2020 Aloclek Drive, Suite 107, Hillsboro, 971-222-3434, brewbrothers.biz.
Brew Brothers claims to have the widest selection of brewing equipment in Oregon, and we buy their claim. Shelves are neatly stocked with even the most obscure ingredients. A substantial book selection covers everything from wine to home-distilling—technically still against federal law—while their expertise is on display at Three Mugs Brewing next store, which tapped its first beers just as this guide was going to press.
F.H. STEINBART CO.
234 SE 12th Ave., 232-8793, fhsteinbart.com.
Established in 1918, inner Southeast's F.H. Steinbart is the oldest homebrew store in the country. Today, it's a destination for the most and least experienced brewers. The regular retail space—well-stocked with books and kombucha kits—isn't especially large, and there's no keg to congregate around. However, you get a great view of the massive stockroom housing pieces and parts for the pros. It's quite a sight, though not especially romantic. As the clerk says: "At a certain level, brewing becomes plumbing."
6550 N Interstate Ave., 286-0343, homebrewexchange.net.
Kenton's Homebrew Exchange is a renovated shop featuring a cheerful staff that measures out grain and teaches fermentation courses both basic (Homebrewing 101, mozzarella-making) and serious (how to propagate your own wild yeast). It has the feel of a neighborhood hardware store, with limited selection but plenty of soul.
THE HOPPY BREWER
328 N Main Ave., Gresham, 328-8474, oregonshoppyplace.com.
Gresham is not always a hoppy place, but this down-to-earth store, where bearded regulars cozy up to rows of bulk hops, does its best to remedy that the shop includes a welcoming attached bar, serving housemade brew from a team that includes a chef and astrophysicist.
8235 SE Stark St., 256-0205, letsbrew.net.
Along with equipment and ingredients, Let's Brew (page 47) has a nice little setup for onsite brewing. Unlike the larger U-Brew setup, you can make yourself as little as one case, for less than $100. The helpful shopkeeper is happy to offer assistance.
23596 NW Clara Lane, Hillsboro, 648-4254, mainbrew.com.
Mainbrew experienced a substantial location change in 2010, moving from 1,000 square feet in downtown Hillsboro to 4,000 square feet in an industrial park north of Highway 26. By the end of February the operation plans to grow again, opening a 30-tap pub and restaurant decorated with reclaimed barnwood.
PORTLAND U-BREW & PUB
6237 SE Milwaukie Ave., 943-2727, portlandubrewandpub.com.
An attached pub sets the tone at this fraternal Sellwood supply shop, which gets busy on weekends. The pub and a large supply shop share get separate doors upstairs while the basement houses copper kettles for the onsite brewing operation.
6620 SW Scholls Ferry Road, 336-4783, uptownmarketpdx.com.
Uptown Market started brewing its own beer this year to go with an excellent taproom and bottle selection. It also remains a good source of homebrewing essentials. It won't make you forget about Steinbart, but it's open much later (9 or 10 pm most nights), helping homebrewers fix those fuckups that always happen after regular business hours.