Hair of the Dog Brewing
61 SE Yamhill St., 503-232-6585, hairofthedog.com. 11:30 am-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday, 11:30 am-8 pm Sunday.
NEW TRICKS / Since it opened in 1993, Hair of the Dog has built a following among locals and tourists looking for something different. Founder Alan Sprints revived long-dead styles that became flagship brews like Adam and Fred, which remain staples on a list that has expanded over the years. Sprints was also a pioneer of the modern barrel-aged beer movement, and barrel-aged versions of Adam, Fred and others are coveted by hardcore fans. In an apparent effort to connect with mainstream drinkers, Hair of the Dog last year released several IPAs in cans. Reviews have been mixed. While the beers have always been nuanced and vaguely inconsistent, they were decidedly off kilter in recent years. That situation appears to be righting itself, possibly due to the return of Sprints' understudy, Jesse Shue, who came back after several years at Golden Valley (page 40). Adam, with notes of chocolate and dark fruit, was my favorite on a recent visit, but don't sleep on the rotating specialty pours. There's a list of pricey bottled beers to go or consume in the pub, perhaps best enjoyed by those with fluid cash flows. Pete Dunlop.
304 SE 2nd Ave., 503-718-2337, wayfinder.beer. 11:30 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
BEERFEST / Whenever asked which brewery in town has both good beer and an honest-to-goodness recommendable menu, I almost always steer that person to Wayfinder. The food goes beyond the usual burgers and nachos, and everything is made from scratch. The beer, though, speaks for itself—head brewer Kevin Davey's German-style brews have snagged medals at the Great American Beer Festival two years in a row. But his methods warrant further elaboration. Davey employs a traditional, multistep mashing process, in which a quarter of the porridgelike mixture is moved from the main vessel and boiled separately before being returned to the batch. Yes, it's labor-intensive and rarely used by breweries in the modern era, but Davey's commitment to classical techniques and building flavor is unmatched. If ever there were a beer that could transport you to the brauhauses of Munich, it would be Wayfinder Hell, a crisp and snappy lager with a gasp of citrus that comes in a fat mug. Andi Prewitt.
Base Camp Brewing
930 SE Oak St., 503-477-7479, basecampbrewingco.com. Noon-10 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-midnight Friday-Saturday, 11 am-10 pm Sunday.
HOPPY TRAILS / A lot of the time the only real theme most brewpubs ever have is "place where beer is made." Base Camp, on the other hand, lives up to its name—the taproom looks like an REI outlet with the racks of North Face replaced by tables made out of reclaimed wood and rocks. An upside-down canoe hangs over the bar like makeshift awning. Carabiners dangle from the tap handles, and tiny lights form constellations on the ceiling. A purist might deride it as gimmicky, especially after ordering the popular S'More Stout and spotting the roasted marshmallow clinging to the rim of the glass. But the beer pulls even with the branding—the aforementioned stout is sweet, smoky and full-bodied, while Base Camp's standard lagers and ales are light and easy to drink, perfectly suited for a post-hike cool-down. Its experimental brews, though, are the best argument for schlepping out to the taproom—recently, that included the Sour Camp Kids series, a lineup of four beers that indeed taste like liquid candy. Matthew Singer.
West Coast Grocery
1403 SE Stark St., 503-477-6011, westcoastgrocerycompany.com. 11:30 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
Beer Aisle / The fifth generation's West Coast Grocery sells no produce, but owner Charlie Hyde's ancestors would be proud of the current agricultural products. The cozy corner bar across from Revolution Hall makes one of the finest cream ales in town, as perfect for a summer picnic as the brewpub's cubano sandwich. Hyde has hired on more history when it comes to the beer. After early stumblings—including a sexual harassment claim that cost onetime head brewer Owen Woods his job—Christian Engstrom now helms the brewhouse, bringing with him a dozen years of experience at now-defunct BridgePort Brewing. All that time making BridgePort IPA has clearly paid off: Engstrom's hoppy beers are quietly becoming some of the best in town, and we look forward to tasting more as he really gets to know this brewhouse. Parker Hall.
Modern Times Beer
600 SE Belmont St., 503-420-0799, moderntimesbeer.com. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Monday, 4-10 pm Tuesday-Wednesday, 11 am-midnight Thursday-Saturday.
INSTAGRAM BACKDROP / There's no better place in Portland to snap a trendy photo of a hazy IPA, sweet stout, or neon-red kettle sour. A giant mural of Macho Man Randy Savage gazes toward a wall collage of comic book pages inside this cavernous taproom, just around the corner from a food window designed to look like a San Diego taco truck (if it were a lifesize piñata). For those of us without blue checkmarks on Instagram, the SoCal brand's Portland outpost can be a bit much. But if you look past the sea of perfectly dressed beer tourists (and the more obvious styles), you'll find some of the city's finest beers. I've been particularly obsessed with the lagers. If the taproom has it, try the Italian Pilsner, which marries crackery malt with perfumey modern hopping techniques—taming the face-melting flavors of Modern Times' hazy IPAs. Parker Hall.
Cascade Brewing Barrel House
939 SE Belmont St., 503-265-8603, cascadebrewing.com. 1-10 pm Sunday-Monday, 1-11 pm Tuesday-Thursday, noon-midnight Friday-Saturday. 7424 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, 503-296-0110. Noon-9 pm Sunday, 11:30 am-9 pm Monday-Tuesday, 11:30 am-10 pm Wednesday-Friday, Noon-10 pm Saturday.
Pucker Up / Most serious beer drinkers have made up their minds about sour beer by now, but even the stodgiest stout stans and chin-stroking lagerheads should have a special place in their hearts for the pioneering sours poured at Cascade. The fruited, barrel-aged beverages that owner Art Larrance made his name on require plenty of time to reach perfection, and considering Cascade began working its magic over 15 years ago, it's safe to say this head start still gives it a serious advantage over souring projects less focused breweries have taken on in the meantime. The tap lists at both locations offer a dazzling array of produce, like Kentucky Peach, a tart mixture of wheat and quad ales aged with the stone fruit, or Sang Royal, a sharp and fragrant red ale aged in a barrel with Oregon pinot noir grapes. Be sure to peruse the list of bottles available for onsite consumption—this is where you can usually find variants of the kriek that put Cascade on the map when The New York Times named it the best of its kind in the country. Pete Cottell.
Away Days Brewing
1516 SE 10th Ave., 503-206-4735, awaydaysbrewing.com. 4-10 pm Tuesday-Wednesday, noon-10 pm Friday-Saturday, noon-9 pm Sunday.
English Classics / Bright geometric stools and hanging houseplants greet you inside this tiny pub, a wall- and kitchen-sharing satellite of the Toffee Club next door. The owners of the popular British-themed pub took over this space and the brewery within it upon the closing of Scout Beer in early 2019, bringing on ex-Alameda brewer Marshall Kunz to help make English-style ales. Two cask taps pour warm, flat classics like Bus Stop Bitter and Brits Abroad Red Ale, with all beers leaning toward a more classic malty balance than fruit-bombed modernity. There's even the occasional lager for good measure. The real ace up Away Days' sleeve is those casks. If you're looking for a place to drink a classic English ale and scarf down a döner kebab, this is the only game in town. It even shows the Timbers on real-world away days. Parker Hall.
2235 SE 11th Ave., 503-477-9418, baerlicbrewing.com. 4-10 pm Monday-Thursday, 2-11 pm Friday, noon-11 pm Saturday, noon-10 pm Sunday. 6035 NE Halsey St., 503-284-6393. Noon-10 pm daily.
Friendster / "The Beer Here Is Near and Dear," reads the lettering above the tap list at Baerlic. For founders Richard Hall and Ben Parsons, it's not just a cute slogan but a true mission statement: While sales from their 10-barrel operation have grown each year, allowing them to open a second location in Northeast Portland, their ambition is to remain small time. So far, it seems to be working. At Baerlic's barebones Southeast Portland headquarters, the scene is often boisterous, with little to distract from the beers, which are generally light and sessionable but rarely boring. Dad Beer, as you might guess, is an easy-drinking lager that's practically clear yet carries enough flavor to elevate it above the actual beer your dad prefers, while the Punk Rock Time IPA is mellower and tastier than its name applies. The simple stuff is what Parsons and Hall do best, but they can stretch out, too: Grayscale, a collaboration with Modern Times, is a coffee Vienna lager that'll stun anyone who's used to coffee-flavored beers having the viscosity of sludge. Matthew Singer.