Taster Magazine is Out Now! (Michael Raines)

WW’s Guide to Beer, Wine and Spirits

Taster Magazine is here!

Before moving to Portland almost two decades ago, drinking was part of my life only in the sense that bars were one of the places where adults went to socialize. We congregated there, shouted over too-loud music, and nursed a drink or two. The best part of the night was always the end, when we would invariably end up at the nearest diner, agreeing that bars would be a lot more appealing if they served grilled cheese.

So when one of my first nights out in Portland involved a heated bar patio and five grilled-cheese fingers served with a wee bowl of tomato soup, I thought, Yes, this. That thought echoed many times as I settled into life in the city. Movie theaters and laundromats with microbrews? Yes, this. Arcades where you can grab a PBR in between rounds of Galaga? Yes, this. Bartenders who would, if things weren’t too hectic, say, “Give me two ingredients you like,” and whip up something amazing? Yes, this.

Taster Magazine

You don’t need to be a drinker to appreciate that Portland’s bar culture mirrors the best aspects of the city: creative, entrepreneurial, experimental, weird. Taster is geared toward the beginner: the new residents, the finally-turned-21s, the people looking to find a place that feels like theirs. It’s designed to make the sheer number of venues feel less daunting and more discoverable. There are explainers on wine pairing and sake, as well as recommendations of places to learn much more about both. There are listings meant to help you find the people you want to drink with—at sports bars, queer-friendly board-game breweries, wine bars that double as art galleries. And there are insights from the people who brew, distill, and mix the things we love to drink.

Taster also features the results of this year’s Oregon Beer Awards, the Willamette Week–powered competition that since 2015 has been awarding gold, silver, and bronze medals to the state’s most outstanding beer at an annual, sold-out ceremony at Revolution Hall. The winners, judges, and entrants are a testament to the work, dedication, and pride that goes into Oregon’s world-class beer. But the rest of the guide contains no power rankings or top honors. It’s also not an exhaustive directory of every place to get a drink in the city (we’ve got a page count to stick to). Taster is a snapshot of what Portland drinking looks like right now, and even as it goes to press I’m aware of how many new establishments aren’t mentioned here, and how many old favorites have shuttered in just the past year.

Taster celebrates the many ways Portland makes its drinkers—and its non-drinkers, for that matter—feel welcome, or transported, or taken care of, or just delighted. Spring is here, patios are open, and somewhere in this city you are going to drink a glass of something and think, Yes, this.

Taster Magazine is Willamette Week’s new guide to the best of beer, wine and spirits in Portland. It is free and can be found all over Portland beginning Wednesday, April 17, 2024. Find your free copy at one of the locations noted on this map, before they all get picked up! Read more from Taster magazine below.




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