What to Drink at Every Brewery in North Portland

Two of the city’s best drinking patios, a metal-themed den known for its IPAs, and a tap house saved by a bunch of neighborhood buddies all await in the Fifth Quadrant.

In this year’s Beer Guide, we’ve established a few parameters for inclusion. For instance, breweries needed some sort of taproom or pub with regular hours. And their flagship and/or production facility needed to be located within Portland proper. That means the guy running a nano out of his garage, or a business like Backwoods, which has a restaurant in the Pearl but brews in Carson, Wash., didn’t make the cut this time. We also limited our visits to one primary location when it came to brands with multiple outposts, like Breakside and Gigantic.

STAR RATINGS

★ Highly Recommended

★★ World Class

Our rating system for all Portland breweries in this collection is modeled after the Michelin Guide. Stars are not awarded solely for the quality of the beer, but also for ambience, distinctiveness and overall experience. A single star denotes a brewery is highly recommended and its beers are worth going out of the way for. Two stars indicate the experience is exceptional, which means you should not delay planning a special journey.

North Portland Breweries

Northeast Portland Breweries

Northwest Portland Breweries

Southeast Portland Breweries

South/Southwest Portland Breweries


Arbor Beer Lodge & Brewery

6550 N Interstate Ave., 503-286-0343, arborbeerlodge.com. 4-10 pm Tuesday, noon-10 pm Wednesday-Saturday, noon-8 pm Sunday.

IN THE NEIGHBEERHOOD | Arbor Beer Lodge is your friendly and unassuming local brewery in the most Portland of ways. Sharing a gravel parking lot with a vegan food cart right off Interstate, it’s easy to drive by, as I must have done hundreds of times. Formerly known as Look Long Brewing and Homebrew Exchange, Arbor Beer Lodge is the new name of the nano (as of summer 2022) that was purchased by a handful of neighborhood regulars who didn’t want to see the joint close when it was put up for sale in 2020. Inside, the tap list is split 50-50 between house beers and greatest hits from places like Baerlic and Double Mountain. Arbor Lodge’s brews are utilitarian but respectable—just like the space itself, which uses empty sacks of grain as decoration and not much else, save the occasional soccer scarf. The Ctrl Alt Bier is satisfyingly malty, while the nose on the Raspberry Porter made me long for June at the Portland State University Farmers Market. The locals-only theme is reinforced by the bookcase full of board games and two regular trivia nights, one of which is dedicated to Harry Potter. ALEXANDER BASEK.

DRINK THIS: The Citra Bay Pilsner is lighter than light and essential for maintaining during trivia nights.

Ecliptic Brewing

825 N Cook St., 503-265-8002, eclipticbrewing.com. Noon-8 pm Tuesday-Wednesday and Sunday, noon-9 pm Thursday-Saturday.

SHINING STAR | It’s not easy for a brewery to stay fresh and exciting while approaching its 10th birthday, but Ecliptic Brewing remains as vital as the day it opened in 2013 at the southern edge of the Mississippi Avenue corridor. Ecliptic owner and brewmaster John Harris built his résumé crafting some of Oregon’s best-known ales and lagers for the likes of McMenamins, Deschutes Brewery, and Full Sail before opening the cosmos-inspired brewpub—and has since earned acclaim for routinely crafting creative takes on a variety of beloved styles; floral West Coast IPAs, fruity sour ales, and crisp lagers are all on tap. Collaborations with high-profile colleagues (such as Portland’s Baerlic Brewing and Bend-based Boneyard Beer), seasonal releases, and pub-only offerings keep the tap list fresh and encourage repeat visits. Enjoy your pints in the space-themed taproom (also home to an expansive patio) or at the spacious Moon Room in the Buckman neighborhood. MATT WASTRADOWSKI.

DRINK THIS: Ecliptic’s well-balanced Phaser Hazy IPA dials back the tropical notes and chewiness so common among hazys for a more fruit-forward experience bursting with vibrant citrus flavors.

Ex Novo Brewing

2326 N Flint Ave., 503-894-8251, exnovobrew.com. 4-9 pm Monday-Thursday, 2-9 pm Friday, noon-9 pm Saturday, 2-9 pm Sunday.

FUTURE EX | In March, the owner of this popular Eliot neighborhood brewpub shocked the beer community by announcing he would be pulling out of Oregon to focus on Ex Novo’s operations in New Mexico. Since both the flagship location and a Beaverton spinoff are now on the market, get to one of them sooner rather than later since there’s no telling how long they’ll be around. Expect a whole gamut of beer styles that will please everyone, from hop heads, who will go for the West Coast Eliot IPA, to those in the mood for an easy drinker—Perle Haggard, a traditional German-style Pilsner, should hit the spot. Looking for something different? Order the awesomely named Cactus Wins the Lottery, a Berliner Weisse made with prickly pear that’s tart and effervescent. The original space, with its industrial accents and exposed-beam ceiling, is an inviting spot for pre- and postgaming when you have tickets to a Blazers game or Moda Center concert. But be warned: The joint fills up fast on event nights. KERRY FINSAND.

DRINK THIS: If malty beers are your thing, be sure to check out the Great American Beer Festival award-winning Sons of Scotland, a Scotch-style ale that is rich and sweet.

Grains of Wrath PDX Brewery & Taproom

3901 N Williams Ave., Suite A, 503-954-3786, gowbeer.com. 2-9 pm Monday-Thursday, 2-10 pm Friday, noon-10 pm Saturday, noon-9 pm Sunday.

THRASH BAND | The heavy metal theme at Grains of Wrath’s Camas, Wash., headquarters carries on at the much smaller satellite operation in Portland. This was previously Lompoc Brewing’s Sidebar, always a dimly lit space with minimal exposure to ambient light. That general scenario works well for the heavy metal motif, which comes across nicely here. There is, of course, outside seating that patrons can enjoy during the warmer months. The beer list rotates seasonally and includes good variety. Although GOW may be best known for its award-winning IPAs, the brewery is far from a one-trick pony. Not everything on the board is brewed here; some of the beers are produced across the river. The kitchen is small, shoehorned into a former office. As such, the food selection is limited, a subset of the more sprawling menu at the Camas pub. PETE DUNLOP.

DRINK THIS: Frost Hammer is a crisp, clean helles that works well on its own or with food.

Occidental Brewing

6635 N Baltimore Ave., Suites 100-102, 503-719-7102, occidentalbrewing.com. 4-9 pm Wednesday-Friday, 2-9 pm Saturday, noon-7 pm Sunday.

WESTERN STAR | Working in the shadow of the St. Johns Bridge, the founders of Occidental chose to sidestep the Western IPA trend when the brewery was founded more than a decade ago. Ben and Dan Engler’s German-style beers, including the helles and Pilsner, are still easy-drinking affairs, but some of the best beers at Occidental are the ones you may not already know. The smoky Rauchbier Spezial is reminiscent, somehow, of kielbasa. The Gose is tart and sour in the gentlest way, a perfect starter beer for those wanting to dip their toe into that style. Occidental’s cavernous space is unmistakably a warehouse, but the vibes are friendly, the seating ample, and board games plentiful. The Urban German Wursthaus across the parking lot serves fortifying sausages and schnitzel should you require sustenance of the non-potato chip variety. ALEXANDER BASEK.

DRINK THIS: Occidental’s Hefeweizen and Pilsner remain at the top of their respective games.

Second Profession Brewing

668 N Russell St., 503-515-8476, secondprofessionbrewing.com. Noon-9 pm Monday-Thursday, noon-10 pm Friday-Saturday.

RE-PROFESSION | It wasn’t so many years ago that Labrewatory operated in this high-ceilinged space in the Eliot neighborhood, but it was long gone (thanks for nothing, pandemic) when Second Profession owner-brewer Charlie Goman got the chance to move in and take over the existing infrastructure—including a 5-barrel Portland Kettle Works system—while making it his own. Goman, a former copy machine salesman who brewed at home before going pro (the inspiration behind the business’s name), first launched Second Profession in the former BTU Brasserie location on Northeast Sandy Boulevard in 2017, running both the brewery and restaurant, but backed away from the food service side of the business two years later. The North Russell Street taproom became available in 2022, and Goman moved in, holding a grand opening in October that same year. He did a bit of redecorating, which included installing a preserved moss art wall and tree branches to make the place a little more inviting. The wide range of draft beers is accompanied by a selection of tequila and mezcal. Food purveyors next door include Tamale Boy (Mexican) and Smokin Fire Fish (Hawaiian). DON SCHEIDT.

DRINK THIS: The And Fancy Things is an IPA in pale ale clothing.

StormBreaker Brewing

832 N Beech St., 971-703-4516, stormbreakerbrewing.com. 11 am-9 pm Sunday-Monday, 11 am-10 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday. 8409 N Lombard St., 971-255-1481. 11 am-10 pm daily.

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY | Portland loves its patios; across the city, brewpub picnic tables fill to capacity as soon as temperatures first reach 60 degrees each spring—and more or less remain bustling until autumn’s first heavy rains in October. Lucky for us, StormBreaker boasts two of the city’s liveliest patios—and both are open year round; the brewery’s first location offers covered seating and a crackling fire pit alongside North Mississippi Avenue, while its spinoff in St. Johns welcomes imbibers with covered, heated picnic tables and a colorful mural that depicts the neighborhood’s iconic bridge. No matter the weather, it all pairs well with a rotating lineup of excellent ales and lagers that run the gamut of styles—barrel-aged beers, West Coast IPAs, winter ales, stouts, brown ales, sours and more. MATT WASTRADOWSKI.

DRINK THIS: Sunny-day patio hangs call for crisp, sessionable beers—essentially StormBreaker’s Total ReKölsch German lager. Faint citrus notes give way to a pleasant mix of grassy and biscuity flavors, with subtle hints of bitterness on the back end.

Upright Brewing ★★

240 N Broadway, 503-914-5130, uprightbrewing.com. 3-9 pm Monday-Friday, 1-9 pm Saturday-Sunday.

GEM, UNHIDDEN | By moving its taproom to the ground floor of the Leftbank Annex in 2021, Upright addressed the issue of accessibility. Since it opened in 2009, the brewery was somewhat underappreciated because its tiny taproom, located next to the brewery in the basement of the same building, was difficult to find. The move upstairs remedied that. Taproom hours also expanded, providing everyday access to one of Oregon’s best breweries. The accessibility theme popped up again in 2023, when a long-awaited satellite taproom opened in the Cully neighborhood on Northeast Prescott Street. Both locations lean on a jazz motif, and a local history angle is amplified at the Leftbank space. Naturally, the beers are excellent. Owner Alex Ganum is the maestro of farmhouse ales and barrel-aged specialty beers. With the expanded footprint and improved access, there has been a modest shift toward more traditional styles. An example is Money Avenue, a hazy IPA that packs a tropical punch. PETE DUNLOP.

DRINK THIS: Spellbinder Pils is light and quaffable, yet full of flavor. It will be a standard at the Cully location.

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