Electric Mud, a hefty and mildly bitter chocolate oatmeal stout that wonât overpower anything on your plate but which is creamy enough to wash the burn off your tongue.
Fifth Quadrant (Lompoc)
3901 N Williams Ave., 288-3996,
lompocbrewing.com. 11 am-midnight Monday-Thursday. 11 am-1 am
Friday-Saturday. 11 am-11 pm Sunday.
The demolition of Lompocâs most beloved outpost, the
gritty New Old Lompoc in Northwest, felt like the fall of Rome. The
tavern and rustic brewery, purchased by Jerry Fechter and late Horse
Brass publican Don Younger in 2000, held a special place in the hearts
of many a Portland drinker, even after the better-equipped Fifth
Quadrant opened in 2005. With its tall, six-person booths and
kid-friendly atmosphere, the Quad is more family restaurant than
hardcore beer bar. In some ways, the transition seems symbolic of the
mainstreaming of craft beer, once for outsiders drinking in a
half-collapsed century-old building, now for soccer dads. The classic
brewsâfrom the hop-heavy C-Note Imperial Ale to the always satisfying
Proletariat Redâremains a local standard. The New New Lompoc should be
open this summer, sans brewery, in the condos that replaced the building
that launched the empire. MATTHEW SINGER.
Drink this: The Foolâs Golden Ale. Itâs crisp, refreshing and perfectly sessionable.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-hops beers.
Full Sail Riverplace
307 SW Montgomery St. (Inside McCormick & Schmickâs), 222-5343, fullsailbrewing.com. 11:30 am-10 pm daily.
Riverplace is like a shot of espresso: a condensed version
of Full Sailâs full-scale brewery in Hood River. While the vast
majority of the companyâs beer has been brewed east of Portland for a
quarter-century, some of the brandâs very best is made on Portlandâs
waterfront. The Portland satellite brewery functions mainly as Full
Sailâs R&D department and is responsible for the Brewerâs Reserve
series thatâs included stouts aged in whiskey barrels from Tennesseeâs
finest distilleries, a fresh-hopped lager and even a top-flight malt
liquor. The actual brewery is only open for tours on special occasions,
but you can glimpse it from the bar inside the upscale McCormick &
Schmickâs restaurant overlooking the boats docked across from OMSI. The
restaurantâs bartenders are surprisingly well-versed in the details of
what theyâre pouring. And, during happy hour, thereâs a burger and fries
for $3.95. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: The entire line
of Full Sail beers is available, but look for whatever is seasonal,
like a sweet and decadent stout aged in Four Roses whiskey barrels.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV, sessionable, sours.
5224 SE 26th Ave., 208-3416, giganticbrewing.com. 3-9 pm Monday-Friday. 2-9 pm Saturday. 2-8 pm Sunday.
I know what youâre thinking, and I agree: Itâs about damn
time Reed College students got a brewery within walking distance of
their Southeast Portland campus. Started by Reedie Van Havig, who spent
the prior 16 years brewing for the Rock Bottom chain, and former
Hopworks brewer Ben Love, Gigantic Brewing has made a big impact for a
brewery that hasnât even celebrated its first birthday. Giganticâs large
but unflashy Southeast Portland location, nestled between a storage
facility and a used-appliance warehouse, is a bit off the beaten path
for non-Reedies, but its titular IPA has nevertheless become one of the
biggest-selling beers in Portland. Every one of Giganticâs ornate labels
is drawn by various local artists, which is a detail we, as good
liberal-arts students, can appreciate. MICHAEL LOPEZ.
Drink this: The Royale Belgian Ale, not so overpowering as some Belgian ales, this pale balances its fruity flavor with a bitter kick.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, food carts near, bike-friendly, beer bottled or canned.
1520 NW Bethany Blvd., Beaverton. 972-1599, goldenvalleybrewery.com. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday. 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
A few years ago, Golden Valley Brewing produced a
barrel-aged ale called IPA V.S. Brut, which incorporated mÃ©thode
champenoise toward the end of the brewing process. It was expensive,
absolutely delicious and hasnât been available since, which is a crying
shame. But the rest of GBVâs selection is wide enough that youâll find
something to like. The IPAs are solid (hopheads will prefer the Exit 57
IPA to the widely available Chehalem Mountain IPA), the Beaverton Blonde
is perfectly sessionable and Tannen Bomb, when itâs available, is one
of the finest winter warmers in the state. The breweryâs newly built
location near Tanasbourne feels generic, with seating only a hunchback
could love, but the Angus beef comes from Golden Valleyâs own ranch. The
McMinnville location has a bit more charm as itâs in wine country. If
you visit, be sure to inquire about that IPA V.S. Brut. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: Tannen Bomb, a malty, complex, almost fruity winter warmer, and one of the best winter ales around.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, sessionable.
Hair of the Dog
61 SE Yamhill St., 232-6585, hairofthedog.com. 11:30 am-8 pm Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday. 11:30 am-10 pm Friday.
Like Young Guns II or the video for Michael
Jacksonâs âBlack or White,â a full accounting of Hair of the Dogâs
importance requires some historical context. When Alan Sprints opened
his brewery in 1993, Americans simply didnât make barrel-aged or
bottle-conditioned beers. Sprints, a culinary school grad and former
Oregon Brew Crew president, found inspiration for his own version of
traditional European ales on a trip to Belgium. Today, Hair of the Dog
makes a slate of regular releases like Doggie Claws barleywine and Blue
Dot double IPA for bottle shops and grocery stores, while reserving
special releases for its taproom and an annual dock sale that finds beer
lovers camped out with sleeping bags and charcoal grills to load $400
cases into Land Rovers. Sprints is a local legend and the type of guy
who gets flown down to L.A. to host tastings at fancy pizzerias. Almost
everything Hair of the Dog makes is impressive, even if itâs not as
unique as it once was. The tasting room is a great place to sample
pricey barrel-aged beers from the kegâor spring for a bottle of the 1994
vintage of Adam, 12 ounces of local history priced at $50. MARTIN
Drink this: Cherry Adam
From the Wood, a decadent barrel-aged version of the classic Dortmunder
Adam that takes local cherries and spends more than a year in barrels.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV, sessionable, sours.
715 SE Lincoln St., 928.4195, harvesterbrewing.com. 3:30-6 pm Thursday.
Spend an hour at Harvester Brewingâs weekly tasting and
youâre likely to meet staunch gluten-free evangelists who will regale
you with stories of rashes cleared and heartburn cured. This is
unsurprising, given that Harvester is Oregonâs only dedicated
gluten-free brewery. More surprising is that, while the beers are not
uniformly solid, some ainât half bad. In place of barley, Harvester uses
chestnuts, roasting them to mimic varied color profiles of barley. This
gives the darker brews a slightly burnt flavor, which is particularly
prominent in the Red Ale. The nutty flavor holds up better in the paler
beers. Harvester doesnât yet have a tasting room, but it rolls up its
garage door for a couple hours on Thursday afternoons and sets up a
table, typically manned by founders James Neumeister (who still eats
wheat) and John Dugan (who doesnât). Ask if theyâve concocted anything
new. On a recent visit, I was treated to a dark ale brewed with Belgian
yeasts; the fruity esters nicely complemented the beerâs smoky notes.
Drink this: Hoppy but not overpoweringly bitter, the IPA has an earthy sweetness and just a touch of creaminess.
Perks: Kids allowed, beer bottled or canned.
907 NE 10th Ave., McMinnville, 472-4898, heaterallen.com. By appointment only.
Before Heater Allen, there werenât many Northwest Pilsners
worth talking about. The classic Czech style is expensive to craft and
doesnât age well, with the best imports suffering from long journeys.
And since Americans often equate them with Bud, itâs a hard niche for
craft breweries to claim. But Rick Allen loved the Bohemian style enough
to start making them on his own. Impressed friends told him he should
produce his lagers on a larger scale, and Heater Allen was born in 2007.
A few years later, Heater Allenâs lagers are regarded as some of the
best in the country. The brewery itself isnât especially
visitor-friendly now, but a taproom planned for a May opening should
rectify that. Meanwhile, Allen and his co-brewer (his daughter, Lisa)
are still trying to keep up with the growing demand from Portlandâs best
restaurants and bottle shops. As clean, crisp, warm-weather beers,
theyâre tough to beat. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: Coastal Lager, a
pristine lager with a bracing bite of Cascade hops. RateBeer.com ranks
it as the best Vienna-style lager in the world.
Perks: Beer bottled or canned, sessionable.
Hillsdale Brewery & Public House (McMenamins)
1505 SW Sunset Blvd., 246-3938, mcmenamins.com. 11 am-midnight Monday-Thursday. 11 am-1 am Friday-Saturday. Noon-11 pm Sunday.
Hillsdale Brewery & Public House was the first brewery
opened by the McMenamin brothers when they started making their own
beer in 1985. Hillsdale may be O.G., but you know exactly what youâre
going to get: eclectic dÃ©cor that looks like it was picked by a hippie
historical re-enactor, non-threatening pub food and a solid lineup of
beers. While theyâre not shy about experimenting with the bizarre
(blueberries, rosemary, fig newton cookies), the McMenaminsâ classic
brews (Hammerhead, Ruby, Terminator) are what we always come back for.
Sometimes itâs OK just to order the beer you already know you love in a
familiar pub. PENELOPE BASS.
Drink this: Thereâs a
reason the Hammerhead Ale has been one of their top sellers for 27
years. With the perfect balance of caramel maltiness and crisp hop
bitterness, the Northwest pale ale is classic.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV.
Hopworks Urban Brewery
2944 SE Powell Blvd., 232-HOPS, hopworksbeer.com. 11am-11 pm Sunday-Thursday. 11 am-midnight Friday-Saturday.
Hopworks Urban Brewery is known as HUB, but it might as
well be HUBBBB. First, thereâs beer. But theyâre also into bikesâlook at
the canopy of frames at the original brewpub on Southeast Powell and
the fact the satellite pub on Williams is called BikeBar. Bands, of
course, play a starring role at the annual Biketobeerfest. And as every
mommy and daddy in town will tell you, this is the place to take your
babies, as there are play areas for the kinders up- and downstairs.
Brewmaster-owner Christian Ettinger points toward his studies abroad in
Cologne as the wellspring for his affinity for family-oriented pubs.
Having made its mark with Hopworks IPA and HUB Lager now in cans, an
exciting Belgian beer program is responsible for those wax-dipped
bombers now on shelves, and if you like the Belgian Apple, get pumped
for the forthcoming proper dry cider for glutards and apple-heads. BRIAN
Drink this: Survival
7-Grain Stout. Yes, the HUB Lager and Hopworks IPA steal the show, but
this oatmeal stout is one of precious few made year-round with coffee (a
pound of Stumptown beans per barrel).
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, bike-friendly, beer bottled or canned.
humblebrewing.com, 753-5975. By appointment only.
A few years ago, Chad Freitagâs young son gave him a
homebrewing startup kit for his birthday. Shortly thereafter, his wife
put him in touch with Scott Davis, a neighbor also exploring
do-it-yourself beer making. Truly, Humble Brewing had humble beginnings.
And, really, itâs yet to move past them, as the men are still operating
out of Freitagâs garage in University Park. If Humble isnât the
smallest brewery in Oregonâas it was in 2011, when it sold a whopping
half-barrelâitâs damn close. But the name isnât just a reference to the
companyâs modest size. When it comes to brewing philosophy, Freitag and
Davisâ mantra is âkeep it simple.â Ignoring the craft-beer worldâs
ongoing arms race for higher ABVs and IBUs, Humbleâs focus is on
sessionability, exemplified by the Chinook Pale Ale, which is
delightfully citrusy and eminently drinkable. Even its IPA eschews
hoppiness. Apparently, the change of pace is appreciated: With their
product now in rotation at beer-nerd dens like Saraveza and Baileyâs
Taproom, Freitag and Davis predict producing about 70 barrels this year.
For them, that counts as booming business. MATTHEW SINGER.
Drink this: The Saaz Saison, an indulgence of the brewmastersâ love of Belgian yeasts, and Humbleâs most popular beer.
Perks: Rares, sessionable
Kells Brew Pub
210 NW 21st Ave., 719-7175, kellsbrewpub.com. 11:30 am-2 am Monday-Friday. 9 am-2 am Saturday-Sunday.
While a shrine to St. Patrick hangs on the rear wall, the
patron saint of Kells has always been soused Irish poet Dylan Thomas. At
night, the Irish-owned bar froths over with blitzed, bro-heavy Timbers
green. But Dylan Thomas, like many a Kells patron, favored hard booze
over beer, and only the pubâs stalwarts are yet aware Kells now hosts a
four-leaf clover of house brews, despite the steampunk display of beer
vats visible from the bar. During the day and early evening, the
burnished-wood, stone-hearthed brewpub is calm, family-friendly and
downright attractiveâLord knows their cleaning crews must be
efficientâbut the months-old brewery is still a work in progress. Their
Irish Red is perfectly passable, if a bit syrupy, but the Irish Lager
has an uncomfortably metallic or even ammoniac aftertaste. The Irish
Pale tastes hollow to the point of existential vertigo, yielding to a
thin nettle of hops at the tip of the tongue. Give them a little time to
sort these brews out. MATTHEW KORFHAGE
Drink this: Irish Red, though gingerly.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, rares.
Kennedy School (McMenamins)
5736 NE 33rd Ave., 249-3983. mcmenamins.com. 7 pm-1 am daily.
Kennedy School is what happens when the adults kick the
kids off the playground. The sprawling converted school has a hotel,
restaurant, five bars, a movie theater and brewery, though the best part
is the alcohol-friendly saltwater soaking pool, accessible to
non-guests for $5. Sleepy McMenamins standards like the Ruby Ale and
Hammerhead are available at all the bars, but go for the unique
offerings from Concordia Brewery, located in the former girlsâ restroom.
Freshmen, beware: Drinking more than a few beers can be extremely
disorienting because the signs havenât been changed since the academic
era. MITCH LILLIE.
Drink this: Any seasonal or special brew.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV.
5115 NE Sandy Blvd., 282-0622,
laurelwoodbrewpub.com. 11 am-10 pm Monday-Thursday. 11 am-11 pm Friday.
10 am-11 pm Saturday. 10 am-10 pm Sunday.
Since brewing their first batch in 2001, husband-and-wife
team Mike De Kalb and Cathy Woo-De Kalb have made Laurelwood into a
local success story. The couple made Oregonâs first certified organic
beer and its sudsâavailable in bottles but often better on tapâare
practically everywhere in Portland. Laurelwood hasnât slipped into
complacency, even if its flagship Hollywood location, all wood-paneled
booths, heaps of merch and loud children, feels a bit like Applebeeâs.
By collaborating with Portland Roasting on a rich and chocolaty espresso
stout (one of the cityâs better coffee beers) and unleashing its house
brewers to craft fresh takes on pale ales (the recent Jean-Claude Van
Pale used Belgian yeasts for a pleasant fruitiness), this brewery isnât
resting on its laurels. With two locations at PDX Airport functioning
like little embassies of alcohol, Laurelwood both welcomes visitors to
this city and bids them a malty adieu. REBECCA JACOBSON.
Drink this: The Workhorse
IPA lives up to its name. At 7.5 percent ABV, itâll get you plenty
sauced, but itâs also got an impressive balance of piny resin and
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV, high-hops.
29380 NE Owls Lane, Newberg, 349-8341, longbrewing.com. By appointment only.
Engineers make great brewers. Retired electrical engineer
Paul Long is another example of this. After a string of impressive wins
at homebrew competitionsâhe received one of the American Homebrewers
Associationâs top honors, the Ninkasi Award, for his Vienna-style Lager
and KÃ¶lschâhe took five gold-medal recipes into commercial production.
Long makes seven different beers on a three-and-a-half-barrel, all-steam
system of his own design. Longâs bestseller is the IPA, possibly
followed by Paulâs Porter. âI call it that not because Iâm vain, but
because itâs not to style, but itâs exactly the way I like it.â
Completely self-distributed, Longâs beers are found in high-end outlets,
including the Painted Lady in Newberg and Portland boutiques such as
Pastaworks and Cheese Bar. BRIAN YAEGER.
Drink this: Paulâs Porter
goes beyond the limits of a classic porter without venturing into a
chocolate or Imperial porter with amped-up roast quality and alcohol
kick. The prodigious cocoa and coffee notes result purely from his
selection of 11 malts.
Perks: Beer bottled or canned, rares.
1945 NW Quimby St., 517-4352, luckylab.com. 11 am-11 pm Monday-Wednesday. 11 am-midnight Thursday-Saturday. Noon-10 pm Sunday.
The Lucky Lab Beer Hallâthe largest of this popular local
labelâs four outpostsâis a great gathering place if you have a lot of
friends, and if none of those friends is particularly picky. Built in a
former warehouse, it has all the hallmarks of a beloved Portland bar:
long, nicked wooden tables; bike racks inside and out; vibrant, eclectic
art; and a gracious patio that welcomes furry, four-legged pals.
Unfortunately, the Labâs standard pub menu of pizza and sandwiches tends
to disappoint, and the beer is inconsistent. A dazzlingly long,
ever-changing beer list seems promising, but the Scottish Holiday proved
sickly sweet and a wheat stout was downright strange. Meet here for a
round of darts and a shared pitcher, then bark up other trees. ADRIENNE
Drink this: The
Copperopolis on cask. It tastes like a completely different beer than
the carbonated versionâwarm, mild and slightly sweet.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, bike-friendly, beer bottled or canned, rares, high-ABV.
The Mash Tun Brew Pub
2204 NE Alberta St., 548-4491,
themashtunbrewpub.com. Noon-midnight Monday-Thursday. Noon-1 am
Friday-Saturday. 10 am-midnight Sunday.
Positioned along Albertaâs main drag, Mash Tun started out
in 2005 as a wood-paneled, high-ceilinged faux college bar
experimenting with a few housemade drafts. Mirroring the neighborhoodâs
evolution, the brewery has come into its own, as a haven for
thirtysomethings whoâve grown out of dives but still enjoy throwing back
a pint and shooting pool now and then. So, too, has the beer selection.
Initially reliant on guest taps and a standard rotation of housemade
reds and pale ales, the brewery, which boasts of running its
three-and-a-half-barrel system completely on renewable energy, has begun
dabbling in more complex recipes, including the light German-style
Meister Bock and the 80 Shilling Scottish Ale, a leathery, medium-bodied
ale made with imported fuggle hopsânot the name of an obscure British
Invasion band, but a bittering agent that lends the brew earthy flavors.
Drink this: The Penfold Porter, an aromatic mash-up of hops from America and Germany.
Perks: Dogs allowed, food carts near, rares.
Maxâs Fanno Creek Brew Pub
12562 SW Main St., Tigard. 624-9400, maxsfannocreekbrewpub.com. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday. 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
You might not catch Tigardâs downtown, which runs parallel
and below Highway 99, unless youâre on your way to wine country. This
literally overlooked districtâs bright spot is Maxâs Fanno Creek Brew
Pub, an inviting establishment nestled right up against Fanno Creek.
Itâs family-friendly (kids get video-game consoles and a play area), and
the beer selection includes a dry-hopped red ale and a wheaty golden
ale cheekily named the Reverendâs Daughter. There are heavier options,
too, including Ivan the Imperial IPA and seasonal offerings. Everything
is solid, if not quite spectacular, but Maxâs has what suburbanites want
and makes a refreshing stop along the Fanno Creek Trail. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: The X IPA, a well-balanced and citrusy IPA that doesnât break the mold, but fills it out well.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, bike-friendly, rares, high-hops.
2828 NE Glisan St., 206-5221, migrationbrewing.com. 11-midnight Monday-Saturday. 11 am-10 pm Sunday.
Since opening in 2010, Migration Brewing has tried to be a
little of everything. The unassuming and nondescript brewpub on Glisan
was opened by Lucky Labrador alum and follows that companyâs community
center-style approach to tavern-keeping. The brewery takes pride in its
lack of pretension, proudly posting testimonials from various
organizations whoâve held meetings there and blog posts with context
about every Blazers game to be broadcast on its screens. Few beers in
its regular rotation will impress snobs, but, for the commoner, the menu
is more accessible than most. Thatâs not to say brewmaster Mike Branes
is afraid to stretch: The Migrator Series rotates experimental
single-batch beers made with âunique ingredientsâ and âoff-the-wall
yeasts.â On a recent visit, the featured beer was the Lord Dark Helmet, a
German black beer Americanized by Northwest hops and, weâre assuming, a
liberal smattering of the Schwartz. MATTHEW SINGER.
Drink this: Terryâs Porter.
Smoky and sweet with smooth, subtle coffee flavorings, it should appeal
to folks who normally dislike dark beers. (Also, kudos on the
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, bike-friendly, high-ABV.
113 W 9th St., Vancouver, 360-696-5521, mttaborbrewing.com. 4-8 pm Thursday. 4 pm-close Friday.
Mt. Tabor Brewing brewmaster Eric Surface knows what a
pain in the ass it is to get from Portland to downtown Vancouver on a
Friday night, one of only two times a week his homey tasting room is
open to the public. He also knows Mount Taborâthe hillâis actually in
Oregon. Yet he wants you to come visit anyway. Opened in Portland in
2009, Mt. Tabor Brewing moved from its origins on Southeast Stark Street
to its current, cheaper Vancouver digs (Surface is a native of the
âCouve) and mainly sticks to the styles that put Pacific Northwest craft
beer on the map. The Bike Lane IPA utilizes fewer hops while the
Butchâs Angry Beaver ESB combines Northwest hops with English maltsâtwo
beers that Mt. Tabor will tell you are worth the wait in traffic.
Drink this: Bike Lane IPA,
purposely stylized at the brewery as an IPA, utilizes subtle hops to
intrigue and satiate even the staunchest of IPA detractors.
Perks: Kids allowed, rares, high-ABV, high-hops.
87304 E Government Camp Loop Road, Government Camp. 272-0102. iceaxegrill.com/mthoodbrewco.php. 11:30 am-9 pm daily.
Sitting on the western edge of the
mountain village of Government Camp, a winter visit to Mt. Hood Brewing
is easiest with a Sno-Park pass and tire chains. Is it worth it? Well,
reviews of the brewery, which opened in 1991, making it one of the
stateâs older brewpubs, have traditionally been strongâperhaps owing
partly to the majestic surroundings. But everything from the barleywine
to the pale ale seemed dull and overly smoky, with the flavors of the
Cloud Cap Amber and Ice Axe IPA on cask offering a blunt-edged
roastiness. A $14.25 fish taco plate with two tacos and a pile of bagged
corn chips seemed overpriced even by resort-town standards. The beer is
brewed with glacier water and everyone is quite friendly, but youâll do
just as well eating up at the lodge. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: The mildly sweet Meadow Blonde which, at only 3.8 percent ABV, is fine for drinking before getting back on the lift.
Perks: Kids allowed, rares, high-ABV, high-hops.
1321 NE Couch St., 971-678-7116, natianbrewery.com. By appointment only.
Natian founder Ian McGuinness decided to
start a nanobrewery with his girlfriend, Natalia, naming the brewery
Natian in Brangelina fashion. Cuteâexcept theyâre no longer an item.
McGuinness started by brewing 320 pints at a time on a tiny
one-and-a-third-barrel system inside an industrial space in the facility
for his day gig at a bottling company. He recently upsized to a
10-barrel system, which explains why Natianâs pint cans are popping up
in more places. While Ian makes other beers, his focus is on Indias:
Everyday, Oxymoronic Organic, Elephante, CuDA and Old Grogham Imperial.
Occasionally, he lightens things up with Undun Blonde Ale and a beer
called Hint oâ Mint thatâs brewed with spearmint and honey. BRIAN
Drink this: Undun Blonde
Ale is on the hoppy side for a style thatâs often frightfully bland. The
nice, light body allows the citric lemony goodness to carry the flavor
beyond chewing hay.
Perks: Beer bottled or canned, rares.
6635 N Baltimore Ave., 719-7102,
occidentalbrewing.com. 4-8 pm Wednesday-Thursday. 3-8 pm Friday. Noon-8
pm Saturday. Noon-6 pm Sunday.
In a town where breweries have made beer with oyster-bed
salt (Burnside), tomatillo (Breakside) and even grilled beef hearts
(Upright), Occidental distinguishes itself by brewing only traditional
German styles. While Occidental doesnât have to abide by the
Reinheitsgebot beer purity law, the styles youâll find in the breweryâs
brightly lit, kid-friendly St. Johns taproom remain traditional:
hefeweizen with welcome banana notes, a refreshing KÃ¶lsch, a chocolaty
dunkel. In winter, look for the dunkelweizen, a rich and satisfying
dark-wheat beer that made it onto WWâs top 10 list last year.
Occidental pours half-liters but its taproom is pint-sized: The four
tables quickly become communal, with overflow patrons sitting
cross-legged on the concrete floor as their toddlers build woodblock
walls around them. REBECCA JACOBSON.
Drink this: The spicy,
aromatic Alt. Most of Occidentalâs recipes call for just one or two
malts, but the Alt uses a half-dozen to get its complexity.
Perks: Beer bottled or canned.
Old Market Pub
6959 SW Multnomah Blvd., Garden Home,
244-2337, drinkbeerhere.com. 11 am-midnight Monday-Thursday. 11 am-1 am
Friday. 9 am-1 am Saturday. 9 am-midnight Sunday.
Andy Bigley and his wife, Shelly, learned how to operate a
neighborhood-centric, family-oriented brewpub during their years at
McMenamins. Inside their own ginormous 15,000-square-foot compound, an
old produce market and cannery, families and sports fans find ample
tables, drinking gamesâincluding pool and shuffleboardâand Oregon
Lottery video poker. (Donât let the kiddies play in that part.) Brewer
Tomas Sluiter came aboard a decade ago and tightened up the recipes and
is known to make some great festival beers like Cherried Alive, the
surprise hit of last yearâs Oregon Brewers Festival. But while hopheads
will enjoy Bombay IPA and chili-heads need to try Hot Tamale, the liquid
star here is Mr. Toadâs Wild Red Ale. Canât be bothered to trek out to
Garden Home? Try the same beers and menu at Broadway Grill &
Brewery, even though it doesnât have its own breweryâ¦yet. BRIAN YAEGER.
Drink this: Hop On is
devoid of a classic style but, at 5 percent ABV yet 87 IBU, fits the
bill of a âNorthwest Aleâ thatâs got great body and is opulently
perfumed with hops. Even Arrested Development fans canât steer clear of this Hop On.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, rares, high-hops.
Old Town Pizza
5201 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.,
200-5988, oldtownpizza.com. 11:30 am-10 pm Sunday-Wednesday. 11:30 am-11
Beer and pizza go together like milk and cookiesâ¦or beer
and cookies, because who wants milk when you can have beer? But while
you might think any old draft would go fine with your slice, it takes a
bold beer to stand up to pepperoni and marinara. Luckily, Old Town Pizza
has it dialed. Tossing pies since 1974, Old Town opened its Northeast
location in 2008 and started brewing in 2012. The beer lineupâwhich
includes all the standard stylesâtrends toward the hoppy end of the
spectrum, with even the wheat beer possessing more of a bite than youâd
normally expect. But when dining on a pesto pizza topped with garlic and
feta, itâs nice to have a beer you can still taste. PENELOPE BASS.
Drink this: The IPAâsuper aromatic and flavorful, itâll stand up to even the most garlic-laden pie.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, rares.
Philadelphiaâs Cheese Steaks and Brewpub
6410 SE Milwaukie Ave., 239-8544, phillypdx.com. 9 am-10 pm Monday-Thursday. 9 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday. 9 am-8 pm Sunday.
For most of its history, Sellwoodâs Philadelphiaâs has
been known for big, greasy sandwiches served alongside imported
Tastykakes and week-old copies of the Inquirer. A cavalcade of
half-interested brewers have manned the tiny system since owner Steve
Moore started brewing in-house in 1994, producing a product drinkers of
the era will describe charitably as âinconsistent.â Quietly, though,
things have rounded into shape. For the past two years, the shopâs
impressive brews have been one of the cityâs best-kept secrets. The
biggest problem now is insufficient stockâwe were teased with an
excellent sour Belgian-style ale that kicked before we could get a pint,
leaving us to pick from a mild pale or a wonderfully fruity wheat. This
problem will soon be solved. Given the continued push for more local
beer, Moore has finally decided to invest in a full-size brewhouse with a
huge tasting room and a separate kitchen. Itâs slated to open just
after our deadline, but weâre stoked for the expansion two decades in
the making. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: The clean and mildly fruity wheat ale, which pairs well with a pizza-steak sandwich.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, rares, sours.
412 NW 5th Ave., 564-2739, pintsbrewing.com. 11:30 am-11 pm Monday-Friday. 3-11 pm Saturday.
A fitting name for a micro-sized brewery, Pints manages to
churn out an impressive array of brews on an adorable
three-and-a-half-barrel brew system. Opened just last year, the Old Town
brewery focuses on âold-school Northwestâ and British-inspired ales,
and at any given time offers 10 different styles on tap. The Seismic IPA
is bright and bitter enough to satisfy hop lovers, while the Harvest
Gold is a perfect starter beer for newbies. The benefit of brewing on a
small system is that it makes experimentation easy, and brewer Patrick
Wadkins seems open to creating some more unique one-offs like the Funky
Monk Dubbel. Swing by for happy hour when pints are $3 and thereâs
likely to be something new and interesting on the menu. PENELOPE BASS.
Drink this: Black Pearl Cascadian Dark Ale. I wasnât sure what to expect from vague CDA style, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, food carts near, rares, high-hops.
Portland Brewing Company
2730 NW 31st Ave., 228-5269,
portlandbrewing.com. 11 am-9 pm Monday. 11 am-10 pm Tuesday-Thursday. 11
am-11 pm Friday. Noon-11 pm Saturday. Noon-9 pm Sunday.
Youâre unlikely to find yourself swinging
through the Portland Brewing Company tasting room on a whim. At 5 pm
its industrial neighborhood rolls up the sidewalks, leaving few cars,
much less people, on the streets. Known as MacTarnahanâs until earlier
this year, Portland Brewing was bought by Pyramid in 2004. Regulars will
recognize holdovers like a wooden sign reading âMacâs Tableâ with a
bell attached. This brewery is still the local master of the amber ale,
and while the MacTarnahanâs standard amber is still available, the
unfiltered, brewery-exclusive Pyramid Alehouse Amber Ale is far better.
Wheat is a language they speak well: PBCâs Berliner Weiss loses sharp
edge as it warms a little, and the nitrogenated Weiss Cream is elegant
and light while offering strong orange notes on the nose. MITCH LILLIE.
Drink this: Pyramid Alehouse Amber Ale, an amber with such an explosive coffee aftertaste itâs hard to believe thereâs no coffee added.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned.
Portland U-Brew & Pub
6237 SE Milwaukie Ave., 943-2727,
portlandubrewandpub.com. 11 am- 8 pm Tuesday-Wednesday. 11 am- 9 pm
Thursday. 11 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday. 11 am-6 pm Sunday.
Most Portland homebrew shops are licensed breweries for
clerical reasons: Theyâre free to show off their products or offer
on-premises customers a pint to kill time while their wort boils. The
tavern at Sellwoodâs Portland U-Brew goes far enough to actually count
as a brewpub in its own right. Not much further, though. Mismatched
furnishings and a menu of grilled sandwiches ($4.95 for cheese, $5.95
for ham and cheese) give PUB the vibe of a divorceeâs apartment. Yet the
beers are above average and the brewers and bartenders are excited to
talk through every detail of any offering. Ultimately, itâs an effective
showroom: You admire and inquire, they make highly skilled manual labor
sound so easy and fun. Next thing you know, youâre in the shop next
door holding a carboy and a few vials of yeast. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: The recipes are
in constant flux given the nature of the business, but look for the
grapefruit IPA, which uses fruit pulp as a bittering agent along with
Perks: Food carts near, rares, high-ABV, sessionable.
Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub (Cascade)
7424 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Highway, 296-0110, raclodge.com. 11:30 am-10 pm Monday-Saturday. 11:30 am-9 pm Sunday.
Youâve probably seen Raccoon Lodge, a family-friendly
public house perched west of Southwest Scholls Ferry Road on
Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. It has a massive sign you canât miss,
especially since it looks like itâs promoting a warehouse-sized strip
club. You might be surprised to learn The âCoon houses one of the
worldâs most innovative breweries, Cascade, and itâs owned by Art
Larrance, one of the cityâs brewing pioneers. The spacious upstairs
lodge is family-friendly, but donât expect quick service. The downstairs
pub, where kids arenât allowed, is vastly preferable, with a timely and
knowledgeable service staff. The food is mediocre either way. No
matter, though, because you should be here for beer. Only two of
Cascadeâs storied sours are available at any given time (though there
are plans to add one or two in the coming months), but the rest of the
selection is enough to make it the best brewery west of the Willamette.
The sours and Oblique series are the marquee names, but even traditional
styles are well-crafted. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: Any of the sours, or any of the Oblique series.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer bottled or canned, rares, high-ABV, sours.
Ram Restaurant & Brewery
11860 SE 82nd Ave., Suite 3050, Happy Valley, 659-1282, theram.com. 11 am-close daily.
In places like Rosemont, Ill., and Meridian, Idaho, a
chain brewpub like Ram can be a local treasure. But Ram International
outposts in the parking lot of the Clackistani mall and around the
corner from the Wilsonville Burger King just blend into the scenery in
well-beered Portland. Ram and its subsidiary, Big Horn Brewing, brew six
flagship beers at every location, from here to Indiana, allowing its
brewmasters to tweak the recipes to their liking. Those beers donât go
out of their way to impress, but remain enjoyable. Donât expect
dry-hopped, crystal-malted Ã¼ber-beer, but the pub does sell drinkable,
no-nonsense beers that wonât put a dent in your wallet. MICHAEL LOPEZ.
Drink this: Big Horn Blonde, a surprisingly smooth, sessionable golden ale.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, rares, sessionable.
206 SW Morrison St., 796-BREW, rockbottom.com. 11 am-11 pm Sunday-Thursday. 11 am-midnight Friday-Saturday.
Yes, Portlandâs outpost of this national chain of brewpubs
owned by CraftWorks (not to be confused with Kraftwerk) makes the
companyâs same four core styles: Cologne-style KÃ¶lsch, Belgian-style
white ale, red ale and IPA. But itâs not all one-size-fits-all. This
Rock Bottom is the only location brewing with hop leaves instead of
pelletized hops, and while all the breweries have at least one dark beer
on tap, brewer Charlie Hutchins chose to make his a hopped-to-the-hilt
CDA. CraftWorksâ only direction for the other three of its eight taps is
that whatever the house brewer makes should sell. The clientele is
heavily business folks at lunch and vacationing families, so you might
find an Imperial IPA or, in the winter, a Coffee Stout. BRIAN YAEGER.
Drink this: Hutchins
Northwest-ifies Rock Bottomâs requisite dark ale by making his a
Cascadian Dark Ale, a very satisfying amalgam of American hops,
including whole Centennials and roasted malts, that still leans
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, rares.
Salmon Creek Brewery/Old Ivy Tap Room
108 W Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver, 360-993-1827, bb.averad.com. Noon-10 pm Monday-Thursday. Noon-11 pm Friday. 4-11 pm Saturday.
First, the good news about Salmon Creek Brewery, now
tinkering with the name âOld Ivy Tap Roomâ: The downtown Vancouver
brewpubâs restroom smells wonderful. Now, the bad news: The main tasting
room sometimes smells like a restroom. Some of the house beers, which
in the past several months included a toasty Oktoberfest and
below-average pale ale, are serviceable. The brewery, which opened in
1994 and was sold last year, is next to and now owned by the âCouveâs
best bottle shop, By the Bottle, which sells a number of beers not
available south of the Columbia. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: Guest taps have lots of exciting offerings available in Washington but not Oregon.
Perks: Kids allowed, food carts near, rares.
6440 SW Capitol Highway, 402-1999, sasquatchbrewery.com. 3-11 pm Monday-Thursday. Noon-midnight Friday-Saturday. Noon-9 pm Sunday.
As the rest of the city blossomed into a food and brewing
mecca, Portlandâs most affluent quadrant became depressingly irrelevant
during the last decade. For Southwest Portlanders, finding a decent bite
means at least a five-mile trip, often across the river. Fortunately,
Sasquatch Brewing is one of the first steps in rectifying that malaise.
Sunk off Capitol Highway on Hillsdaleâs west end, Sasquatch serves up an
impressive array of in-house brews, guest taps and ciders. The food is
even better, with seasonal burgers among the best Iâve had and a âsmall
plateâ of fried chicken and fingerling potatoes that is definitely not
small. The space, while decked in warm woods and tasteful Portland
nostalgia, is a bit cramped when itâs too cold for the patio, but thatâs
nitpicking. Hereâs hoping Sasquatch is around for a while and helps
lead a renaissance of these forgotten hills. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: The Red Electric IRA is a strong take on a ho-hum style.
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, bike-friendly, rares, high-ABV, sessionable.
shortsnoutbrewing.com. Not open to the public.
Named after a pair of pugs owned by brewmaster Brian
VanOrnum, Milwaukieâs Short Snout is basically a homebrew setup with an
OLCC license. The tiny brewery inside VanOrnumâs residence churns out
one beer at a time according to its masterâs whim. Since late 2011,
Snoutâs been selling kegs to EastBurn, Hawthorne Hophouse, Sellwood
Public House and Vintage Cocktail, among others. Recently, that included
a full-bodied stout and a bitter, heady Dank Nugs wet-hops amber. A
blonde and a Cascadian dark ale are expected in spring of 2013, but
VanOrnum says heâs eager to get back to what he considers his bread and
butter: mixed, fruity beers like a vanilla jasmine blonde and a
blackberry porter. Thereâs no public space, so anyone looking to find
brew must check the breweryâs Twitter (@ShortSnoutBrew) or Facebook
(facebook.com/ShortSnoutBrewing) for brews clues. MATTHEW KORFHAGE
Drink this: You take what they give you, bucky. This beer lineâs single-file.
40 N State St., Lake Oswego, 344-4449 stickmenbeer.com. 11:30 am-9 pm Sunday-Thursday. 11:30 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
Give Stickmen this: The Lake Oswego brewpub-themed pub has
the most extensive selection of sake and shochu youâll see in a
brewery, along with a serious wine list capped by a $105 bottle of
California merlot. (Donât be intimidated, itâs only $49 at local wine
shops.) What Stickmen doesnât have much of after nearly a year in
business? Its own beer. Offered an extensive list of offerings from New
Belgium, we had to cajole a waiter who used the word âmouthfeelâ three
times in one minute to bring us something made in-house. Opening with a
failed Kickstarter bid for a âFounderâs Clubâ that, for $2,000, offered a
free pint every day in a âspecial glass reserved for Founderâs Club
members,â this tone-deaf brewery seems like a hard sell even on the
shores of a privately controlled public lake in the center of Oregonâs
wealthiest city. The best feature of the vaguely Tudor building (empty
on my visit) is a large patio with a fire pit and a view of three-story
condominiums. The beer Stickmen does make is not good. Calibration pale
ale, bready pale with a little grapefruit, was the best. But Iâd stick
with sake. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Drink this: There are a lot of very nice guest taps from other Portland breweries.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, beer canned or bottled.
711 SW Ankeny St., 226-2508,
www.d2m.com/Tugwebsite/. 5-10 pm Monday. 4 pm-midnight Tuesday-Thursday.
4 pm-1 am Friday. 5 pm-1 am Saturday.
The Tug is perhaps the most mysterious, misunderstood and
maligned brewery in Beervana. Mysterious because almost no one knows
about it despite its prominent location around the corner from Maryâs
Club, only a block off Burnside. Misunderstood because when customers
walk in and see 18 taps dominated by guest offerings, they might not
understand this is a brewery. Maligned because beer geeksââthe beer
sniffersâ as founder Megan McEnroe-Nelson calls themâhuddle just across
the alley in Baileyâs Taproom refusing to intermingle with Tugboatâs
devoted clientele. Still, Tugboat effortlessly exudes a comfortable and
convivial atmosphere: stacks of old books; well-worn board games; cool
jazz raining down from the speakers, enabling conversations to remain
audible; and a thin trickle of patrons with whom youâd actually want to
converse. BRIAN YAEGER.
Drink this: True to its
name, Chernobyl is a âdouble Imperialâ stout and mutates between 13 and
14 percent ABV. No visit is replete without trying this viscous,
leathery number fit for a Romanovâthough it comes one half-pint at a
Perks: Food carts near, rares, high-ABV.
14841 SW Tualatin Sherwood Road, Sherwood. 625-1700, twokiltsbrewing.com. 3-10 pm Monday-Saturday.
If you think of Scotch ales only as a slight step up from
Newcastle Brown Ale, Two Kilts has something to show you. Northwest
brewers have generally avoided the style, but Chris Dillon and Alex
McGaw have crafted a Wee Heavy with surprising intricacy, abandoning
traditional heather in favor of smokier peat. The rest of the selection
is strong, including a Double IPA that rivals Oregonâs best. Two Kiltsâ
taproom is a treat as wellâan unusually cozy industrial park space with
the rich aromas of the brewing process wafting through the open room.
Thereâs a distinctly neighborhood feel about the place, and Sherwood
residents have embraced their lone brewery with open arms. Dillon and
McGaw chose to settle in this far-flung suburb because of its proximity
to wine country and coastal travelers, a strategy that seems to be
paying dividends. JORDAN GREEN.
Drink this: Scotch Ale, a tasty, nuanced rendition of a traditionally boring style that should win some awards.
Perks: Rares, high-ABV.
240 N Broadway, Suite 2, 735-5337,
uprightbrewing.com. 4:30-9 pm Friday. 1-6 pm Saturday-Sunday. 6 pm to
tipoff before Blazers home games.
Upright began as a straightforward farmhouse-slanting
brewery shoehorned into the basement of the Leftbank Building. Itâs
since gone far beyond its four core beers, taking its affinity for jazz
to some next-level stuff by improvising dozens of rare beers often
riffed as part of the Sole Composition series. Pop down into the tasting
room during weekend hours (or face the crush of a Blazers pregame
crowd) to see, taste and listen to live blues where the magic
happensâitâs part bunker, part beer cave. What youâll find on draft may
entail local fruits such as boysenberries, beers matured in any type of
spent cask including gin barrels, or maybe actual animal bits like
oysters or beef hearts. Yes, beef hearts in beer. Fear not, the simple
Engelberg Pilsner contains no offal. If you can find a bottle of
Fantasia, made to resemble a peche lambic, itâs awfully good. BRIAN
Drink this: For something
new and exotic, look to the Sole Composition series as well as the
Tribute series honoring local brewers, most recently Blend Edmunds,
comprising barrel-aged versions of Four (saison) and Six (rye saison)
with added fruit and wild yeast for a result thatâs approachably tart.
Perks: Beer bottled or canned, high-ABV, sessionable, sours.
21420 NW Nicholas Court, Suite D-7, Hillsboro, 645-6644, vertigobrew.com. 4-8 pm Wednesday-Friday. Noon-6 pm Saturday.
While Vertigoâs beer titling might be more appropriate to
Blizzard flavors, this humble Hillsboro upstart has built a considerable
reputation in Portland beer circles. The lack of pretension from these
former Intel employees is especially refreshing. Standouts like Razz
Wheat (a rich manâs version of McMenaminsâ Ruby) and Apricot Cream Ale
are as good as fruit beers get short of turning sour. The worst thing
about Vertigoâs clean and well-lit tap room is finding it, as itâs
tucked back in an industrial park just east of Cornelius Pass Road.
Vertigo isnât reinventing the wheel here, but what they do, they do
well. Homebrewers, take note: Vertigo is a quarter-mile from Brew
Brothers, a homebrew shop with plans to open a brewery of its own.
Ronler Acres may soon be known for more than just microchips. JORDAN
Drink this: Arctic Blast, a lightly hopped, burly porter brewed with Madagascar vanilla bean.
Perks: Dogs allowed, beer bottled or canned, rares, high-hops.
240 1st St., Stevenson, Wash., 509-427-5520. 4-9 pm Wednesday-Thursday. 3-9 pm Friday-Saturday. 3-8 pm Sunday.
Although itâs about 45 minutes east of Portland in
Stevenson, Wash., Walking Man Brewing has long been a favorite among
in-the-know Portland drinkers. With a rotating selection of 50-plus
recipes, thereâs sure to be something to intrigue at any given time. The
Flip Flop Pils has a sweet honey aroma and crisp, bitter finishâa
perfect post-hike beverage. The Black Cherry Stout is dessert in a
glass, and the Tar Heeler smoked black lager is like drinking a cigarâan
acquired taste. So should you find yourself coming back from a trip to
the Gorge or just jonesing to get out of town, Walking Man is worth a
visit. But you might want to make plans for the night, because after the
40-ounce taster tray you wonât even be standing, let alone walking.
Drink this: The
Knuckledragger American Strong Ale, supposedly more than 100 IBUs,
because you already drove almost an hour, so why the fuck not?
Perks: Dogs allowed, kids allowed, full menu, rares, high-ABV, high-hops.
929 N Russell St., 281-2437, widmerbrothers.com. 11 am-10:30 pm Sunday-Thursday. 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
A brewery doesnât establish itself as a marquee name in
one of the countryâs pre-eminent beer cities by luck and happenstance.
No, Widmer Brothers worked hard and smart to burnish its reputation for
consistency and ingenuity. Yes, the excitement once generated by
everything Widmer does has waned as Portland has filled with
up-and-coming craft breweries. However, Widmerâs beers, many of them
honoring the familyâs German heritage, have a workmanlike polish thatâs
helped secure their widespread popularity. Whatâs most fascinating about
Widmer, perhaps, is how the first beer brothers Rob and Kurt ever
brewedâan Altâstill holds a place amid the myriad styles they brew now.
Drink this: Doppelbock, while 8.5 percent ABV, is a well-balanced beer that finishes clean and crisp, thanks to its use of lager yeast.
Perks: Kids allowed, full menu, bike-friendly, beer bottled or canned, high-ABV.