5846 NE Sandy Blvd., 971-407-3429, btupdx.com. 2-10 pm Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday, 2-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
Walk into the average Portland brewpub, and you can probably order without looking at the menu—a hummus plate, burger and some wings? BTU opened in the autumn of 2014 with plans to challenge the old model. It's been embraced—it has already converted one alcove into a waiting area where you might get parked for 30 minutes on a busy Saturday night—even if there are a few things to nitpick. If you're dreaming of an IPA perfectly paired to Szechuan chicken, be warned that the house's hoppy beers are hazy and lack the ripe juiciness of today's most sought-after IPAs, and the chef politely declines to make an actually hot version of the chicken. Keep your eye on the specials board (Peking duck!) and aim for beers that are sour or fruity, like a strong ale fermented with blood orange juice that wowed us. This spot is also a sneaky pick for vegetarians, as the tempura-battered shiitake strips called "mock eel" and the fried seitan billed as "Buddah's beef" are both extraordinarily good.
Drink This: Steer away from the IPAs and toward the sours and lagers. The house lager made with puffed jasmine rice is a good, clean pint to pair with food.