Portland brewery tour operator Brewvana recently ran a media tour that stopped at five of new or and in-the-works breweries. Many local brewers are building their reputations on exotic, sometimes esoteric brews but not the first stop on the tour, Pints Brewing Co., where brewmaster Zach Beckwith's brewing program strives to be a throw-back to the golden age of microbrewing.

He sounds like a college basketball coach, preaching complete mastery of the fundamentals. "Other menus look more like a soup list than a beer list,” he said.

Located in Old Town less than half a mile from the other downtown brewpubs Deschutes and Rogue (and Tugboat! Everyone always forgets Tugboat!), Pints has been operating as an "urban taproom" for about a year now. As of last week, Zach is firing up the brew kettle.

The first beer he poured for guests was actually the Oregon Special Bitter he concocted at his former post at Lompoc. A riff on a classic ESB (Extra Special Bitter), it'll be known at Pints as Pints Tavern Ale. At 4.2% ABV, it's quite sessionable. Enjoy your first pint of Pints by the end of March*.

In contrast, The Commons Brewery (nee Beetje), which happens to be another tour stop, recently opened its small tasting room at SE Stephens and 10th. Its debut in bottles happens March 24 at high noon.

The first bottles released will be Brotherly Love, “A variation of our Little Brother Belgian dark strong ale... matured in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels with red tart cherries and roasted Peruvian cocoa nibs.”
There will only be 150 bottles on sale so expect a quickly dispersing line. No use waiting in line for a beer that's already sold out, right?

Other Oregon Brewing news:

Stickmen “brewery and skewery,” which first caught our eye on The Oregonian's Beer Here and was elaborated on by The New School Beer Blog, will have grilled food and beer brewed from locally sourced ingredients in a massive restaurant on Lake Oswego.

If you're sick of brand new breweries or ones within walking or biking distance, spend St. Paddy's Day somewhere truly green—the Gorge—and hop on that Brewvana bus (its name is Angel) for a ride out to Hood River to celebrate one of our favorite Oregon breweries, Double Mountain—purveyors of our favorite IPA—for their fifth anniversary (that almost qualifies them as veterans). While revered for their beer and hailed for their pizza, taking center stage at the party will be a live performance by the Meat Puppets.