1. Hammer & Stitch
2377 NW Wilson St., 971-254-8982, hsbrew.co. 11:30 am-8 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 11:30 am-9 pm Friday-Saturday, 11:30 am-7 pm Sunday.
A visit to the Hammer & Stitch taproom will remind you of an earlier era of craft beer, when breweries often popped up on the industrial fringes and tracking them down felt like a scavenger hunt. The brewery’s motto is “Keep it simple, stupid,” but “simple” does not equate with dull. The lager stands out for its bracing minimalism—each straw-yellow sip is light and crisp, and offers a quick burst of bubbles.
2. Hop Capital Brewing
6500 S Virginia Ave., 503-206-4042, hopcapitalbrewing.com. 5-9 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 5-10 pm Friday-Saturday, 11 am-7 pm Sunday.
The satellite bar of Hop Capital’s Yakima, Wash., brewery, this John’s Landing taproom, open since January, introduced local drinkers to a lineup of beers that land somewhere in the middle of the city’s world-class and well-established scene. Head brewer Ambrose Kucharski is clearly having fun amid the hop flowers up north. His Donut Peach Raspberry Sour sounds as giddy as a Katy Perry costume and drinks just as tart and punchy. And the SupercalifragilisticHopsialidocious—a milkshake IPA that may set a record for the longest beer name to fit on a tap board—smells like a cotton candy stand. Lactic acid provided the batch with the thick, smooth mouthfeel of a dessert beverage, but the sugary sweetness is cut short just in time by a bitter, back-end fade.
6031 SE Stark St., 503-432-8121, instagram.com/bellwetherbarco. 4-11 pm daily.
The climb up Southeast Stark Street to 60th Avenue is steep. But that just makes the little pub at the top of the hill tastier for the effort. From the hazy, romantic back patio to the roaring front room, Bellwether feels like a pub that fell into the world fully formed. The cocktails are named in an egalitarian manner, numbered from 1 to 8. The 1 is perfect for summer: rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, cranberry grenadine and salt, served with a curled lemon rind. Not overly sweet, the tangy little number is like a loud, talkative friend whose energy you can’t help but find cheerful. Where Bellwether’s cocktails eschew clever titles, its wines pick up the slack. The selection includes an Orange Wine for Beginners and an Orange Wine for the Brave.
4. Bar Bar
3943 N Mississippi Ave., 503-889-0090, mississippistudios.com. 11 am-1 am daily.
Throughout the pandemic, Bar Bar was our constant. With a covered patio, heat lamps and fire pits—that we were, for a time, forbidden to gather around—Bar Bar set the standard for distanced, gruff, lovable service. Now that things are a little more normal (though we’re still maskin’ and relaxin’), Bar Bar is back to setting the standard for live entertainment, top-notch burgers and a warming, rotating tap list that always has something surprising.