Beer drinkers like to explore the great outdoors or at least appear as if they do, and Base Camp is a natural draw for both. With stunning photos of nature behind the bar that could've been ripped from an REI catalog or Bear Grylls' Instagram, carabiners snapped to the tap handles, and patio beams flying those Tibetan prayer flags you always see in images of Mount Everest climbing parties, the brewery practically shouts at you to get out there and hit the trail…right after one more beer. To give your palate an adventure, order a tasting log and opt for anything you can't normally find in Base Camp's more widely distributed cans. The Oregon Timber Trail Juniper Cherry Wheat sounds like it might be one of those one-offs a brewer makes just to mess around, but rather than being too sweet or herbal, the beer is refreshing with a peppery finish. Keep Base Camp's anniversary party going by ordering the beer made in honor of the occasion, 5th Blended Olde Stock, which spent 12 months in barrels, lending it a kiss of bourbon. JIM McLAREN.
Inside a big open brewhouse in the back corner of the gorgeous brick pub, brewer Kevin Davey and his team make their German-style beers the hard way, using classic techniques for step mashing, lagering and carbonating his pours that have even been abandoned by some in the Fatherland. The results speak for themselves, with everything from his beautiful golden helles to a dry and cherrylike doppelbock bringing classic, delicate flavors that come only from perfect processes. But even American-style pours, like the Doomtown or Flower in the Kettle IPAs, benefit from Davey's powerful production microscope, showcasing a deep knowledge of modern stateside ingredients, and ranking as some of the best hop-driven beers you'll find anywhere. They're not afraid of comparisons, either: Wayfinder routinely has some of the best guest taps in the city, bringing in excellent batches from near and far to compete with its housemade pours. PARKER HALL.
Eat this: The wonderful menu ranges from a delicious prime rib sandwich ($15) to a mountainous nicoise salad ($14), but the thing I find myself ordering most often is the brewery's nachos ($10), which come perfectly layered with guajillo chili sauce, pico de gallo and black bean puree, and are among the best in town.
Dirty Pretty Brewing (formerly Ross Island Brewing)
Former Alameda head brewer Carston Haney opened Ross Island Brewing in early 2017, nearly two years after the business was incorporated. The delay and the location, a corner on Southeast Powell Boulevard where there's little foot traffic and drivers tend to whiz on by, contributed to a lack of clientele and financial difficulty. By late 2017, Haney was actively seeking an investor or buyer. Most thought Ross Island would fold. But that didn't happen. Instead, two investors entered the picture and purchased a majority interest in the brewery. One of those partners is Kurt Huffman, founder and owner of ChefStable. The brewery was rebranded as Dirty Pretty in the changeover, and Haney's beers, primarily traditional English styles, have taken on a somewhat more modern slant. Working with ChefStable chefs, he develops batches that pair with food served at places like Grassa, La Moule, Lardo, Ox and St. Jack. Haney's Praha Czech-style Pilsner, for example, is excellent and appears at various places under private label names like Lardo Lager, Pok Pok Pils and Loyal Lager. The taproom connected to the brewery on Southeast Powell is no longer open to the public. Dirty Pretty beer can be found at beer bars around town; look to Loyal Legion, a ChefStable property, for the best variety. PETE DUNLOP.
Modern Times Beer
This audacious San Diego brewery arrived in Portland in early 2018, taking over the building that once held a much-beloved producer of farmhouse ales, the Commons. Hardly a trace of the previous business remains in the taproom, which is somewhat jarring the first time you visit, especially if you were at all acquainted with the former tenant. Modern Times has a distinct vibe that could be received as fun and irreverent or just plain gaudy, depending on your taste. A massive shimmering gold piñata of Macho Man Randy Savage suspended from the ceiling looks like the wrestler just hurled himself off the top turnbuckle and is about to slam into a tableful of beer drinkers. The collection of floppy disks forming a chevron pattern on the bar could hold the HyperCard presentations of dozens of middle school students from decades past. And a very ambitious spider must have yarn-bombed the restroom hallway, the web snaring vintage dolls and action figures. You can't be this loud and proud without being good. Fortunately, Modern Times is. A collection of hazys proved crushable, including seasonal City of the Sun, a lovely blend of citrus fruit and honeydew. And the Nitro Black House with cocoa and coconut was like a brown sugar-dusted bowl of oatmeal made with coffee instead of milk. The line out the door on a recent Friday seems to attest to Portland's embrace of a California transplant, which has plans to expand the brewery. ANDI PREWITT.
Eat this: The menu is vegan, which means it's pretty much all Beyond Meat and avocado dishes. The chorizo burrito ($12) is one that combines the two well along with hash browns, chipotle crema and ancho salsa. To my surprise, the texture of the sausage was pretty darn close to the real deal.
Cascade Brewing Barrel House
It's impossible to have a conversation about tart, heavily fruited American sour ales without immediate mention of Cascade Brewing. For more than 15 years, owner Art Larrance and his team have been stuffing what some brewers have called "heinous amounts" of fresh produce into their barrels, making some of the most iconic—and vibrantly colorful—high-ABV sour beers on earth. This year, though, we've tasted increased subtlety and balance from the sometimes pucker-punching House of Sour, courtesy of the brewery's new director, Kevin Martin. Martin and his team have been experimenting with complex botanicals and more compelling yeast expression in their latest creations, with Al Nocino—a blend that included Bing cherries, rose hips, hibiscus and Stone Barn Brandyworks Nocino—and the cherrywood-smoked malt and peach-kissed Pêche Fumé easily ranking as two of the most downright subtle and interesting sours I've ever sipped. PARKER HALL.
Eat this: The Barrel House does have larger dishes, but we recommend the fantastic cheese and bread plate ($12.50) as well as some of the best beer cheese soup ($4 a cup, $6 a bowl) in town.
There's a certain feeling that hits when you step through Baerlic's door that's kind of like walking into your stylish best friend's comfortable apartment to find he's been burning hop-infused candles and decorated the place with quite a few beer-filled barrels. Brewers and co-owners Richard Hall and Ben Parsons have not only created one of the most inviting breweries in the city, they also make some of the most approachable and well-thought-out beers. From their Dad Beer (lager) to Dark Thoughts (black IPA) and even the on-trend juicy and hazy IPA Eldo & Friends, every pour is absolutely gorgeous. But the unsung hero of the lineup during a visit in winter is one of their newest additions, Pancake House. Judging by the name, you'd think this would be a sugary, maple-bomb mess. Luckily, you'd be very wrong. The Russian imperial stout was brewed with a ton of coffee, cocoa nibs, lactose and maple syrup, resulting in an impeccably smooth drink. And like most of Baerlic's boozy dark beers, you'd never guess it comes in at a whopping 11.5 percent ABV. It's dangerously good. SHANNON ARMOUR.
Eat this: Baerlic's taproom doesn't have a kitchen. If you're looking for anything heartier than a snack of nuts and jerky, you're going to have to bring your own food or open your favorite delivery app and order a killer bahn mi ($9-$10) from neighboring restaurant Double Dragon (1235 SE Division St., 503-230-8340, doubledragonpdx.com).
Hopworks Urban Brewery
Hopworks is more of an empire than a brewery. In its going on 11 years of existence, founder and brewmaster Christian Ettinger has more than quadrupled production, built a repertoire of more than a dozen canned beers and opened a total of four locations, including one in Portland International Airport and another across the river in Vancouver. But the giant, two-floor FoPo flagship does its best to hark back to HUB's humble origins with displays of local kitsch like framed Timbers jerseys, a landscape of Mount Hood composed of bottle caps and beat-up bike frames that hang above the bar. At this point in their history, Ettinger and his team seem to be staking their claim as innovators on the sustainability front rather than in the brewhouse—Hopworks was the first certified B Corporation brewery in the Pacific Northwest and the first Salmon-Safe Certified brewing campus in the world. It also tends to cater more to tourists, suburbanites and parents with futures that include kids' play areas than hardcore beer nerds. During a recent visit, the massive tap list read like something from a brewer's Willy Wonka factory: a strawberry milkshake IPA, a syrupy-sweet beer brewed with fruit cake that's aptly named That Holiday Cake Dough and Yule Only Live Once, a creamy, sugary imperial dessert beer. For the most part, you're best off sticking to Hopworks' classics. The Ferocious Citrus IPA has enough of a punch to satisfy hop heads without scaring away dad beer drinkers, and the Patagonia-branded Long Root Ale is subtly wheaty, surprisingly aromatic and totally refreshing. SHANNON GORMLEY.
Eat this: The poutine ($7.95) is listed as an appetizer, but the thick-cut fries and hearty vegan gravy make for a filling, salty and gooey mess that's ideally chased down with a crisp beer—and it's the best bang for your buck on the menu.
When Ancestry opened its Tualatin brewery and taproom in 2016, the idea was to provide a destination for parched craft beer fans who live or work in what was and largely still is a beer desert. The flagship pub is spacious, an outdoor patio features spectacular views of protected wetlands, and it eventually added a full menu. Later, Ancestry opened a much smaller satellite pub in Sellwood, where it could show off its stuff to city slickers. The Ancestry mission is to create unique beers across a wide spectrum of styles, and the brewery seems to hit that target on draft and in packaged form. Of the core offerings, the Piney IPA has a true-to-its-name coniferous character with tropical notes, making it a solid choice. Specialty options are plentiful and are rotated regularly. North Beast, a hazy imperial IPA, and Hazy Pale, a lighter presentation of the style, are nice options. Adventurous tasters will want to try one of Ancestry's barrel-aged brews. On my visit, it was pouring Wine Country Imperial Stout, a big beer aged in virgin oak with cabernet wine must. Very interesting, indeed. PETE DUNLOP.
Eat this: Ancestry serves several burgers ($12-$13), which are among the best brewpub variety around, with one-third-pound patties of Wagyu Kobe beef tucked into brioche buns.
Not many breweries are born inside another one while the head beer makers simultaneously work for both businesses. And of those with such unique beginnings, few match the excellence of Ruse's beers. Shaun Kalis and Devin Benware were able to launch the brand within the walls of Northeast Portland's Culmination thanks to the relationship Kalis developed with Culmination founder Tomas Sluiter, whom he met and first worked under at Old Market Pub. Last summer, Ruse no longer needed a brewing roomie and moved its fermentation tanks into a comfortably large segment of the immense Iron Fireman Collective building—a convenient few steps away from the MAX Orange Line. Golden, knotty lupine wood walls perfectly match a partition of blond barrels that not only serve as an aesthetically beautiful backdrop for live music, but also hold some of Ruse's mixed-culture creations (there's a custom foeder in the back, as well). Kalis and Benware successfully produce beer that runs the style gamut on their 10-barrel system—from a biscuity, pleasingly simple unfiltered helles lager with a dramatic, peppery hop finish to an oatmeal stout brewed with cacao that's equal parts Hershey bar, caramel and Stumptown Coffee. Explore the array of IPAs, which are all distinct and delicious. They can do both East Coast and something firmly rooted in the Northwest: Audio Aquatic will have you reliving the last licks of an orange Tootsie Pop with a bitter hop center replacing the chocolate roll, while Translator is the ideal showcase for Citra, Centennial and Mosaic hops. ANDI PREWITT.
No brewery in Portland has cultivated an aura of cool quite like Gigantic. It sort of had to—stranded in the industrial wasteland behind Reed College, founders Van Havig and Ben Love needed people to come to them. Making good beer was one way to ensure the beer geeks would make the pilgrimage, but they also built a following by having the loudest label art on the shelf, collaborating with bands on exclusive brews, and giving their small taproom a college clubhouse vibe, complete with a living room-style lounge and decorative bric-a-brac that includes an old-timey musket, an ax and a flat-screen accompanied by a sign reading, "This Machine Plays Timbers Games." But again, it helps that the beer is great, too. The taplist is an ever-changing constellation of seasonals and small-batch specials rotating around the flagship IPA, with a predilection toward the big and hoppy. On a recent visit, that included the Pipewrench, an IPA aged in gin barrels; the Satellite of Love, an apricot saison; and a chocolate oyster stout called Weapon of Mass Seduction. At Gigantic, you truly never know what you're going to get. What's cooler than that? MATTHEW SINGER.
Tobias Hahn and Nick Greiner both have German roots (Hahn grew up there; Greiner's wife did, too). Obsessed with beers from the homeland, and unable to find what their tastes demanded here, they teamed up to launch Rosenstadt ("Rose City" in German) in 2015. They brew beers that are authentic, mostly true to style and exquisite. The helles is possibly the best rendition of the style in the Northwest and beyond. The popular Kölsch is right there with it. Only the German pale ale, a style that doesn't exist as a traditional German recipe, is an outlier. That beer is modeled after Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and comes close to hitting the mark. Hahn and Greiner don't have a brewery of their own, instead relying on contract brewing at a couple of different places until shifting pretty much all of their production to Fearless Brewing in Estacada. While it's just the two of them doing the brewing, marketing, sales and delivery, Rosenstadt has managed to build enough of a following that they're looking to establish roots. Once that happens, alternative packaging and distribution options will be on the table. For now, Olympia Provisions on Division generally has a solid lineup of Rosenstadt beers on tap, which match perfectly with the cuisine there. PETE DUNLOP.
Eat this: Since Rosenstadt brews are meant to go with German food, you really can't go wrong with anything on the menu. But because it's OP, those sausages ($9) are calling—especially during happy hour, when frankfurters and brats are a mere five bucks.
Little Beast Brewing
At its retooled bungalow on Division, Little Beast offers a literal home away from home for fans of farmhouse and wild ales, pouring some of the city's most compelling yeast-focused beers from the old living room. Co-founders Charles Porter and Brenda Crow made names for themselves in the beer and food scenes—him at Deschutes before becoming head brewer at Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, her as the national sales manager for Olympia Provisions—before taking over this special abode from Lompoc Brewing, and both have a keen eye for local flavors. From the soft and complex Golden Stone, a peach-, nectarine- and apricot-infused wild ale that serves as the spiritual successor to Porter's Logsdon-era Peche 'n Brett, to the fantastically quaffable Fera saison—one of our 2018 Beers of the Year—these are just a few beers that demonstrate there are few better Belgian-influenced breweries anywhere. And we expect even more great things as the company's Clackamas production facility steadily fills more barrels. PARKER HALL.
Eat this: A number of delicious snacks appear on the menu, but Crowe's Oregon Grinder ($11), with fennel pollen salami, prosciutto, capicola and provolone atop perfectly squishy bread, is one of our favorite sandwiches in town.
Montavilla Brew Works
Four-year-old Montavilla Brew Works has a way to go if it's ever going to challenge McMenamins for the crown of Oregon's most hippie-friendly brewing empire, but it's got a solid foundation in place. That includes tie-dye merchandise, vaguely psychedelic branding and at least two beers named after members of the Grateful Dead. Founder Michael Kora got into homebrewing after playing drums in bands around his native Detroit, and about the only enhancement to the ambience at the converted auto shop that houses his modest 10-barrel operation is the classic-rock soundtrack. Otherwise, the focus is entirely on the beers, which run from German lagers and barleywines to the Jerry Berry Sour, a pretty-looking kettle sour resplendent with raspberry flavor that pays homage to, well, you can probably guess. Pair it with the Lesh Is More! Pale Ale, a modestly hopped tribute to Dead bassist Phil Lesh, and it'll feel like they're jamming an 80-minute version of "Dark Star" right on your liver. MATTHEW SINGER.
Eat this: Montavilla serves only bar snacks, but it does allow outside food. In that case, pick up a slice ($4.75, additional toppings 25 cents each) of Flying Pie (7804 SE Stark St., 503-254-2016, flying-pie.com) from down the street, which regular visitors to the neighboring Academy Theater know is the best movie-theater pizza in town.
Part of the reason Zoiglhaus opened where it did in 2015 is because the city wanted to do something to rehabilitate Felony Flats. The Portland Development Commission spent a bundle getting the bombed-out building in Lents ready for Zoiglhaus. If the surrounding neighborhood is any indication, the investment has worked. Modern residential housing now occupies nearby plots, including the land upon which the New Copper Penny once languished. It's getting better here. Brewer and part-owner Alan Taylor, who helped launch Pints (now Ascendant, page 22), got his training in Germany, and the Zoiglhaus theme is quasi-Deutschland. The open, comfortable pub features a covey of wall-mounted TVs flashing sports, which can be avoided by choosing the appropriate table. The beers are true to their German heritage, though the menu shows its Northwest influence. Zoigl-Pils, gold medalist at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival, is clean, crisp and fantastic. The Zoigl-Kölsch is not far behind. To satisfy all drinkers, Taylor and crew have two IPAs on the core menu: Hopfenbombe, a German interpretation of the style that's hop-forward and spicy, and Haus IPA, which is darker than most modern renditions—it's citrus and pine seem related to American IPAs of yesteryear. PETE DUNLOP.
Eat this: Pub standards like the Zoigl Burger ($11) and fries are all solid efforts—even the veggie patty I swapped in for the beef was nicely formed with great texture and flavor. But German-inspired dishes are where the kitchen shines—do yourself a favor and order the beer cheese spätzle ($7) and schnitzel ($13).