21678 S Latourette Road, Oregon City, 898-0220, bentshovelbrewing.com. Noon- 6 pm Saturday-Sunday.
To get to Bent Shovel, you must drive miles along the Clackamas River, on a road that is marked first, "WATCH FOR ICE," and then, later, "LANDSLIDE WARNING." But as you enter a plot of land that is not swamp or forest or farmland, but somehow all three, you discover a little farmhouse on a dead-end road with a fire pit out front that seems to house a standing yard party for the whole damn county. Brewer Rick Strauss works days as an IT guy, but on weekends he serves up his own beers. On one night, his beers included a young Black Spade Stout that offered a lot of roasty notes in the malt, a pleasantly hoppy Leafwalker Red, a weirdly smoky schwarzbier and a very farmy IPA. The crowd, on our visit, mostly talked about the neighborhood wildlife. Two fat domestic turkeys had recently visited from next door. The frogs, locally, have gotten loud enough to disturb sleep, but they apparently shut up if a deer walks by. And two customers had hit their curfew: "Drink your beer," said one, "and we'll feed the chickens." Bent Shovel is like George Orwell's perfect pub, shoehorned into Animal Farm.
Drink This: The Black Spade Stout is by far the winner in the current crop—bright and roasty.