What to Drink at Every Brewery in Northwest Portland

Familiar favorites dominate the Pearl, Nob Hill and Slabtown: Deschutes, Lucky Lab and Kells are among the oldest brands.

Kells-Brew-Pub_Julian-Alexander_3 (Kells Brew Pub, Julian Alexander)

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

10 Barrel Brewing

1411 NW Flanders St., 503-224-1700, 10barrel.com/pub/portland-brewery. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.

HI, DESERT | Bend-founded 10 Barrel has made inroads into every grocery fridge you frequent, rendering its flagship lager, Pub Beer, regionally ubiquitous. So it’s something of a revelation to discover how many other brews it produces, like Nature Calls, which 10 Barrel says splits the difference between a West Coast IPA and an East Coast IPA as a “Mountain IPA.” That’s cute, but what might be more relevant is that it’s the smoothest ale I can recall drinking in Portland, with a tempered hop profile that makes drinking it more like a stroll through a juicy orchard than an endurance test of bitterness. That’s a Bend product, but on my visit, more than a third of the 19 beers on tap were brewed on the premises by Madeleine McCarthy—including a floral, piney pale ale called In Bloom that’s noteworthy because proceeds go to Rose Haven, the women’s day shelter on the other end of Flanders Crossing. Look, the Pearl pub has the atmosphere of a gift shop, but as tourist destinations go, this one lives up to the hype. AARON MESH.

DRINK THIS: McCarthy brews a dry stout called An Illusion, Michael (an excellent Arrested Development reference) that’s startlingly light and airy.

10 Barrel (Henry Cromett)
10-Barrel_Henry-Crommet (Henry Crommet)

Breakside Brewery – NW Slabtown ★★

1570 NW 22nd Ave., 503-444-7597, breakside.com. Noon-9 pm Sunday-Thursday, noon-10 pm Friday-Saturday.

WINNING STREAK | Breakside built a stellar reputation long before the Slabtown brewery and pub opened in 2017. The beers had won numerous medals in local, state and national competitions. Slabtown was, and is, a nice complement to the original Northeast Dekum Street brewpub. It’s significantly larger and more open. Natural light filters in and bathes the pub during daytime hours. But the real genius of Slabtown is that it put Breakside smack dab in the middle of a vibrant, high-density Portland neighborhood. Patrons can experience Breakside’s beer and food without making the trip to Dekum. The food is top-notch pub fare. The beers run the gamut of styles. Although the board was dominated by IPAs on a recent visit, Breakside brewers possess the chops to produce quality beers of any kind. The helles seems a likely favorite when warm weather returns, but there’s nothing disappointing here. PETE DUNLOP.

DRINK THIS: Thriving Metropolis, a West Coast IPA bursting with tropical aroma and flavor, was an instant favorite.

Breakside (Hilary Sander)
Breakside (Hilary Sander)
4348_Drank_Breakside (Hilary Sander)
4348_Drank_Breakside (Hilary Sander)

Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House

210 NW 11th Ave., 503-296-4906, deschutesbrewery.com. 11:30 am-9 pm Monday-Thursday, 11:30 am-10 pm Friday, 11 am-10 pm Saturday, 11 am-9 pm Sunday.

OLD SCHOOL | With the disappearance of peers such as BridgePort, Portland Brewing and Hair of the Dog and the 2019 closure (pre-pandemic!) of Widmer Gasthaus, the opportunities to drink early-stage Oregon beers are dwindling. Be thankful then, for Bend-based Deschutes’ Pearl District taproom. The company started brewing in Bend in 1988 and opened its Portland location in 2008 in a 10,000-square-foot space formerly home to an auto repair shop. In those days, Deschutes was by far the state’s largest craft beer brewer. Since then, others like Ninkasi and Hop Valley have caught up, but the consistently high quality that made Deschutes’ Mirror Pond Pale Ale and its Black Butte Porter industry icons has never wavered. The beer has always been great, but what makes Deschutes’ Portland location stand out from other beer halls is the food. Thanks to executive chef Jill Ramseier, should you desire, you can skip the standards—burgers and pretzels—and hit more ambitious offerings like the radicchio-bacon salad or the wild Alaskan coho with spätzle and mushrooms that can compete with the neighborhood’s best. NIGEL JAQUISS.

DRINK THIS: The Mirror Pond Pale remains the standard by which all others are judged.

deschutesmcauliffe Terry McAuliffe on the TeeVee at Deschutes

Kells Brewery

210 NW 21st Ave., 503-719-7175, kellsbrewpub.com. Noon–9 pm Monday, noon-10 pm Tuesday-Wednesday, noon-11 pm Thursday, noon-1 am Friday, 11 am-1 am Saturday, 11 am-9 pm Sunday.

SLÁINTE | Kells, which opened downtown in the ‘90s, is arguably a Portland landmark at this point, best known for its raucous St. Patty’s Day festivities that expanded to two weekends this year and included everything from a boxing match to a beer garden that took over a good swath of Waterfront Park. The younger Northwest Portland brewpub—launched in 2012 by the Kells founders’ son, Garrett McAleese—hasn’t quite earned the same hard-partying reputation, but it’s getting there. There’s live music on Friday and Saturday nights and sometimes a crowd that brings with it college frat vibes. Arrive before the evening rush and snag one of the wood-panel booths with sliding doors and stained-glass windows, the best place to enjoy one of Kells’ classic brews, like the Irish Stout. SOPHIE PEEL.

DRINK THIS: The Kells Pilsner. It’s everything you’d want: crisp and refreshing.

Kells (Julian Alexander)
Kells-Brew-Pub_Julian-Alexander_2 (Kells Brew Pub, Julian Alexander)

Lucky Labrador Beer Hall

1945 NW Quimby St., 503-517-4352, luckylab.com. 4-9:30 pm Monday-Thursday, noon-10 pm Friday-Saturday, noon-9 pm Sunday.

DOG DAY AFTERNOON | If you’re looking for an easy Sunday filled with reliable beers, moderately priced pizza and sandwiches, and a little library of board games, Lucky Labrador Beer Hall is the place. The company may have closed its underperforming North Killingsworth Street pub in December 2022, but its three other locations are testament to the nearly 30-year-old brand’s ability to survive. The owners maintained the open layout of the former Freightliner warehouse when they launched the Quimby Beer Hall in 2006, and even kept some of the equipment, like a 5-ton crane. That means there are plenty of hard surfaces for noise to bounce off of, so you’ll always hear the buzz of other patrons, even if you’re sipping a brew alone. Its rotating beers are traditional, so you won’t find anything coming out of left field. That’s the beauty of the remaining trio of Lucky Labs, consistency. Bonus: You can still snag ginormous cups of coffee from the Quimby Beer Hall at 4 pm. SOPHIE PEEL.

DRINK THIS: The PDX Punch is a fruity, hazy pale ale that’s easy to sip and doesn’t leave you feeling heavy.

Lucky-Lab-Bridget-Baker Bridget Baker
Barleywine-LuckyLab (courtesy of Lucky Lab Brew Pub)

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.