240 N Broadway, No. 2, 503-735-5337, uprightbrewing.com, 5-9 pm Thursday, 4:30-9 pm Friday, 1-8 pm Saturday, 1-6 pm Sunday.
Since opening his brewery in the basement of the Leftbank building in 2009, Upright's Alex Ganum has both kept true to his original vision and introduced some of the most creative beers in Portland. Everything in this cozy, no-frills speakeasy-style brewery and taproom feels like a work of art—from Upright's standard-bearing Engelberg Pils, WW's 2015 beer of the year, to a vermouth-barrel aged Ives Lambic and the complex blend of mixed-fermentation beers used to create citric Ostinato saison. But though Upright is rooted in old ways, with a cash-only register and jazz on a turntable, the brewery has made big changes this year, completely overhauling its year-round offerings and scrapping its previous list of bottled saisons. Their open-fermentation Supercool IPA has evolved into something unlike any other in Portland, pushing aromatics and yeast so far to the fore that it almost feels like what a Belgian would create if IPAs had only been described in letters sent by ship. The new year-round offerings also include a saison vert wheat beer made with sun-dried black limes. Most important, Upright leveraged their newly expanded barrel space to make an astonishingly complex mixed-fermentation saison called Pathways, which tastes like a heritage Belgian but still pours out of the draft for $6 all year long. That beer is a signal accomplishment we're awarding as our 2018 Beer of the Year, the only time a brewer has received that honor twice. After all, if Charles Mingus is playing out of an old-school turntable, Upright's speaker system has unusually high fidelity. And rumor is, they plan to start accepting credit cards.
Nearby: Want Upright beer with excellent pub food made with vegetables and meat sourced from local ranches and farms and prepared with uncommon care? Maybe you also want it on the cheap, with a $25-for-two meal deal that includes 12 ounces of excellent beer apiece? Well, Ganum also co-owns an excellent gastropub called Grain and Gristle (1473 NE Prescott St., 503-288-4740, grainandgristle.com).