Westside Beer Bars
The Abbey Bar
716 NW 21st Ave., 222-1593, theabbeybar.com.
This loyally Belgian beer bar has a wonderful little sidewalk patio, three refrigerated cases storing hundreds of bottles at the appropriate temperature, six taps and a bewildering variety of glassware. This is a place for Belgophile beer geeks, and most drafts are imported and priced at the equivalent of $10 per pint.
ABV Public House
23588 NW Clara Lane, Hillsboro, 372-9117, abvpub.com.
Hillsboro's newish ABV is the best beer bar in the suburbs, and right up there with any place in Portland. There's an expansive bottle selection and 34 taps featuring rare pours like Firestone Walker Sucaba and Arch Rock's State of Jefferson Porter. This big, open, industrial-park space has been transformed into a beer hall serving an elk burger and green chile poutine.
213 SW Broadway, 295-1004, baileystaproom.com.
Once nearly a desert for good beer, downtown is suddenly bumping with beer bars. Bailey's is still the best, distinguished by the friendliness and obsessiveness of its staff and its always adventurous list. Not surprisingly, it's far too crowded far too often. So ask about the Upper Lip, the secret second-floor bar.
3535 SW Multnomah Blvd., 244-2617, johnsmarketplace.com.
It isn't a fancy space, but with more than 1,000 unique bottles and myriad to-go kegs to choose from, John's Market is stacked. The beer selection spans continents—you can walk down an aisle and discover Danish milk stouts, Japanese Pilsners and Scottish IPAs. Hopheads beware, as freshness is far from guaranteed.
888 SW 5th Ave., 222-0147, yardhouse.com.
Even in beer-buzzed Portland, a place with 130 taps gets attention. A big selection of suds isn't ideal for freshness, but it's worth taking a group into the basement of the Pioneer Place outbuilding that formerly housed Saks Fifth Avenue. For perspective, Yard House has 50 Oregon beers on tap, as many as the total—domestic and foreign—at Apex. Though the beer list could use another page of one-offs and seasonals, there's no chance even the geekiest of geeks wouldn't be stoked about something here.
Civic Taproom & Bottle Shop
621 SW 19th Ave., 477-4621, thecivictaproom.com.
A spartan space with 12 beer taps and another 10 for wine and cider next to a place that specializes in a panoply of french fries and dips.
North/Northeast Beer Bars
8409 N Lombard St., 283-2243.
There's a psychedelic electro-funk DJ, blacklit restrooms and grandma couches that carry the faint scent of Monday night OMMP meet-ups. By the Killian's Red beer sign (not available), a huge collection of obscure board games and racks of thrifted T-shirts. Plew's is the spot to find rare local beers such as Awesome Ales.
915 N Shaver St., 477-8763.
Around the corner from bustling North Mississippi Avenue, this bottle shop and bar is small, homey and ridiculously friendly. Expect a big selection of bottles, quiet music and plenty of room to spread out and chat while you sip.
1004 N Killingsworth St., 206-4252, saraveza.com.
How long does it take for a bar to qualify as an institution? Sarah Pederson's pub (founded 2008) is lately taking on that patina. Vintage coolers are well-stocked with sought-after new releases. Fresh Russian River kegs abound.
15th Avenue Hophouse
1517 NE Brazee St., 971-266-8392, oregonhophouse.com.
Along with its sister on Hawthorne, this chummy hood fave hosts lots of events.
401 NE 28th Ave., 206-7983, stammtischpdx.com.
The big trend in Portland bars last year was slavish attention to a specific European drinking culture, whether that's the Abbey's massive selection of Belgian beers or Kachka's 50-deep Russian vodka list. This above-ground ratskeller not only has branded glassware for 18 German beers, it has them in 2-liter boot size, plus curried french fries and buttered pretzels served with schmaltz.
3520 N Williams Ave., 477-7689, growler-station.com/tinbucket.
Tin Bucket's proprietary growler-filling system is licensed nationwide because it promises a fast, foam-free fill topped with CO2 that purges the oxygen that would otherwise degrade your beer. Equally high-tech is the liquid nitrogen ice-cream place next door. Why not visit both?
4320 N Interstate Ave., 206-4830.
Yup, we're pretty much tapped out on punny beer-bar names. And yet, if you want a place that has an adventurous tap selection (Boneyard Notorious, Altstadt Altbier, Burnside Hot Chocolate Stout), huge TVs tuned to the game that's only a few steps from a MAX station, it's time to, ugh, tap this.
Southeast Beer Bars
1522 SE 32nd Ave., 234-8888, bazipdx.com.
Too often overlooked on the list of the city's best beer bars, Hilda Stevens' comfy spot isn't exclusively Belgian, but it is exceedingly well-curated. If it's on tap here, it's good.
1125 SE Division St., 234-6012, thebeermongers.com.
The ultimate clubhouse for local beer geeks, Beermongers is a favorite with insiders. Along with Apex—the porch-heavy, cash-only taproom that sits catty-corner—Beermongers is the heart of the beer scene for XY cuspers.
4500 SE Stark St., 232-8538, belmont-station.com.
Co-owned by renowned beer writer Lisa Morrison, Belmont Station is home to 1,200 bottles, all impeccably organized, and an always interesting tap list. The newish back patio is one of our favorite places to drink in the city.
4534 SE Belmont St., 232-2202, horsebrass.com.
The original capital of Brewvana, Horse Brass has regulars who have been drinking real ale under these heavy wooden beams since the Carter administration. It's still a great spot to order a pint and the ploughman's lunch off the water-stained paper menu.
Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom
3090 SE Division St., 971-302-6899, imperialbottleshop.com.
Concrete-floored shops on the ground floor of shiny mixed-use buildings are the city's near future, and we sure hope most of them end up with a place like this. Key features include proximity to top restaurants, a Wine Well to instantly chill the shelf stock, and a friendly staff.
6350 SE Foster Road, 971-279-5876, nwipapdx.com.
On a recent Saturday, the six beers on tap at this FoPo hop kiln averaged out to 81 International Bitterness Units. There was nothing listed above 100, and one beer was a stout. Yup, a pretty typical Saturday at N.W.I.P.A.
8105 SE Stark St., 255-0049, roscoespdx.com.
Roscoe's has an ingenious solution to the eternal problem of keeping an updated online tap list: They just aimed a webcam at their chalkboard. Rough-edged but hyper-functional, this Montavilla watering hole is aggressive on one-offs and hosts epic monthly beer summits.
1410 SE Stark St., 233-2337, facebook.com/BeerPortland.
Buckman's ungoogleable cigar box of brew comes from John Stewart of Meat Cheese Bread. 10 taps, 100 bottles, meat, cheese, bread.
Reverend Nat's Hard Cider
1813 NE 2nd Ave., 567-2221, reverendnatshardcider.com.
Fresh off a round of investment from New York, Reverend Nat's is ready to take over America with Northwest apples. Already distributed in seven states, Nat just tripled its cidermaking capacity and is expanding the boundaries of cider even within Portland, with tongue-in-cheek tourism such as the pineapple-juiced Tepache, apothecary-style Deliverance Ginger Tonic and especially its brilliantly tart "Passion." Not all succeed, but nobody else in Portland comes at cider with the same goofball experimentalism.
Amid a state full of semi-sweets made with dessert apples, Cider Riot's Abe Goldman-Armstrong is the man most willing to play in the Old World funk. He grows bitter English apples in his backyard, next to a cidery run out of his home garage, and also brings in Kingston Blacks from Yamhill County. Alongside high-gravity Plastic Paddys and hopped Everybody Pogo, Cider Riot also makes full-bodied, tannic, yeasty ciders like the 1763.
1212-D SE Powell Blvd., 445-0577, bushwhackercider.com.
America's first cider-only pub is still Portland's most pleasant apple-quaffing spot, a boxy building in Brooklyn made cheerily domestic within, with eight taps that run from the rare local Spanish tap to a pile of Northwesterns, including Bushwhacker's own somewhat inconsistent house product. Try five of them on a $7 taster tray. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for a second Bushwhacker spot in northeasterly Woodlawn in 2015.
Hi-Wheel Wine & Mead
6719 NE 18th Ave., 928-5723, hiwheelwines.com.
It is not wine. It is not mead. It is not cider. Hi-Wheel makes "fizzy wines"—a fermented, carbonated fruit juice that is closest to an artisanal take on wine cooler, in flavors like lavender-lemon and pomegranate-habanero. What are they like? They are spiked, bittersweet, highly effervescent sodas. These easy-drinking summertime spritzers also feel a little like a less-syrupy version of what everybody used to drink in parking lots in high school.
Prospect Bottleshop & Bar
1611 NE Killingsworth St., 971-229-0422
This tiny, spartan bottle shop and bar on Northeast Killingsworth has a better Basque, French and Asturian cider selection than even Basque-obsessed Pix Patisserie, and at lower prices. So uncork your sedimented bottle of yeasty Petritegi for $11 to split, and drink it with killer brisket tacos from La Taq next door.
Portland Cider Co.
275 S Beavercreek Rd, Ste 149, Oregon City, 908-7654, portlandcider.com.
Decked out in wall to wall cedar, Portland Cider Co.'s Oregon city taproom is possibly the most mothproof bar on the planet. The new Oregon city tap room offers up seven house ciders on tap, from a hopped cider to a cinnamony holiday cider laced with a little cayenne. This'll mostly just be a stopover en route to the Willamette Falls, however; the cidery is opening a 28-tap ciderhouse at 3638 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd. by April.