proletariat Red—remains a local standard. The New New Lompoc should be open this summer, sans brewery, in the condos that replaced the building that launched the empire. MATTHEW SINGER.
Drink this: The Fool’s Golden Ale. It’s crisp, refreshing and perfectly sessionable.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-hops beers.
Full Sail Riverplace
307 SW Montgomery St. (Inside McCormick & Schmick’s), 222-5343, fullsailbrewing.com. 11:30 am-10 pm daily.
Riverplace is like a shot of espresso: a condensed version of Full Sail’s full-scale brewery in Hood River. While the vast majority of the company’s beer has been brewed east of Portland for a quarter-century, some of the brand’s very best is made on Portland’s waterfront. The Portland satellite brewery functions mainly as Full Sail’s R&D department and is responsible for the Brewer’s Reserve series that’s included stouts aged in whiskey barrels from Tennessee’s finest distilleries, a fresh-hopped lager and even a top-flight malt liquor. The actual brewery is only open for tours on special occasions, but you can glimpse it from the bar inside the upscale McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant overlooking the boats docked across from OMSI. The restaurant’s bartenders are surprisingly well-versed in the details of what they’re pouring. And, during happy hour, there’s a burger and fries for $3.95. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: The entire line of Full Sail beers is available, but look for whatever is seasonal, like a sweet and decadent stout aged in Four Roses whiskey barrels.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV, sessionable, sours.
5224 SE 26th Ave., 208-3416, giganticbrewing.com. 3-9 pm Monday-Friday. 2-9 pm Saturday. 2-8 pm Sunday.
I know what you’re thinking, and I agree: It’s about damn time Reed College students got a brewery within walking distance of their Southeast Portland campus. Started by Reedie Van Havig, who spent the prior 16 years brewing for the Rock Bottom chain, and former Hopworks brewer Ben Love, Gigantic Brewing has made a big impact for a brewery that hasn’t even celebrated its first birthday. Gigantic’s large but unflashy Southeast Portland location, nestled between a storage facility and a used-appliance warehouse, is a bit off the beaten path for non-Reedies, but its titular IPA has nevertheless become one of the biggest-selling beers in Portland. Every one of Gigantic’s ornate labels is drawn by various local artists, which is a detail we, as good liberal-arts students, can appreciate. MICHAEL LOPEZ.
Drink this: The Royale Belgian Ale, not so overpowering as some Belgian ales, this pale balances its fruity flavor with a bitter kick.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, food carts near, bike-friendly, beer bottled or canned.
1520 NW Bethany Blvd., Beaverton. 972-1599, goldenvalleybrewery.com. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday. 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
A few years ago, Golden Valley Brewing produced a barrel-aged ale called IPA V.S. Brut, which incorporated méthode champenoise toward the end of the brewing process. It was expensive, absolutely delicious and hasn’t been available since, which is a crying shame. But the rest of GBV’s selection is wide enough that you’ll find something to like. The IPAs are solid (hopheads will prefer the Exit 57 IPA to the widely available Chehalem Mountain IPA), the Beaverton Blonde is perfectly sessionable and Tannen Bomb, when it’s available, is one of the finest winter warmers in the state. The brewery’s newly built location near Tanasbourne feels generic, with seating only a hunchback could love, but the Angus beef comes from Golden Valley’s own ranch. The McMinnville location has a bit more charm as it’s in wine country. If you visit, be sure to inquire about that IPA V.S. Brut. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: Tannen Bomb, a malty, complex, almost fruity winter warmer, and one of the best winter ales around.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, sessionable.
Hair of the Dog
61 SE Yamhill St., 232-6585, hairofthedog.com. 11:30 am-8 pm Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday. 11:30 am-10 pm Friday.
Like Young Guns II or the video for Michael Jackson’s “Black or White,” a full accounting of Hair of the Dog’s importance requires some historical context. When Alan Sprints opened his brewery in 1993, Americans simply didn’t make barrel-aged or bottle-conditioned beers. Sprints, a culinary school grad and former Oregon Brew Crew president, found inspiration for his own version of traditional European ales on a trip to Belgium. Today, Hair of the Dog makes a slate of regular releases like Doggie Claws barleywine and Blue Dot double IPA for bottle shops and grocery stores, while reserving special releases for its taproom and an annual dock sale that finds beer lovers camped out with sleeping bags and charcoal grills to load $400 cases into Land Rovers. Sprints is a local legend and the type of guy who gets flown down to L.A. to host tastings at fancy pizzerias. Almost everything Hair of the Dog makes is impressive, even if it’s not as unique as it once was. The tasting room is a great place to sample pricey barrel-aged beers from the keg—or spring for a bottle of the 1994 vintage of Adam, 12 ounces of local history priced at $50. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: Cherry Adam From the Wood, a decadent barrel-aged version of the classic Dortmunder Adam that takes local cherries and spends more than a year in barrels.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV, sessionable, sours.
715 SE Lincoln St., 928.4195, harvesterbrewing.com. 3:30-6 pm Thursday.
Spend an hour at Harvester Brewing’s weekly tasting and you’re likely to meet staunch gluten-free evangelists who will regale you with stories of rashes cleared and heartburn cured. This is unsurprising, given that Harvester is Oregon’s only dedicated gluten-free brewery. More surprising is that, while the beers are not uniformly solid, some ain’t half bad. In place of barley, Harvester uses chestnuts, roasting them to mimic varied color profiles of barley. This gives the darker brews a slightly burnt flavor, which is particularly prominent in the Red Ale. The nutty flavor holds up better in the paler beers. Harvester doesn’t yet have a tasting room, but it rolls up its garage door for a couple hours on Thursday afternoons and sets up a table, typically manned by founders James Neumeister (who still eats wheat) and John Dugan (who doesn’t). Ask if they’ve concocted anything new. On a recent visit, I was treated to a dark ale brewed with Belgian yeasts; the fruity esters nicely complemented the beer’s smoky notes. REBECCA JACOBSON.
Drink this: Hoppy but not overpoweringly bitter, the IPA has an earthy sweetness and just a touch of creaminess.
Perks: Kids allowed, beer bottled or canned.
907 NE 10th Ave., McMinnville, 472-4898, heaterallen.com. By appointment only.
Before Heater Allen, there weren’t many Northwest Pilsners worth talking about. The classic Czech style is expensive to craft and doesn’t age well, with the best imports suffering from long journeys. And since Americans often equate them with Bud, it’s a hard niche for craft breweries to claim. But Rick Allen loved the Bohemian style enough to start making them on his own. Impressed friends told him he should produce his lagers on a larger scale, and Heater Allen was born in 2007. A few years later, Heater Allen’s lagers are regarded as some of the best in the country. The brewery itself isn’t especially visitor-friendly now, but a taproom planned for a May opening should rectify that. Meanwhile, Allen and his co-brewer (his daughter, Lisa) are still trying to keep up with the growing demand from Portland’s best restaurants and bottle shops. As clean, crisp, warm-weather beers, they’re tough to beat. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: Coastal Lager, a pristine lager with a bracing bite of Cascade hops. RateBeer.com ranks it as the best Vienna-style lager in the world.
Perks: Beer bottled or canned, sessionable.
Hillsdale Brewery & Public House (McMenamins)
1505 SW Sunset Blvd., 246-3938, mcmenamins.com. 11 am-midnight Monday-Thursday. 11 am-1 am Friday-Saturday. Noon-11 pm Sunday.
Hillsdale Brewery & Public House was the first brewery opened by the McMenamin brothers when they started making their own beer in 1985. Hillsdale may be O.G., but you know exactly what you’re going to get: eclectic décor that looks like it was picked by a hippie historical re-enactor, non-threatening pub food and a solid lineup of beers. While they’re not shy about experimenting with the bizarre (blueberries, rosemary, fig newton cookies), the McMenamins’ classic brews (Hammerhead, Ruby, Terminator) are what we always come back for. Sometimes it’s OK just to order the beer you already know you love in a familiar pub. PENELOPE BASS.
Drink this: There’s a reason the Hammerhead Ale has been one of their top sellers for 27 years. With the perfect balance of caramel maltiness and crisp hop bitterness, the Northwest pale ale is classic.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV.
Hopworks Urban Brewery
2944 SE Powell Blvd., 232-HOPS, hopworksbeer.com. 11am-11 pm Sunday-Thursday. 11 am-midnight Friday-Saturday.
Hopworks Urban Brewery is known as HUB, but it might as well be HUBBBB. First, there’s beer. But they’re also into bikes—look at the canopy of frames at the original brewpub on Southeast Powell and the fact the satellite pub on Williams is called BikeBar. Bands, of course, play a starring role at the annual Biketobeerfest. And as every mommy and daddy in town will tell you, this is the place to take your babies, as there are play areas for the kinders up- and downstairs. Brewmaster-owner Christian Ettinger points toward his studies abroad in Cologne as the wellspring for his affinity for family-oriented pubs. Having made its mark with Hopworks IPA and HUB Lager now in cans, an exciting Belgian beer program is responsible for those wax-dipped bombers now on shelves, and if you like the Belgian Apple, get pumped for the forthcoming proper dry cider for glutards and apple-heads. BRIAN YAEGER.
Drink this: Survival 7-Grain Stout. Yes, the HUB Lager and Hopworks IPA steal the show, but this oatmeal stout is one of precious few made year-round with coffee (a pound of Stumptown beans per barrel).
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, bike-friendly, beer bottled or canned.
humblebrewing.com, 753-5975. By appointment only.
A few years ago, Chad Freitag’s young son gave him a homebrewing startup kit for his birthday. Shortly thereafter, his wife put him in touch with Scott Davis, a neighbor also exploring do-it-yourself beer making. Truly, Humble Brewing had humble beginnings. And, really, it’s yet to move past them, as the men are still operating out of Freitag’s garage in University Park. If Humble isn’t the smallest brewery in Oregon—as it was in 2011, when it sold a whopping half-barrel—it’s damn close. But the name isn’t just a reference to the company’s modest size. When it comes to brewing philosophy, Freitag and Davis’ mantra is “keep it simple.” Ignoring the craft-beer world’s ongoing arms race for higher ABVs and IBUs, Humble’s focus is on sessionability, exemplified by the Chinook Pale Ale, which is delightfully citrusy and eminently drinkable. Even its IPA eschews hoppiness. Apparently, the change of pace is appreciated: With their product now in rotation at beer-nerd dens like Saraveza and Bailey’s Taproom, Freitag and Davis predict producing about 70 barrels this year. For them, that counts as booming business. MATTHEW SINGER.
Drink this: The Saaz Saison, an indulgence of the brewmasters’ love of Belgian yeasts, and Humble’s most popular beer.
Perks: Rares, sessionable
Kells Brew Pub
210 NW 21st Ave., 719-7175, kellsbrewpub.com. 11:30 am-2 am Monday-Friday. 9 am-2 am Saturday-Sunday.
While a shrine to St. Patrick hangs on the rear wall, the patron saint of Kells has always been soused Irish poet Dylan Thomas. At night, the Irish-owned bar froths over with blitzed, bro-heavy Timbers green. But Dylan Thomas, like many a Kells patron, favored hard booze over beer, and only the pub’s stalwarts are yet aware Kells now hosts a four-leaf clover of house brews, despite the steampunk display of beer vats visible from the bar. During the day and early evening, the burnished-wood, stone-hearthed brewpub is calm, family-friendly and downright attractive—Lord knows their cleaning crews must be efficient—but the months-old brewery is still a work in progress. Their Irish Red is perfectly passable, if a bit syrupy, but the Irish Lager has an uncomfortably metallic or even ammoniac aftertaste. The Irish Pale tastes hollow to the point of existential vertigo, yielding to a thin nettle of hops at the tip of the tongue. Give them a little time to sort these brews out. MATTHEW KORFHAGE
Drink this: Irish Red, though gingerly.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, rares.
Kennedy School (McMenamins)
5736 NE 33rd Ave., 249-3983. mcmenamins.com. 7 pm-1 am daily.
Kennedy School is what happens when the adults kick the kids off the playground. The sprawling converted school has a hotel, restaurant, five bars, a movie theater and brewery, though the best part is the alcohol-friendly saltwater soaking pool, accessible to non-guests for $5. Sleepy McMenamins standards like the Ruby Ale and Hammerhead are available at all the bars, but go for the unique offerings from Concordia Brewery, located in the former girls’ restroom. Freshmen, beware: Drinking more than a few beers can be extremely disorienting because the signs haven’t been changed since the academic era. MITCH LILLIE.
Drink this: Any seasonal or special brew.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV.
5115 NE Sandy Blvd., 282-0622, laurelwoodbrewpub.com. 11 am-10 pm Monday-Thursday. 11 am-11 pm Friday. 10 am-11 pm Saturday. 10 am-10 pm Sunday.
Since brewing their first batch in 2001, husband-and-wife team Mike De Kalb and Cathy Woo-De Kalb have made Laurelwood into a local success story. The couple made Oregon’s first certified organic beer and its suds—available in bottles but often better on tap—are practically everywhere in Portland. Laurelwood hasn’t slipped into complacency, even if its flagship Hollywood location, all wood-paneled booths, heaps of merch and loud children, feels a bit like Applebee’s. By collaborating with Portland Roasting on a rich and chocolaty espresso stout (one of the city’s better coffee beers) and unleashing its house brewers to craft fresh takes on pale ales (the recent Jean-Claude Van Pale used Belgian yeasts for a pleasant fruitiness), this brewery isn’t resting on its laurels. With two locations at PDX Airport functioning like little embassies of alcohol, Laurelwood both welcomes visitors to this city and bids them a malty adieu. REBECCA JACOBSON.
Drink this: The Workhorse IPA lives up to its name. At 7.5 percent ABV, it’ll get you plenty sauced, but it’s also got an impressive balance of piny resin and citrusy tang.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV, high-hops.
29380 NE Owls Lane, Newberg, 349-8341, longbrewing.com. By appointment only.
Engineers make great brewers. Retired electrical engineer Paul Long is another example of this. After a string of impressive wins at homebrew competitions—he received one of the American Homebrewers Association’s top honors, the Ninkasi Award, for his Vienna-style Lager and Kölsch—he took five gold-medal recipes into commercial production. Long makes seven different beers on a three-and-a-half-barrel, all-steam system of his own design. Long’s bestseller is the IPA, possibly followed by Paul’s Porter. “I call it that not because I’m vain, but because it’s not to style, but it’s exactly the way I like it.” Completely self-distributed, Long’s beers are found in high-end outlets, including the Painted Lady in Newberg and Portland boutiques such as Pastaworks and Cheese Bar. BRIAN YAEGER.
Drink this: Paul’s Porter goes beyond the limits of a classic porter without venturing into a chocolate or Imperial porter with amped-up roast quality and alcohol kick. The prodigious cocoa and coffee notes result purely from his selection of 11 malts.
Perks: Beer bottled or canned, rares.
1945 NW Quimby St., 517-4352, luckylab.com. 11 am-11 pm Monday-Wednesday. 11 am-midnight Thursday-Saturday. Noon-10 pm Sunday.
The Lucky Lab Beer Hall—the largest of this popular local label’s four outposts—is a great gathering place if you have a lot of friends, and if none of those friends is particularly picky. Built in a former warehouse, it has all the hallmarks of a beloved Portland bar: long, nicked wooden tables; bike racks inside and out; vibrant, eclectic art; and a gracious patio that welcomes furry, four-legged pals. Unfortunately, the Lab’s standard pub menu of pizza and sandwiches tends to disappoint, and the beer is inconsistent. A dazzlingly long, ever-changing beer list seems promising, but the Scottish Holiday proved sickly sweet and a wheat stout was downright strange. Meet here for a round of darts and a shared pitcher, then bark up other trees. ADRIENNE SO.
Drink this: The Copperopolis on cask. It tastes like a completely different beer than the carbonated version—warm, mild and slightly sweet.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, bike-friendly, beer bottled or canned, rares, high-ABV.
The Mash Tun Brew Pub
2204 NE Alberta St., 548-4491, themashtunbrewpub.com. Noon-midnight Monday-Thursday. Noon-1 am Friday-Saturday. 10 am-midnight Sunday.
Positioned along Alberta’s main drag, Mash Tun started out in 2005 as a wood-paneled, high-ceilinged faux college bar experimenting with a few housemade drafts. Mirroring the neighborhood’s evolution, the brewery has come into its own, as a haven for thirtysomethings who’ve grown out of dives but still enjoy throwing back a pint and shooting pool now and then. So, too, has the beer selection. Initially reliant on guest taps and a standard rotation of housemade reds and pale ales, the brewery, which boasts of running its three-and-a-half-barrel system completely on renewable energy, has begun dabbling in more complex recipes, including the light German-style Meister Bock and the 80 Shilling Scottish Ale, a leathery, medium-bodied ale made with imported fuggle hops—not the name of an obscure British Invasion band, but a bittering agent that lends the brew earthy flavors. MATTHEW SINGER.
Drink this: The Penfold Porter, an aromatic mash-up of hops from America and Germany.
Perks: Dogs allowed, food carts near, rares.
Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub
12562 SW Main St., Tigard. 624-9400, maxsfannocreekbrewpub.com. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday. 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
You might not catch Tigard’s downtown, which runs parallel and below Highway 99, unless you’re on your way to wine country. This literally overlooked district’s bright spot is Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub, an inviting establishment nestled right up against Fanno Creek. It’s family-friendly (kids get video-game consoles and a play area), and the beer selection includes a dry-hopped red ale and a wheaty golden ale cheekily named the Reverend’s Daughter. There are heavier options, too, including Ivan the Imperial IPA and seasonal offerings. Everything is solid, if not quite spectacular, but Max’s has what suburbanites want and makes a refreshing stop along the Fanno Creek Trail. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: The X IPA, a well-balanced and citrusy IPA that doesn’t break the mold, but fills it out well.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, bike-friendly, rares, high-hops.
2828 NE Glisan St., 206-5221, migrationbrewing.com. 11-midnight Monday-Saturday. 11 am-10 pm Sunday.
Since opening in 2010, Migration Brewing has tried to be a little of everything. The unassuming and nondescript brewpub on Glisan was opened by Lucky Labrador alum and follows that company’s community center-style approach to tavern-keeping. The brewery takes pride in its lack of pretension, proudly posting testimonials from various organizations who’ve held meetings there and blog posts with context about every Blazers game to be broadcast on its screens. Few beers in its regular rotation will impress snobs, but, for the commoner, the menu is more accessible than most. That’s not to say brewmaster Mike Branes is afraid to stretch: The Migrator Series rotates experimental single-batch beers made with “unique ingredients” and “off-the-wall yeasts.” On a recent visit, the featured beer was the Lord Dark Helmet, a German black beer Americanized by Northwest hops and, we’re assuming, a liberal smattering of the Schwartz. MATTHEW SINGER.
Drink this: Terry’s Porter. Smoky and sweet with smooth, subtle coffee flavorings, it should appeal to folks who normally dislike dark beers. (Also, kudos on the basketball reference.)
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, bike-friendly, high-ABV.
113 W 9th St., Vancouver, 360-696-5521, mttaborbrewing.com. 4-8 pm Thursday. 4 pm-close Friday.
Mt. Tabor Brewing brewmaster Eric Surface knows what a
pain in the ass it is to get from Portland to downtown Vancouver on a
Friday night, one of only two times a week his homey tasting room is
open to the public. He also knows Mount Tabor—the hill—is actually in
Oregon. Yet he wants you to come visit anyway. Opened in Portland in
2009, Mt. Tabor Brewing moved from its origins on Southeast Stark Street
to its current, cheaper Vancouver digs (Surface is a native of the
’Couve) and mainly sticks to the styles that put Pacific Northwest craft
beer on the map. The Bike Lane IPA utilizes fewer hops while the
Butch’s Angry Beaver ESB combines Northwest hops with English malts—two
beers that Mt. Tabor will tell you are worth the wait in traffic.
Drink this: Bike Lane IPA, purposely stylized at the brewery as an IPA, utilizes subtle hops to intrigue and satiate even the staunchest of IPA detractors.
Perks: Kids allowed, rares, high-ABV, high-hops.
87304 E Government Camp Loop Road, Government Camp. 272-0102. iceaxegrill.com/mthoodbrewco.php. 11:30 am-9 pm daily.
Sitting on the western edge of the mountain village of Government Camp, a winter visit to Mt. Hood Brewing is easiest with a Sno-Park pass and tire chains. Is it worth it? Well, reviews of the brewery, which opened in 1991, making it one of the state’s older brewpubs, have traditionally been strong—perhaps owing partly to the majestic surroundings. But everything from the barleywine to the pale ale seemed dull and overly smoky, with the flavors of the Cloud Cap Amber and Ice Axe IPA on cask offering a blunt-edged roastiness. A $14.25 fish taco plate with two tacos and a pile of bagged corn chips seemed overpriced even by resort-town standards. The beer is brewed with glacier water and everyone is quite friendly, but you’ll do just as well eating up at the lodge. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: The mildly sweet Meadow Blonde which, at only 3.8 percent ABV, is fine for drinking before getting back on the lift.
Perks: Kids allowed, rares, high-ABV, high-hops.
1321 NE Couch St., 971-678-7116, natianbrewery.com. By appointment only.
Natian founder Ian McGuinness decided to start a nanobrewery with his girlfriend, Natalia, naming the brewery Natian in Brangelina fashion. Cute—except they’re no longer an item. McGuinness started by brewing 320 pints at a time on a tiny one-and-a-third-barrel system inside an industrial space in the facility for his day gig at a bottling company. He recently upsized to a 10-barrel system, which explains why Natian’s pint cans are popping up in more places. While Ian makes other beers, his focus is on Indias: Everyday, Oxymoronic Organic, Elephante, CuDA and Old Grogham Imperial. Occasionally, he lightens things up with Undun Blonde Ale and a beer called Hint o’ Mint that’s brewed with spearmint and honey. BRIAN YAEGER.
Drink this: Undun Blonde Ale is on the hoppy side for a style that’s often frightfully bland. The nice, light body allows the citric lemony goodness to carry the flavor beyond chewing hay.
Perks: Beer bottled or canned, rares.
6635 N Baltimore Ave., 719-7102, occidentalbrewing.com. 4-8 pm Wednesday-Thursday. 3-8 pm Friday. Noon-8 pm Saturday. Noon-6 pm Sunday.
In a town where breweries have made beer with oyster-bed salt (Burnside), tomatillo (Breakside) and even grilled beef hearts (Upright), Occidental distinguishes itself by brewing only traditional German styles. While Occidental doesn’t have to abide by the Reinheitsgebot beer purity law, the styles you’ll find in the brewery’s brightly lit, kid-friendly St. Johns taproom remain traditional: hefeweizen with welcome banana notes, a refreshing Kölsch, a chocolaty dunkel. In winter, look for the dunkelweizen, a rich and satisfying dark-wheat beer that made it onto WW’s top 10 list last year. Occidental pours half-liters but its taproom is pint-sized: The four tables quickly become communal, with overflow patrons sitting cross-legged on the concrete floor as their toddlers build woodblock walls around them. REBECCA JACOBSON.
Drink this: The spicy, aromatic Alt. Most of Occidental’s recipes call for just one or two malts, but the Alt uses a half-dozen to get its complexity.
Perks: Beer bottled or canned.
Old Market Pub
6959 SW Multnomah Blvd., Garden Home, 244-2337, drinkbeerhere.com. 11 am-midnight Monday-Thursday. 11 am-1 am Friday. 9 am-1 am Saturday. 9 am-midnight Sunday.
Andy Bigley and his wife, Shelly, learned how to operate a neighborhood-centric, family-oriented brewpub during their years at McMenamins. Inside their own ginormous 15,000-square-foot compound, an old produce market and cannery, families and sports fans find ample tables, drinking games—including pool and shuffleboard—and Oregon Lottery video poker. (Don’t let the kiddies play in that part.) Brewer Tomas Sluiter came aboard a decade ago and tightened up the recipes and is known to make some great festival beers like Cherried Alive, the surprise hit of last year’s Oregon Brewers Festival. But while hopheads will enjoy Bombay IPA and chili-heads need to try Hot Tamale, the liquid star here is Mr. Toad’s Wild Red Ale. Can’t be bothered to trek out to Garden Home? Try the same beers and menu at Broadway Grill & Brewery, even though it doesn’t have its own brewery…yet. BRIAN YAEGER.
Drink this: Hop On is devoid of a classic style but, at 5 percent ABV yet 87 IBU, fits the bill of a “Northwest Ale” that’s got great body and is opulently perfumed with hops. Even Arrested Development fans can’t steer clear of this Hop On.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, rares, high-hops.
Old Town Pizza
5201 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 200-5988, oldtownpizza.com. 11:30 am-10 pm Sunday-Wednesday. 11:30 am-11 pm Thursday-Saturday.
Beer and pizza go together like milk and cookies…or beer and cookies, because who wants milk when you can have beer? But while you might think any old draft would go fine with your slice, it takes a bold beer to stand up to pepperoni and marinara. Luckily, Old Town Pizza has it dialed. Tossing pies since 1974, Old Town opened its Northeast location in 2008 and started brewing in 2012. The beer lineup—which includes all the standard styles—trends toward the hoppy end of the spectrum, with even the wheat beer possessing more of a bite than you’d normally expect. But when dining on a pesto pizza topped with garlic and feta, it’s nice to have a beer you can still taste. PENELOPE BASS.
Drink this: The IPA—super aromatic and flavorful, it’ll stand up to even the most garlic-laden pie.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, rares.
Philadelphia’s Cheese Steaks and Brewpub
6410 SE Milwaukie Ave., 239-8544, phillypdx.com. 9 am-10 pm Monday-Thursday. 9 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday. 9 am-8 pm Sunday.
For most of its history, Sellwood’s Philadelphia’s has been known for big, greasy sandwiches served alongside imported Tastykakes and week-old copies of the Inquirer. A cavalcade of half-interested brewers have manned the tiny system since owner Steve Moore started brewing in-house in 1994, producing a product drinkers of the era will describe charitably as “inconsistent.” Quietly, though, things have rounded into shape. For the past two years, the shop’s impressive brews have been one of the city’s best-kept secrets. The biggest problem now is insufficient stock—we were teased with an excellent sour Belgian-style ale that kicked before we could get a pint, leaving us to pick from a mild pale or a wonderfully fruity wheat. This problem will soon be solved. Given the continued push for more local beer, Moore has finally decided to invest in a full-size brewhouse with a huge tasting room and a separate kitchen. It’s slated to open just after our deadline, but we’re stoked for the expansion two decades in the making. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: The clean and mildly fruity wheat ale, which pairs well with a pizza-steak sandwich.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, rares, sours.
412 NW 5th Ave., 564-2739, pintsbrewing.com. 11:30 am-11 pm Monday-Friday. 3-11 pm Saturday.
A fitting name for a micro-sized brewery, Pints manages to churn out an impressive array of brews on an adorable three-and-a-half-barrel brew system. Opened just last year, the Old Town brewery focuses on “old-school Northwest” and British-inspired ales, and at any given time offers 10 different styles on tap. The Seismic IPA is bright and bitter enough to satisfy hop lovers, while the Harvest Gold is a perfect starter beer for newbies. The benefit of brewing on a small system is that it makes experimentation easy, and brewer Patrick Wadkins seems open to creating some more unique one-offs like the Funky Monk Dubbel. Swing by for happy hour when pints are $3 and there’s likely to be something new and interesting on the menu. PENELOPE BASS.
Drink this: Black Pearl Cascadian Dark Ale. I wasn’t sure what to expect from vague CDA style, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, food carts near, rares, high-hops.
Portland Brewing Company
2730 NW 31st Ave., 228-5269, portlandbrewing.com. 11 am-9 pm Monday. 11 am-10 pm Tuesday-Thursday. 11 am-11 pm Friday. Noon-11 pm Saturday. Noon-9 pm Sunday.
You’re unlikely to find yourself swinging through the Portland Brewing Company tasting room on a whim. At 5 pm its industrial neighborhood rolls up the sidewalks, leaving few cars, much less people, on the streets. Known as MacTarnahan’s until earlier this year, Portland Brewing was bought by Pyramid in 2004. Regulars will recognize holdovers like a wooden sign reading “Mac’s Table” with a bell attached. This brewery is still the local master of the amber ale, and while the MacTarnahan’s standard amber is still available, the unfiltered, brewery-exclusive Pyramid Alehouse Amber Ale is far better. Wheat is a language they speak well: PBC’s Berliner Weiss loses sharp edge as it warms a little, and the nitrogenated Weiss Cream is elegant and light while offering strong orange notes on the nose. MITCH LILLIE.
Drink this: Pyramid Alehouse Amber Ale, an amber with such an explosive coffee aftertaste it’s hard to believe there’s no coffee added.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned.
Portland U-Brew & Pub
6237 SE Milwaukie Ave., 943-2727, portlandubrewandpub.com. 11 am- 8 pm Tuesday-Wednesday. 11 am- 9 pm Thursday. 11 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday. 11 am-6 pm Sunday.
Most Portland homebrew shops are licensed breweries for clerical reasons: They’re free to show off their products or offer on-premises customers a pint to kill time while their wort boils. The tavern at Sellwood’s Portland U-Brew goes far enough to actually count as a brewpub in its own right. Not much further, though. Mismatched furnishings and a menu of grilled sandwiches ($4.95 for cheese, $5.95 for ham and cheese) give PUB the vibe of a divorcee’s apartment. Yet the beers are above average and the brewers and bartenders are excited to talk through every detail of any offering. Ultimately, it’s an effective showroom: You admire and inquire, they make highly skilled manual labor sound so easy and fun. Next thing you know, you’re in the shop next door holding a carboy and a few vials of yeast. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: The recipes are in constant flux given the nature of the business, but look for the grapefruit IPA, which uses fruit pulp as a bittering agent along with citrusy hops.
Perks: Food carts near, rares, high-ABV, sessionable.
Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub (Cascade)
7424 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Highway, 296-0110, raclodge.com. 11:30 am-10 pm Monday-Saturday. 11:30 am-9 pm Sunday.
You’ve probably seen Raccoon Lodge, a family-friendly public house perched west of Southwest Scholls Ferry Road on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. It has a massive sign you can’t miss, especially since it looks like it’s promoting a warehouse-sized strip club. You might be surprised to learn The ’Coon houses one of the world’s most innovative breweries, Cascade, and it’s owned by Art Larrance, one of the city’s brewing pioneers. The spacious upstairs lodge is family-friendly, but don’t expect quick service. The downstairs pub, where kids aren’t allowed, is vastly preferable, with a timely and knowledgeable service staff. The food is mediocre either way. No matter, though, because you should be here for beer. Only two of Cascade’s storied sours are available at any given time (though there are plans to add one or two in the coming months), but the rest of the selection is enough to make it the best brewery west of the Willamette. The sours and Oblique series are the marquee names, but even traditional styles are well-crafted. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: Any of the sours, or any of the Oblique series.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, rares, high-ABV, sours.
Ram Restaurant & Brewery
11860 SE 82nd Ave., Suite 3050, Happy Valley, 659-1282, theram.com. 11 am-close daily.
In places like Rosemont, Ill., and Meridian, Idaho, a chain brewpub like Ram can be a local treasure. But Ram International outposts in the parking lot of the Clackistani mall and around the corner from the Wilsonville Burger King just blend into the scenery in well-beered Portland. Ram and its subsidiary, Big Horn Brewing, brew six flagship beers at every location, from here to Indiana, allowing its brewmasters to tweak the recipes to their liking. Those beers don’t go out of their way to impress, but remain enjoyable. Don’t expect dry-hopped, crystal-malted über-beer, but the pub does sell drinkable, no-nonsense beers that won’t put a dent in your wallet. MICHAEL LOPEZ.
Drink this: Big Horn Blonde, a surprisingly smooth, sessionable golden ale.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, rares, sessionable.
206 SW Morrison St., 796-BREW, rockbottom.com. 11 am-11 pm Sunday-Thursday. 11 am-midnight Friday-Saturday.
Yes, Portland’s outpost of this national chain of brewpubs owned by CraftWorks (not to be confused with Kraftwerk) makes the company’s same four core styles: Cologne-style Kölsch, Belgian-style white ale, red ale and IPA. But it’s not all one-size-fits-all. This Rock Bottom is the only location brewing with hop leaves instead of pelletized hops, and while all the breweries have at least one dark beer on tap, brewer Charlie Hutchins chose to make his a hopped-to-the-hilt CDA. CraftWorks’ only direction for the other three of its eight taps is that whatever the house brewer makes should sell. The clientele is heavily business folks at lunch and vacationing families, so you might find an Imperial IPA or, in the winter, a Coffee Stout. BRIAN YAEGER.
Drink this: Hutchins Northwest-ifies Rock Bottom’s requisite dark ale by making his a Cascadian Dark Ale, a very satisfying amalgam of American hops, including whole Centennials and roasted malts, that still leans chocolaty.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, rares.
Salmon Creek Brewery/Old Ivy Tap Room
108 W Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver, 360-993-1827, bb.averad.com. Noon-10 pm Monday-Thursday. Noon-11 pm Friday. 4-11 pm Saturday.
First, the good news about Salmon Creek Brewery, now tinkering with the name “Old Ivy Tap Room”: The downtown Vancouver brewpub’s restroom smells wonderful. Now, the bad news: The main tasting room sometimes smells like a restroom. Some of the house beers, which in the past several months included a toasty Oktoberfest and below-average pale ale, are serviceable. The brewery, which opened in 1994 and was sold last year, is next to and now owned by the ’Couve’s best bottle shop, By the Bottle, which sells a number of beers not available south of the Columbia. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: Guest taps have lots of exciting offerings available in Washington but not Oregon.
Perks: Kids allowed, food carts near, rares.
6440 SW Capitol Highway, 402-1999, sasquatchbrewery.com. 3-11 pm Monday-Thursday. Noon-midnight Friday-Saturday. Noon-9 pm Sunday.
As the rest of the city blossomed into a food and brewing mecca, Portland’s most affluent quadrant became depressingly irrelevant during the last decade. For Southwest Portlanders, finding a decent bite means at least a five-mile trip, often across the river. Fortunately, Sasquatch Brewing is one of the first steps in rectifying that malaise. Sunk off Capitol Highway on Hillsdale’s west end, Sasquatch serves up an impressive array of in-house brews, guest taps and ciders. The food is even better, with seasonal burgers among the best I’ve had and a “small plate” of fried chicken and fingerling potatoes that is definitely not small. The space, while decked in warm woods and tasteful Portland nostalgia, is a bit cramped when it’s too cold for the patio, but that’s nitpicking. Here’s hoping Sasquatch is around for a while and helps lead a renaissance of these forgotten hills. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: The Red Electric IRA is a strong take on a ho-hum style.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, bike-friendly, rares, high-ABV, sessionable.
shortsnoutbrewing.com. Not open to the public.
Named after a pair of pugs owned by brewmaster Brian VanOrnum, Milwaukie’s Short Snout is basically a homebrew setup with an OLCC license. The tiny brewery inside VanOrnum’s residence churns out one beer at a time according to its master’s whim. Since late 2011, Snout’s been selling kegs to EastBurn, Hawthorne Hophouse, Sellwood Public House and Vintage Cocktail, among others. Recently, that included a full-bodied stout and a bitter, heady Dank Nugs wet-hops amber. A blonde and a Cascadian dark ale are expected in spring of 2013, but VanOrnum says he’s eager to get back to what he considers his bread and butter: mixed, fruity beers like a vanilla jasmine blonde and a blackberry porter. There’s no public space, so anyone looking to find brew must check the brewery’s Twitter (@ShortSnoutBrew) or Facebook (facebook.com/ShortSnoutBrewing) for brews clues. MATTHEW KORFHAGE
Drink this: You take what they give you, bucky. This beer line’s single-file.
40 N State St., Lake Oswego, 344-4449 stickmenbeer.com. 11:30 am-9 pm Sunday-Thursday. 11:30 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
Give Stickmen this: The Lake Oswego brewpub-themed pub has the most extensive selection of sake and shochu you’ll see in a brewery, along with a serious wine list capped by a $105 bottle of California merlot. (Don’t be intimidated, it’s only $49 at local wine shops.) What Stickmen doesn’t have much of after nearly a year in business? Its own beer. Offered an extensive list of offerings from New Belgium, we had to cajole a waiter who used the word “mouthfeel” three times in one minute to bring us something made in-house. Opening with a failed Kickstarter bid for a “Founder’s Club” that, for $2,000, offered a free pint every day in a “special glass reserved for Founder’s Club members,” this tone-deaf brewery seems like a hard sell even on the shores of a privately controlled public lake in the center of Oregon’s wealthiest city. The best feature of the vaguely Tudor building (empty on my visit) is a large patio with a fire pit and a view of three-story condominiums. The beer Stickmen does make is not good. Calibration pale ale, bready pale with a little grapefruit, was the best. But I’d stick with sake. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: There are a lot of very nice guest taps from other Portland breweries.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer canned or bottled.
711 SW Ankeny St., 226-2508, www.d2m.com/Tugwebsite/. 5-10 pm Monday. 4 pm-midnight Tuesday-Thursday. 4 pm-1 am Friday. 5 pm-1 am Saturday.
The Tug is perhaps the most mysterious, misunderstood and maligned brewery in Beervana. Mysterious because almost no one knows about it despite its prominent location around the corner from Mary’s Club, only a block off Burnside. Misunderstood because when customers walk in and see 18 taps dominated by guest offerings, they might not understand this is a brewery. Maligned because beer geeks—“the beer sniffers” as founder Megan McEnroe-Nelson calls them—huddle just across the alley in Bailey’s Taproom refusing to intermingle with Tugboat’s devoted clientele. Still, Tugboat effortlessly exudes a comfortable and convivial atmosphere: stacks of old books; well-worn board games; cool jazz raining down from the speakers, enabling conversations to remain audible; and a thin trickle of patrons with whom you’d actually want to converse. BRIAN YAEGER.
Drink this: True to its name, Chernobyl is a “double Imperial” stout and mutates between 13 and 14 percent ABV. No visit is replete without trying this viscous, leathery number fit for a Romanov—though it comes one half-pint at a time.
Perks: Food carts near, rares, high-ABV.
14841 SW Tualatin Sherwood Road, Sherwood. 625-1700, twokiltsbrewing.com. 3-10 pm Monday-Saturday.
If you think of Scotch ales only as a slight step up from Newcastle Brown Ale, Two Kilts has something to show you. Northwest brewers have generally avoided the style, but Chris Dillon and Alex McGaw have crafted a Wee Heavy with surprising intricacy, abandoning traditional heather in favor of smokier peat. The rest of the selection is strong, including a Double IPA that rivals Oregon’s best. Two Kilts’ taproom is a treat as well—an unusually cozy industrial park space with the rich aromas of the brewing process wafting through the open room. There’s a distinctly neighborhood feel about the place, and Sherwood residents have embraced their lone brewery with open arms. Dillon and McGaw chose to settle in this far-flung suburb because of its proximity to wine country and coastal travelers, a strategy that seems to be paying dividends. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: Scotch Ale, a tasty, nuanced rendition of a traditionally boring style that should win some awards.
Perks: Rares, high-ABV.
240 N Broadway, Suite 2, 735-5337, uprightbrewing.com. 4:30-9 pm Friday. 1-6 pm Saturday-Sunday. 6 pm to tipoff before Blazers home games.
Upright began as a straightforward farmhouse-slanting brewery shoehorned into the basement of the Leftbank Building. It’s since gone far beyond its four core beers, taking its affinity for jazz to some next-level stuff by improvising dozens of rare beers often riffed as part of the Sole Composition series. Pop down into the tasting room during weekend hours (or face the crush of a Blazers pregame crowd) to see, taste and listen to live blues where the magic happens—it’s part bunker, part beer cave. What you’ll find on draft may entail local fruits such as boysenberries, beers matured in any type of spent cask including gin barrels, or maybe actual animal bits like oysters or beef hearts. Yes, beef hearts in beer. Fear not, the simple Engelberg Pilsner contains no offal. If you can find a bottle of Fantasia, made to resemble a peche lambic, it’s awfully good. BRIAN YAEGER.
Drink this: For something new and exotic, look to the Sole Composition series as well as the Tribute series honoring local brewers, most recently Blend Edmunds, comprising barrel-aged versions of Four (saison) and Six (rye saison) with added fruit and wild yeast for a result that’s approachably tart.
Perks: Beer bottled or canned, high-ABV, sessionable, sours.
21420 NW Nicholas Court, Suite D-7, Hillsboro, 645-6644, vertigobrew.com. 4-8 pm Wednesday-Friday. Noon-6 pm Saturday.
While Vertigo’s beer titling might be more appropriate to Blizzard flavors, this humble Hillsboro upstart has built a considerable reputation in Portland beer circles. The lack of pretension from these former Intel employees is especially refreshing. Standouts like Razz Wheat (a rich man’s version of McMenamins’ Ruby) and Apricot Cream Ale are as good as fruit beers get short of turning sour. The worst thing about Vertigo’s clean and well-lit tap room is finding it, as it’s tucked back in an industrial park just east of Cornelius Pass Road. Vertigo isn’t reinventing the wheel here, but what they do, they do well. Homebrewers, take note: Vertigo is a quarter-mile from Brew Brothers, a homebrew shop with plans to open a brewery of its own. Ronler Acres may soon be known for more than just microchips. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: Arctic Blast, a lightly hopped, burly porter brewed with Madagascar vanilla bean.
Perks: Dogs allowed, beer bottled or canned, rares, high-hops.
240 1st St., Stevenson, Wash., 509-427-5520. 4-9 pm Wednesday-Thursday. 3-9 pm Friday-Saturday. 3-8 pm Sunday.
Although it’s about 45 minutes east of Portland in Stevenson, Wash., Walking Man Brewing has long been a favorite among in-the-know Portland drinkers. With a rotating selection of 50-plus recipes, there’s sure to be something to intrigue at any given time. The Flip Flop Pils has a sweet honey aroma and crisp, bitter finish—a perfect post-hike beverage. The Black Cherry Stout is dessert in a glass, and the Tar Heeler smoked black lager is like drinking a cigar—an acquired taste. So should you find yourself coming back from a trip to the Gorge or just jonesing to get out of town, Walking Man is worth a visit. But you might want to make plans for the night, because after the 40-ounce taster tray you won’t even be standing, let alone walking. PENELOPE BASS.
Drink this: The Knuckledragger American Strong Ale, supposedly more than 100 IBUs, because you already drove almost an hour, so why the fuck not?
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, rares, high-ABV, high-hops.
929 N Russell St., 281-2437, widmerbrothers.com. 11 am-10:30 pm Sunday-Thursday. 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
A brewery doesn’t establish itself as a marquee name in one of the country’s pre-eminent beer cities by luck and happenstance. No, Widmer Brothers worked hard and smart to burnish its reputation for consistency and ingenuity. Yes, the excitement once generated by everything Widmer does has waned as Portland has filled with up-and-coming craft breweries. However, Widmer’s beers, many of them honoring the family’s German heritage, have a workmanlike polish that’s helped secure their widespread popularity. What’s most fascinating about Widmer, perhaps, is how the first beer brothers Rob and Kurt ever brewed—an Alt—still holds a place amid the myriad styles they brew now. MICHAEL LOPEZ.
Drink this: Doppelbock, while 8.5 percent ABV, is a well-balanced beer that finishes clean and crisp, thanks to its use of lager yeast.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, bike-friendly, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV.