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Beer Guide 2015: Widmer Gasthaus

Widmer Gasthaus

955 N Russell St., 281-3333, 11 am-10:30 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday, .

[OLD AND WEIZENED] The Widmer Brothers are the big boys of Oregon craft. Rob and Kurt's brewery is the largest in the state and a few months shy of the being the oldest. Everyone should tour the hops and vats at least once—it's more our Statue of Liberty than poor unphotographed Portlandia. But the real fun is in the vast reserve program of two- and three-year barrel-aged brews, from stout to brown to the excellent toffee-accented Old Embalmer barleywine, and the brewers' playground of a pilot program. Their 10-barrel pilot brewery is larger than about half the breweries in Oregon, and turns out a mess of experimental IPAs, including X-114, with what was later revealed to be the now omnipresent Citra. They also do a lot of collaborations on that system, including a tartly juicy, half-kettle-sour brew with Gigantic called Craftylicious, or a floral, peppercorned saison brewed with Breakside. A secret I probably shouldn't tell? Widmer sets aside a certain number of kegs each month to donate to local arts and nonprofits. Which means your next poetry reading or horrible performance art could maybe host some free Drop Top.

DRINK THIS: As of press time, the brewery was serving up a pleasantly whiskey-nosed, vanilla-rich barrel-aged version of the brewery's very first beer, the Alt.