2126 SW Halsey St., Troutdale, 503-669-8610, mcmenamins.com/edgefield. Hours vary at the property's bars and restaurants.
SPRAWL OUT / Edgefield isn't the crown jewel of the McMenamins empire—it's the Camelot. At the 74-acre property in Troutdale, you'll find an outdoor music venue, a golf course, hotel, spa, winery, distillery and 10 different bars, one of which is located in a former power station, another in a cigar room. It's downright Gatsby-esque, but not nearly that exclusive. In summer, you're guaranteed to wind up attending at least one show, vibing on the grass to Lizzo or Willie Nelson or Portugal the Man, and someone you know is probably planning a wedding there as you read this. But what is there for those with beer-blinders on? Why drive 20 minutes out of town when there's literally a dozen other McMenamins properties in Portland proper pouring staples like Hammerhead Ale and Terminator Stout? Well, as with everything Brian and Mike McMenamin do, the experience is what matters, and this one's hard to beat—you're free to walk the grounds with pint in hand, too—but Edgefield is also where you can sample rarer brews, like the rich and chewy Altered States Altbier and the Paradise Punch POG Sour, which succeeds where many sours fail in truly tasting like summer in a glass. Matthew Singer.
Thunder Island Brewing
515 NW Portage Road, Cascade Locks, 971-231-4599, thunderislandbrewing.com. Noon-8 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-9 pm Friday-Saturday, 11 am-8 pm Sunday.
RIVER VIEW BREWS / Thunder Island has operated on a sliver of land next to the Columbia River since 2013. Views of the water from the rustic patio are spectacular, particularly in the warmer months. The brewery and pub are decidedly undersized, so Thunder Island is building a larger facility up the hill. The brewery will lose that close proximity to the river, but the new space will reportedly offer plenty of beautiful scenery. More importantly, the new structure will have room to accommodate an expanded kitchen and a larger brewery. This place captures a lot of visitors returning from recreation in the Gorge, and the beers are designed to quench those thirsts. Remember the Forest IPA, a recipe developed while fire was tearing through the Gorge, is nicely dialed in. It features a light body that allows hop aromas and flavors to shine. Pete Dunlop.
pFriem Family Brewers
707 Portway Ave., No. 101, Hood River, 541-321-0490, pfriembeer.com. 11:30 am-9 pm daily.
PERFECTIONISTs / One might easily argue that pFriem's great contribution to Oregon beer and pub culture is its perfection. If there's something the brewery doesn't do well, it's a well-guarded secret. That certainly applies to the industrial-style brewpub, which provides one of the best experiences of its kind anywhere. Stop by most any afternoon or evening and behold the throngs of patrons. The beer, which is widely available at stores throughout Oregon and Washington, has undoubtedly helped promote the pFriem brand. Whether you order the popular Pilsner, an IPA or one of many rotating specialty offerings, you're likely to be satisfied. On a recent visit, the small-batch Exp IPA, which changes every month or so, was a favorite. pFriem is currently constructing a large production and barrel storage facility in Cascade Locks. It won't have a standard tasting room, but you can book it for one of those very special events in life that demand a celebration inside a 22,000-square-foot brewery. Pete Dunlop.
403 Portway Ave., Hood River, 541-436-3499, fermentbrewing.com. 11 am-9 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-10 pm Friday and Saturday.
LAB TECH / Founder Dan Peterson, a microbiologist by education, got hooked on homebrewing after attending college in Vermont. It didn't take long before he started working his way through professional establishments: first, Brooklyn Brewery in New York, then a move west to Full Sail and pFriem. His own project, Ferment, opened in 2018 and established itself as a top-tier destination from the start. Peterson and his crew churn out high-quality beer on a 20-barrel system with little automation. Highlights among the standards include the Czech Pils, the ESB and Sentinel, a mildly tart mixed-culture saison. There's also the enigmatic IPA 3.0, which is light, juicy and refreshing at 3 percent ABV, and Peterson hopes to release cans of it in the summer. Ferment expects to open a taproom on Portland's eastside by summer 2020. Get ready. Pete Dunlop.
177 E Jewett Blvd., White Salmon, Wash., 509-637-2774, everybodysbrewing.com. 11:30 am-9 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday.
BREWS 'N' VIEWS / Nestled in the Columbia River Gorge community of White Salmon—just across from Hood River—Everybody's Brewing boasts roughly 20 taps and a variety of styles to please, well, everybody. On a recent visit, choices ranged from the dry Local Logger Lager (say that five times fast!) to an English dark ale aged in Clear Creek Distillery pear brandy barrels, resulting in a beer so rich and sweet, it could be served over a scoop of ice cream. But this is the Pacific Northwest, so Everybody's pours nearly two flights' worth of hop-heavy pale ales and IPAs—including the citrus-tinged, juicy Mountain Mama Citra Pale Ale. If the choices overwhelm, you'll never go wrong with a Country Boy. The brewery's flagship IPA bypasses traditional citrus flavors for crisp notes of grapefruit and lemongrass. When the sun comes out, find a patio seat with views of Mount Hood rising above the treeline. Matt Wastradowski.
1162 B Wind River Highway, Carson, Wash., 509-427-3412, backwoodsbrewingcompany.com. 11:30 am-9 pm daily. 231 NW 11th Ave., 503-327-8588. 11:30 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
CRUSHING IT IN CARSON / It's almost impossible to stumble across Backwoods Brewing's flagship pub by accident: The cinder-block building sits high above the Columbia River, in the hamlet of Carson, on the less-trafficked northern stretch of the Gorge. Even the building itself sits on the backside of the Carson General Store, obscured from view. But the brewery's 16 or so taps are worth seeking out. Logyard IPA is a classic take on the West Coast interpretation of the style, bursting with pine, citrus and grapefruit, while the Winchester Brown is a malty, chewy ale that offers a mix of toffee and chocolate. On sunny days, the beers are best enjoyed on the patio, in full view of the surrounding Gorge hillsides. And if you're not up for the drive, Backwoods opened a second pub in the Pearl District in 2018. Matt Wastradowski.
Logsdon Farmhouse Ales
1834 Main St., Washougal, Wash., 360-335-1008, farmhousebeer.com. 11 am-8:00 pm Monday-Saturday.
DOWNTOWN FARMHOUSE ALES / Logsdon was originally a farmhouse brewery on the fringes of Hood River, but ownership changes led to the brewery's move to the former Amnesia Brewing space in downtown Washougal, Wash., leaving the Gorge and Oregon's orchard country behind, but gaining a place where lunch and early dinner can accompany those tasty brews. The farmhouse ales remain available, but they're now augmented by an IPA, a stout and a handful of lagers. The Helles for Sinners will appeal to fans of rauchbier (smoked beer, but this one is light on the smoke), while the imperial stout is built for sipping and contemplating. You'll probably depart with a bottle of Logsdon's signature peach ale, Peche 'n Brett—make that two or three. Don Scheidt.
Grains of Wrath Brewing
230 NE 5th Ave., Camas, Wash., 360-210-5717, gowbeer.com. 11 am-10 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-midnight Friday-Saturday, 11 am-9 pm Sunday.
THE WRATH OF CAMAs / In February 2016, WW tasted every damn IPA brewed in Portland and ranked them. Michael Hunsaker's took first and second. That's when he brewed for Fat Head's, but he left before it transitioned to Von Ebert (page 20) to open Grains of Wrath in downtown Camas. The beer names may have changed, but they're still great big mouthfuls of flavor. Sure, you can chug your choice of IPAs (six different kinds on a recent visit) here, but it's hard to resist the allure of Hunsaker's lagers, a rich, fruity Belgian dark ale, and a couple of barrel-aged specialties. Order a fat pub burger as a buffer and settle in. It's worth the trip to this paper mill town. Don Scheidt.
If you’re staying:
The Society Hotel Bingen
210 N Cedar St., Bingen, Wash., 509-774-4437, thesocietyhotel.com.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know. "But what about Edgefield?!?" you ask. Chances are good it's booked solid with concertgoers if you're making a last-minute jaunt to the Gorge, and you already know about that place anyway. What's still largely undiscovered is Portland's Society Hotel offshoot in Bingen. Book a hostel-style bunk room or an entire cabin and then hit up the cafe, which serves only Gorge-produced beers, including Everybody's Country Boy IPA for $3 during happy hour. Andi Prewitt.