What to Drink at Every Brewery in Northeast Portland

The area is filled with breweries that have rehabbed old buildings, including an abandoned school, a radiator repair shop, and a church that’s more than 100 years old.

Steeplejack (Aaron Lee)

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.


★ 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

Culmination Brewing

2117 NE Oregon St., 971-254-9114, culminationbrewing.com. 3-8 pm Monday, 3-9 pm Tuesday-Thursday, noon-9 pm Saturday, noon-8 pm Sunday.

BLACKBIRD, FLY | The first time my lips touched a snifter of 4&20, I suspected Culmination would ascend to the upper echelon of Portland breweries. I’ll admit, the circumstances may have caused me to fall harder and faster for a beer than I would these days. The date: New Year’s Eve 2014. The scene: a semi-secret industry party at a yet-to-open Culmination, where the only furniture was a bar frame and a couple of folding camp chairs. As the wide-eyed editor-in-chief of a scrappy beer magazine still learning about the industry, it was easy to get swept up in moments that felt exclusive and brews that tasted novel. But my instincts were correct. Culmination, its founder Tomas Sluiter, and his deep bench of young talent have all gone on to earn numerous accolades, and the tap list still features 4&20, an imperial black IPA that opens as a stout with roasty-cocoa notes before blooming into a bold IPA. But don’t stick to the tried and true. Do your palate a favor and order something that sounds wacky. For instance, the pineapple-cherry dessert sour during my visit seemed a questionable-at-best concoction, but it tasted as lovely as a freshly baked birthday cake. ANDI PREWITT.

DRINK THIS: Don’t overlook another classic, Phaedrus IPA, a beer that tastes as though it’s been infused with the boughs from an entire Christmas tree farm. But while it’s on, order that Last Bite: Pineapple Upside Down. It’s liquefied Funfetti.

Culmination (Henry Cromett)
Culmination (Henry Cromett)

Fire on the Mountain Buffalo Wings

3443 NE 57th Ave., 503-894-8973, portlandwings.com. 11 am-9 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday.

FIRED UP | Wings and beer, name a better combo. It has certainly proved a winning recipe for Fire on the Mountain, the wing joint that opened in Portland in 2005 and later became a brewery with its addition of a Northeast outpost in 2011. The chain has proven so successful for owners Sara Sawicki and Jordan Busch they expanded by opening a second restaurant in Denver a few years ago and are in the process of launching Bend’s first FOTM. On a recent Sunday afternoon, the Fremont brewery had a line out the door as families split generous baskets of wings and friends chatted over beers as they watched the game. Soft classic rock played on the speakers. Seats weren’t hard to find—there’s a covered patio out back. The bar, framed by a large window that looks into the gleaming brewery next door, has 10 taps total. You can’t go wrong. LUCAS MANFIELD.

DRINK THIS: Give yourself a jolt with the Vanilla Bourbon Coffee Stout. It’s brewed with local beans from Spella Caffè Espresso Roasters.

Fire-on-the-Mountain_Julian-Alexander_3 (Fire on the Mountain, Julian Alexander)

Great Notion Brewing

2204 NE Alberta St., Suite 101, 503-548-4491, greatnotion.com. 11 am-9 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-10 pm Friday, 9 am-10 pm Saturday, 9 am-9 pm Sunday.

BERRY GOOD | In seven short years, the Great Notion team has branched out from the original Alberta Street location to destinations near (Cedar Mill) and far (Seattle), which is practically a miracle if you think about their humble beginnings as homebrewers who took over the moldering Mash Tun space. Great Notion is best known for its hazy IPAs, and with good reason. Brews like Juice Jr. are easy to drink, with lots of citrus on the nose, ideal for sitting in the bustling original Alberta location while waiting for food from the built-in Matt’s BBQ Tacos. Anyone who considers themselves a part of the berry brigade will find plenty of fruit-flavored beers to call their jam—just look for anything named after a breakfast food—though I preferred the Double Gold Digger IPA, which drinks like a Pilsner but punches like an IPA. ALEXANDER BASEK.

DRINK THIS: The Riesling Radler is proof that it’s OK to mix grape and grain after all.

Great-Notion_Thomas-Teal_10 (Great Notion, Thomas Teal)
Great-Notion_Thomas-Teal_2 (Great Notion, Thomas Teal)
Great-Notion_Thomas-Teal_1 (Great Notion, Thomas Teal)

Laurelwood Brewing

5115 NE Sandy Blvd., 503-282-0622, laurelwoodbrewing.com. 11 am-9 pm Sunday-Tuesday, 11 am-10 pm Wednesday-Saturday.

WORKHORSE | Laurelwood, like Portland, has seen its ups and downs. The brewery was opened by Mike De Kalb and his wife, Cathy Woo-De Kalb, in the Hollywood District (where Pono Brewing now operates) in 2001, and expanded over the next decade to Sellwood, Northwest and Portland International Airport. But rising rents and market saturation took a toll on the chain, and now the Sandy Boulevard location is all that remains. It was quiet there on a recent Sunday. Well, except for the occasional thud from Celtic Axe Throwers next door, which occasionally drowned out the Eric Clapton being pumped in from the speakers. Laurelwood may have seen better—or at least bigger—days, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sure, the trophy case on the wall hasn’t been updated in years. But the beer list is interesting. And, after a few drinks, your friend’s rambling story about their latest workplace drama might be too. LUCAS MANFIELD.

DRINK THIS: The Workhorse IPA has long been the crowd favorite. Mix it up, if you’re so inclined, with the Pantry Punch, which adds even more fruitiness to the style.

Laurelwood Brewing (NashCO Photography)
Celtic Axe Throwers at Laurelwood Brewing.

Level Beer

5211 NE 148th Ave., 503-714-1222, levelbeer.com. 11 am-9 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday.

LEVELING UP | Driving north on 148th Avenue past Quality Diesel Parts and Summit Trailer Manufacturing, you begin to wonder if there really is a beer garden out there. But, sure enough, it appears: a sprawling brew amusement park with lots of space for kids and dogs to frolic and a delightful high-ceilinged greenhouse that’s somehow both warm and airy. This is Level 1, the original of three video game-themed Portland outlets created by Geoffrey Phillips, Jason Barbee and Shane Watterson, a trio of highly pedigreed beer geeks (Barbee holds a degree in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology). We tasted through almost the entire menu, which ranged in style and alcohol content, from Let’s Play—a lovely dry-hopped Pilsner (5% ABV) that you could safely drink after a midday run to Costco—to Fatality ‘22, a barrel-aged imperial stout (11.5% ABV). Almost all of the beers were delightful, and most were low alcohol, like Sweep the Leg, a rice lager that’s like a Sapporo with more character, and I Am Gruit!, made with yarrow, dandelion and olive leaves, and aged in gin barrels. (“Gruit” is a thing in ancient beer. Look it up.) ANTHONY EFFINGER.

DRINK THIS: Really tough call, but we’re going with Skyward Strike, a hazy pale ale that we could drink all afternoon in this oasis amid industry.

Level (Mick Hangland-Skill)
Level Brewing (Mick Hangland-Skill)

McMenamins Kennedy School

5736 NE 33rd Ave., 503-249-3983, mcmenamins.com/kennedy-school.com. Courtyard Restaurant: 7 am-11 pm Sunday-Wednesday, 7 am-midnight Thursday-Saturday. Boiler Room: 5 pm-midnight Monday-Thursday, 4 pm-1 am Friday, noon-1 am Saturday, noon-midnight Sunday.

STALWART | Even after a quarter century, McMenamins Kennedy School can still surprise. One rainy Sunday in spring, the Courtyard Restaurant had a 25-minute wait, so we went over to the Boiler Room bar, which might be the epitome of McMenamins whimsy thanks to its steampunk tangle of welded pipes and pumps in the balcony. Though less striking than the décor, McMenanamins’ brews are still solid. There’s a reason it still makes Hammerhead and Ruby ales: They’re delicious. Add in newer offerings like Moonbeams & Pixie Dust IPA and The Dinosaur Stout, and there’s something for everyone. The Kennedy School Kölsch is best in class. The only thing that might have improved our afternoon amid all the bent metal in the Boiler Room is a museum dose of psychedelic mushrooms. The place is made for them. ANTHONY EFFINGER.

DRINK THIS: Hammerhead Ale. The dream of the ‘90s is alive in this beer.

Kennedy School
Kennedy-School_Vivian-Johnson_3 (Kennedy School, Vivian Johnson)
Kennedy-School Matthew Singer

Migration Brewing Glisan Pub

2828 NE Glisan St., 503-206-5221, migrationbrewing.com. Noon-8 pm Sunday-Thursday, noon-10 pm Friday-Saturday.

TALKING SHOP | Migration’s original pub sits on a bustling stretch of Glisan that some of Portland’s most beloved dining and drinking establishments also call home. Since 2010, the brewery has welcomed a mix of families, neighborhood dwellers, beer nerds and out-of-towners to its taproom and picnic table-lined patio that is unsurprisingly packed on warm summer days. Though Migration has expanded quite a bit, with its massive Gresham production facility and the more sterile space on North Williams Avenue, the Glisan pub has maintained that small, indie feel, with its no-frills décor, wood trim and pub fare. Besides the patio, the main draw is Migration’s smaller-batch beers produced on the 7-barrel production system inside what’s also known as “The Shop”—a nod to the building’s past as a radiator repair place. Sure, you can sip staples like Straight Outta Portland IPA and Proper Pilsner, but there are more adventurous offerings to enjoy, like a maple barleywine or a nitro imperial Mexican chocolate stout. The easygoing vibe, impressive tap list and consistency are what have kept us coming back to Migration for more than a decade. NEIL FERGUSON.

DRINK THIS: Salty Mule Gose would be a fairly straightforward take on the underrated style were it not for the pleasing addition of fresh hibiscus, lime and ginger. Hovering around 4% ABV, this is the ultimate summer sipper.

migration brewing_Finder2019_drink Migration Brewing

Mutantis Brewery & Bottle Shop

6719 NE 18th Ave., 503-558-4555, mutantis.beer. 3-9 pm Wednesday-Friday, 1-9 pm Saturday, 2-8 pm Sunday.

LOSIN’ THE GLUTEN | Located just east of the Dekum Triangle in the former Hi-Wheel Fizzy Wine space, Mutantis offers a wide range of gluten-free beer styles on tap as well as in bottles and cans. Malted rice, buckwheat and millet are the primary brewing grains (others are used when appropriate) for everything from sours to IPAs to saisons. The airy, well-lit taproom exudes a friendly neighborhood vibe, and the bartenders are patient and knowledgeable. Food from the neighboring Tamale Boy and Ranch Pizza outlets pairs well with Mutantis’ brews, and Tamale Boy does have some gluten-free menu items, but be warned there’s no fully gluten-free kitchen on the premises. DON SCHEIDT.

DRINK THIS: The Mexican Amber Lager is an easy choice, but Mutantis is all about experimentation and variety.

Old Town Brewing

5201 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 503-200-5988, otbrewing.com. 4-9 pm Sunday-Thursday, 3-9 pm Friday, noon-9 pm Saturday.

HOT TIME | New brewmaster Todd Britt hasn’t messed with success at Old Town Brewing since he took over the role in 2022. OTB still makes a textbook version of a hazy: flagship Pillowfist IPA. Of the rotating taps, the Alberta Street Ale, a dry-hopped English-style summer ale, is an all-day drinker. That’s not to say the beers here are boring or self-serious. The Candy Cap Mushroom Ale delivers a crisp punch of umami, while the Council Crest Cucumber Lager is more refreshing than sour or gimmicky. Old Town’s Horchata Stout is polarizing: One friend loved it, while I found it akin to drinking a Yankee Candle. The tavern-style pizzas are a nice asset and make the airy Northeast Portland location kid-friendly. ALEXANDER BASEK.

DRINK THIS: The Mushroom Candy Cap Ale is Old Town’s best and facilitates “fun guy” puns.

Old Town brewing (Aubrey Gigandet)
Old-Town-Brewing_Aubrey-Gigandet_1 (Old Town Brewing,_Aubrey Gigandet)

Pono Brewing

1728 NE 40th Ave., 503-432-8143, ponobrewing.com. 11 am-10 pm daily.

GOOD VIBES ONLY | The proverbial water is always warm at the South Pacific-inspired Pono Brewing, where easy-drinking and fruit-inspired beers dominate the airy brewpub’s approachable tap list. Pineapple Express, the house Kölsch, is brewed with its namesake fruit—while a saison (measuring just 4.7% ABV) features strong peach flavors for a sweeter than usual pour. The rest of the offerings include a mellow West Coast IPA and a globetrotting lineup of lagers; Italian, German, and Mexican styles were all accounted for on a recent visit. (Ten or so guest taps spotlight regional breweries as well.) You’ll find a few pub standards on the food menu, but Hawaiian and Filipino influences promise an invigorating dining experience; highlights include Korean fried chicken, lumpia, poke and grilled chicken teriyaki. MATT WASTRADOWSKI.

DRINK THIS: Aloha Mr. Hand distills Pono Brewing’s essence into one gloriously drinkable beer: Sure, it’s a light-bodied lager with all the bready notes of a German-style Pilsner—but the beer is also bursting with citrus and floral flavors that offset a slightly bitter backend.

Pono Brewing Photo by Andi Prewitt.
Pono Brewing Photo courtesy of Pono Brewing.

Steeplejack Brewing

2400 NE Broadway, 503-206-8880, steeplejackbeer.com. 9 am-10 pm Monday-Saturday, 9 am-9 pm Sunday.

TAKE ME TO CHURCH | Simply walking into Steeplejack feels like a soul-saving experience. The converted Metropolitan Community Church is probably the most visually stunning brewery in town, with soaring walnut brown beams, a bar top made from a salvaged 250-year-old white oak, and a massive stained-glass window above the tanks. During the right time of day, the translucent artwork bathes the space in blue-green light, as if the sun itself were blessing this beer. Steeplejack, which refers to the person who maintains those pinnacles, is on its own ascent. The company has already grown by two locations since opening in 2021. Despite the fast expansion, the quality of the beer remains impeccable. The crackery Adeena Domestic Lager offers subtle lemon notes, and you could easily throw back several in one afternoon without any head-spinning consequences. And the Amelia Grodziskie is just flat-out fun. The combination of applewood smoke and effervescence was like popping a bottle of bacon Champagne. Be sure to check out what’s on cask. During my visit, it was Eversommer, a pillowy golden English pale dry hopped with Mt. Hoods and Amarillos. It was a truly divine experience. ANDI PREWITT.

DRINK THIS: Anything from the beer engines or the Tepache, a fizzy table beer with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg that say “winter,” but the pineapple could easily carry it into the warmer months.

Steeplejack (Aaron Lee)
Steeplejack (Aaron Lee)

Von Ebert Brewing Glendoveer ★★

14021 NE Glisan St., 503-878-8708, vonebertbrewing.com. 131 NW 13th Ave., 503-820-7721, 11:30 am-9 pm daily.

TEE UP | Von Ebert has been on an aggressive growth trajectory since it opened in the former Fat Head’s space in Northwest Portland. That was early 2018. Later that year, Von Ebert expanded into the former RingSide location next to Glendoveer Golf Course on Portland’s eastside. The place was welcomed warmly by golfers, as well as the surrounding neighborhood, when it opened. It’s a beehive during much of the year, occasionally swamped during the summer. The food menus at both spots feature traditional pub fare. While the original location serves as the primary production space, the smaller Glendoveer brewery focuses mostly on small-batch and specialty beers. When owner Tom Cook says his goal is for Von Ebert to be a world-class brewery, he’s serious. The beer list is extensive, and there are plenty of excellent choices at any given time. PETE DUNLOP.

DRINK THIS: There are many fine beers here, but Volatile Substance is one of the best IPAs anywhere. It’s hard to turn down.

Von Ebert Glendoveer (Wesley Lapointe)

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