Silver Falls Brewery Ale House
207 Jersey St., Silverton, 503-873-3022, silverfallsbrewery.com. 11:30 am-9 pm Monday, Wednesday-Thursday, 11:30 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday, 11:30 am-8 pm Sunday.
THAR'S SILVER IN THEM FALLS / A converted house on the edge of downtown Silverton is now the small city's oldest brewery following the closure of Seven Brides in 2018. Opened five years ago, Silver Falls—named after the picturesque state park 20 minutes away—has a selection of beers that covers your typical modern Pacific Northwest range of styles, including a fruity-bitter IPA, a nutty red ale and a rustic Pilsner. Pub food from the kitchen-in-a-truck parked outside rounds out the offerings. If the place is quiet when you walk in, be patient. It will fill up with (mostly) locals in short order. That popularity has led to ambitious expansion plans that involve a custom kitchen expansion, the addition of a second bar upstairs, and an upgrade from a 2-barrel brewhouse to a 10-barrel system on the premises. Silver Falls must be doing something right. Don Scheidt.
400 Humpert Lane NE, Mount Angel, 971-343-2772, mountangelabbey.org/benedictine-brewery. 2-7 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 1-8 pm Friday-Saturday, 11 am-5 pm Sunday.
LET US PRAY / In the relatively short time the monks at Mount Angel Abbey have been operating a brewery and taproom, the beers have gone from good to outstanding. Benedictine doesn't adhere to one type of monastic style; like their Bavarian brethren, there are lagers (the St. Michael helles), but there are also Belgian-influenced ales (the St. Raphael tripel). The brewing brothers don't stop there. Dark Knight, a winter seasonal, drinks like a big imperial stout—rich and a bit boozy. The taproom is simple, cozy in its own unadorned way (no TVs or music), and sometimes packed to the rafters. Located an hour away from Portland, you'll feel as if you've escaped to Belgium, only without the plane fare. Ecclesiastical brewing is rarely found in the U.S., and Oregon is indeed fortunate to have Benedictine. Don Scheidt.
Bent Shovel Brewing Beer Garden and Patio
20189 S Springwater Road, Estacada, 503-898-0220, bentshovelbrewing.com. Noon-8 pm Friday-Sunday.
GARDEN OF BEERY DELIGHTS / Rick Strauss put a brewery in his barn and opened a beer garden out in the eastern Oregon City boonies in 2015. Then last year, the county said nuh-uh, your business is drawing too much traffic, and Strauss scrambled for an alternative place to serve his product, finding a home across the parking lot from Viewpoint Restaurant & Lounge in Estacada. Locals don't seem to mind drinking while gathered at the picnic tables—some of them covered—even on a drizzly, chilly day, so Bent Shovel will be operating here until at least Memorial Day as Strauss searches for a new permanent location. There's certainly no lack of variety coming out of his 10-barrel brewhouse: One Wagon Pilsner is a fine choice for lager drinkers, Barn Door Pale for the ale fans, or Agent BARIS (a barrel-aged Russian imperial stout) for anyone trying to warm their soul on a chilly day. Don't ignore the Code Violation Java Porter; Strauss will "neither confirm nor deny" the name of this tipple may have something to do with his original beer garden's forced shutdown. Don Scheidt.
Coin Toss Brewing
14214 Fir St., Suite H, Oregon City, 503-305-6220, cointossbrewing.com. 3-8 pm Tuesday-Friday, noon-8 pm Saturday, noon-6 pm Sunday.
FLIP YOU FOR A BEER / Tim Hohl was best known as the familiar voice on KPAM radio, delivering the news as well as a weekly "Beer Geek" segment. He'd been brewing at home for a couple of decades, but decided to ramp things up and go pro in 2015, when Coin Toss opened. It's a little tricky to find, tucked away in a business park facing South Beavercreek Road even though the official address is Fir Street, but this cozy little taproom usually occupied by locals is worth finding. Beers often carry amusing puns on Hohl's name, but that doesn't mean Coin Toss doesn't take the brewing seriously. Flagship Black Hohl Cascadian Dark Ale, for instance, is the roasty-bitter summation of the local craft beer scene. There's also a good lighter beer, Half Penny Lager, that drinks like a German helles. Settler's Red is pleasantly nutty, and High Rocks Hazy IPA has the citrus and pine notes that are all the rage these days. Need another pun? Get your hands on Pie Hohl Cherry Ginger Stout. The limited release was made with 88 pounds of the stone fruit and fresh ginger. Don Scheidt.
Oregon City Brewing
1401 Washington St., Oregon City, 503-908-1948, ocbeerco.com. 11 am-10 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday, 11 am-9 pm Sunday.
BREW IN THE O.C. / It will be six years this November since Oregon City Brewing opened, and the business has emerged as one of the most popular gathering spots in town, just past the northern fringe of the city center. Drinkers are spoiled for choice here, where as many as 40 taps pour just about every style you can think of (and some you might not). Craft beer beginners should order the OC Lite to ease the transition away from Bud, then build your way up to the Provision Pilsner, a lager with an assertively bitter finish named after the Olympia Provisions outpost that serves a slate of sausages and more out of the same building. Some standouts for drinkers with well-developed palates include the roasty Stout Lager, a smoked Munich dunkel called Pipe Dream (because who doesn't like barbecue in a glass?), and a whole series of barrel-aged sours. After all, variety is the beer of life. Don Scheidt.
If you’re staying:
Mount Angel Abbey and the Saint Benedict Guesthouse & Retreat Center
1 Abbey Drive, Saint Benedict, 503-845-3025, mountangelabbey.org/guesthouse.
VOW OF SILENCE / After you commune with beer, connect with God—or yourself—in the isolated silence of a monastic cell. The abbey offers a bed to people of all faiths at its guesthouse for as short a stay as one night or a longer group retreat. Walk the grounds and admire the Romanesque-style church perched on a hill, read one of the more than 200,000 books and manuscripts housed in a sleek library designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, or tour the museum stocked with artifacts from the Holy Land. Whatever you choose to do, wrap things up early. The guesthouse is locked at 9 pm sharp nightly. Andi Prewitt.