Upright Brewing Company

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Upright Brewing CompanyUpright Brewing Company
Very Good
4,309 Ratings
Upright Brewing CompanyUpright Brewing Company

Type: Brewery, Bar, Beer-to-go

240 N Broadway St, Suite 002
Portland, Oregon, 97227
United States

(503) 735-5337 | map

The Brewery is located in the basement of the Hazelwood/'Leftbank' Building (its history includes a well-known early jazz club, Dude Ranch - an inspiration for the name 'Upright' - read more here: http://leftbankproject.com/the-history/ ) and is Production-Only during normal weekday business hours.

A Tasting Room is open Thu 5 - 9 pm, Fri 4:30 - 9 pm, Sat 1 - 8 pm, Sun 1 - 6 pm, and prior to basketball games at the adjacent Rose Garden arena (Trailblazers only - check their home schedule). Food, when available, is basic: bread, an occasional charcuterie tray or sandwiches (provided by Grain & Gristle).

Added by msubulldog25 on 04-22-2009

BA Score:
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Ratings: 100 |  Reviews: 30
Photo of John_M
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5

Just my opinion, but I really don't see much point in this place being on beerfly. The tasting room is tiny, has no food (despite what the BA info says... maybe I was just here on an off day?), and just a couple of tables (some with chairs, some without). Nothing wrong with the layout I suppose, but it's really not all that conducive to hanging out and having a beer or three.

Have to confess I'm a pretty big fan of Upright beers, and across the board the quality is pretty high with all their beers. Had a redwood lager and a five when I was here, and both were excellent. Otherwise, this day they had 4 regular selections, three seasonals, and one guest beer (the Walking Man brown... for the life of me I can't fathom the reason for having the walking man beer available).

Service was good I guess. Aside from myself, there were 7 or 8 other patrons, and the brewery had one staff member standing by the tap handles, pouring sample trays and 12 ounce glasses for customers. He wasn't all that communicative, but would answer any questions you had, and seemed fairly pleasant otherwise. As one might expect, he was pretty knowledgeable when it came to Upright beers or the PDX beer scene in general.

Prices were good I thought. 12 ounce glasses were $2 for the regular line-up, and $3 for the seasonals and guest beer. Got a 4 ounce sample size glass of the lager and that was $1.

I can see where someone might stop by for a beer before a blazers game, but otherwise I can't see any reason to come here again. Really like Upright beers, but for the most part, they're available all over town. At least that's my impression based on a single visit, but hope to make it here some time when there's a one off or some other rare beer on tap (today it was the fresh hop and redwood lager listed as speciality items.... nice beers, no doubt, but as already mentioned, both can be found around town).

Edit from 2/14. Still don't come by here all that often (for the reasons noted in my original review), but they have expanded the space somewhat, and so now there's a bit more room for hanging out and having a few of Upright's excellent beers. Quality has never been an issue or concern here, but lately their special release beers have been so outstanding, I feel as if I have to give my original quality rating a bump as well. As before though, unless you're in the area for a Blazer game, or unless there is some special, limited release going on, there's really little reason to stop by the tasting room (IMHO).

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.37/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4

this was possibly my favorite brewery out of the twenty or more we visited in oregon on our trip there, i knew these guys were good, but this exceeded my already very high expectations. when we finally figured out how to get down into the basement of this well hidden treasure, i was amazed to find such a humble taproom. almost dingy down there, a working brewery for sure, minimal light seeping in through small basement windows, wet concrete floors, and a sort of split layout, with the tanks and brew house and a smallish bar on the right hand side, and a few picnic tables with tap handles just sticking out of a cold box and a small cash register on the left, no bar there at all. tiny down here, but cozy. we sat among the barrels with a gentleman picking on banjo, very cool vibe in here, and hours passes like minutes. they didnt have a ton of different beers on, but the ones they did have were super heady. the four play with cherries in pinot barrels as life changing, and i loved the hop konducta 2, which was a rye beer with nectarines. oh man, they were so inventive and well done, the barrels and the wild yeasts are obviously a special talent of these guys. it was not busy at all in here, so we had a good chat with the guy pouring beers, humble too, but still engaging. we literally sat here until they closed enjoying the music and being blown away by the beers. pro tip: they also have some meat sticks they call slim jims but are hand made locally and delicious. cannot wait to visit this brewery again, one of the best in portland without a doubt!

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Photo of Mothergoose03
3.46/5  rDev -17.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.25

This was stop #23 for my wife and I on a 21-day pub-crawl from Michigan to N. CA and OR. We stopped here on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy their beers. (Actually we had stopped out front the day before after driving around the building a few times, but did not realize it was the correct place and moved on to the next brewery, so the visit this day was a success.) The brewery is located in the basement of this large red brick building, but there is no brewery sign (or a building address number that we could see) other than a small sandwich board that they put out on the sidewalk in front of the entrance door when the taproom is open.

After winding our way to the basement we walked into an obvious brewery setting with equipment all around. In a corner was a tap arrangement with an employee who was the bartender that day. Five ounce, 12 oz. and pitchers are available, and the price is right at this brewery. Tables are spread out around the area where some brewing equipment is sitting, so you get a true feeling of drinking at the brewery in this place.

We ordered a sampler of 6 of the 9 beers that were available (a cider was also listed), and went back later to get samples of the other three. All of these beers are very well made, and we got bored assigning the same B grades to all of them, but it was an enjoyable ‘bore’ session. There are some packaged snacks available, but no food.

This was an enjoyable experience, and we’re glad that we tried again to find this place after using up so much of our drinking time the day before in our search to find this brewery. We’d come back again when we’re in Portland.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

basement, pay-to-park, cash only (ATM was broken)

Very interesting place - limited seating, amongst the tanks. Some vinyl playing in the background (of course, portland), a one-man operation slinging 10ish taps and a selection of bottles including 4 sole comp's on this particular day. Upright kind of does their own thing - much of it is very quality, though some is a little lackluster. All of the sole comp stuff i've ever had has been mostly great though.

I'll be back, not so much to hang out there, but to grab bottles and go hang somewhere a little more inviting.

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Photo of nickfl
3.24/5  rDev -22.9%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.25

This place is located in the basement of a seemingly mostly empty, mixed use building. There is one small sign on the sidewalk outside and a sign inside telling you to head to the basement. There is also a sign saying they don't take plastic, but they don't have an atm either so you will have to go to a gas station two blocks away if you don't carry cash... get a fucking square reader guys. Anyway, their actual taproom is in a dank basement and seems like calling it an afterthought would be giving them too much credit. I'm sure a lot of visitors think it's cool to get to sit in the actual brewery, but it isn't a very actractive brewery and it just reminded me of the storage closet they moved Milton's desk to in Office Space.

So, the beer is decent enough. Mostly saisons, which were hit or miss, and a Pilsner and red ale I didn't really care for. The service was fine, just one dude operating the register and pouring, but it worked well enough. The selection was a bit disappointing, they had maybe 8 beers on tap when we were there, and honestly that's pretty weak compared to every other brewery I visited in Portland.

Overall, it was worth visiting once, but I'd never bother going back. My least favorite Portland brewery visit, with the odd distinction of having the crappiest atmosphere and location of any brewery I've ever visited.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4

Photo of yemenmocha
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Cold basement location was interesting, and probably provides the most authentic brewery feel of any place I hit on my Portland visit. Once you actually find this place it's nice if there's a place to sit (we had to stand for awhile first) but then the range of samples are fairly good, with several very good beers. Prices were reasonable, and I apprecaited the free bread crumbles for palate cleansing & munching. Their hours are a bit restrictive, which is a pain. Not far from bus stop & train stops either, and not a long trip from downtown by train.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.57/5  rDev -15%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Well, easy enough to find the building...and bit tricky finding parking and then the actual brewery. Go inside, down the stairs (or elevator). It's a barrel room that serves beer. Fine enough

Small. Two picnic tables, a square table and small round top. No bar, just a register and taps with 9 beers flowing. Good local music playing on the old time stereo (alas, not on vinyl).

Service is one person and pretty good. Seemed a bit irked to be working on a Sunday. I don't blame him. Geeks like me seem to show up on odd days.

Beer is really good. I only had 3 tasters (at $1.50/ea) b/c I was driving. But did pick up some bottles.

Not a great destination, but if you like UR beers and want something not on shelves, hit this place.

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Photo of acurtis
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of Jason
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.79/5  rDev -9.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5

This is a bit of an odd place, tucked away in the basement of what seemed to be an office building. It almost felt like a speakeasy. A little disorganized too. That being said, this was still an interesting place that I was happy I visited. The selection was a little thin, but the beer was all great.

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Photo of spointon
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I visited the Upright tasting room on 3/26/2010 while in Portland on business.

First of all, I enjoyed this place tremendously! The tasting room is basically the corner of the brewery, and the brewery is in the basement of an old brick building. Thus, the whole thing reminded me of going to college kegger parties in the basements of rental houses just off campus. But I digress...

There were a couple picnic tables and some folding chairs, but not nearly enough seating to accomodate the people who showed up for the tasting room's limited hours. Many people just stood around, but that added to the "party" atmosphere.

We got a couple of beer sampler trays, which included everything they had on tap at the time. They also had 750s of some of their other beers, t-shits, etc available for sale as well.

The beers were innovative and well made. I can't say I loved them all, but I could tell someone with skill and care is making those beers. The standouts for me were the saison and the oddly named turkey on rye.

Prices were fair (cheap) and the smell of hops being added to whatever they were brewing in the brewhouse that day added just the right vibe to the whole operation. Really a fun experience and one I would repeat often if I had the opportunity.

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Photo of TX-Badger
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of markgugs
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Photo of SDRedDevil
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

One of the coolest breweries I have ever been to. Obviously would have loved more taps but the quality was amazing....

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Photo of MaximumYuks
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75

Photo of msubulldog25
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

In its still fairly brief existence (opened Spring 2009), I've been to Upright at least a couple dozen times - so I feel safe in finally passing off an honest review of the place.

Hidden away in the basement of what's now known as the Lefttbank Building (an odd name since it's eastside location places it, geographically, on the RIGHT bank of the Willamette), a place that has served its time as a hoppin' jazz club, an amalgamate of a plastics factory/showroom and varying functions between, Upright's modest brewery seems a fitting step in the further evolution of the block. Down the elevator, to the right and through a pair of modest wooden doors one goes to enter; caution: this is brewery first, tasting room second. During afternoon hours (when open), a jaunty daylight may filter down through street level grating - otherwise expect an aesthetic that's spartan, still industrial. Of course, people add to the atmosphere; whether it's the humming pre-game for a Trailblazers game (my most frequent visits), the bustle of a special release event, or the quieter laziness of a weekend folksy jam, Upright covers its bases and draws its varying crowds. See the above info for dates/hours when open to the public.

To enter Upright's tasting room is to enter the guts of the brewery itself: immediately to the right are stainless fermenting vessels, straight ahead is a room for storing malted grain, to the left is a small area of benches, stand-up tables and tap handles mounted to the walls of a cooler, all surrounded by aging barrels in varying degrees of distress. On tap there's a bare minimum of 6 beers a-flowing; often add 1-3 more special one-offs, creative concoctions brewed with yeasts strange and familiar, adjuncts from ordinary to absurd. Never once have I visited the taproom and NOT been surprised by at least a couple of their quirky tap handles.

You can't beat freshness, and no fresher Upright taps can be found in Portland. Nos. 4 - 7 are always on, and a variety of seasonals and experimental beers fill other handles. Prices are an absolute steal here; for 8 oz. pours, standards are $2 and even the rarest and oddest of the lot are $3. Samplers are available and so are growlers, all at fair prices. 750 bottles are there, too, priced lower (thanks to avoiding the middle man, I guess?) than anywhere else.

I've read a gripe or two about service, but I've hardly ever had less than 'good'. Ezra (a fine BA and a skilled craftsman when it comes to label design) tends often - not only is he quick to point out favorite pours, but he has an excessive knowledge of and passion for beer. Chat him up, he'll serve you right.

Usually little/no food to speak of, besides the occasional basket of bread or rare homemade charcuterie, so I'll defer giving a score... hint: watch for new restaurant "Grain & Gristle" in NE Portland, an upcoming venture shared in by brewer Alex Ganum...

All in all, one of my favorite 'hidden' beer spots in Portland for any number of reasons. Visiting? Mark your calendar for the days/hours that Upright is open and go... I hope you enjoy like I do.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of claspada
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of DrMindbender
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of RedDiamond
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

In its first year of operation, Upright secured a welcome niche as brewers of traditional "farmhouse-style" beers. These Franco-Belgian-derived ales - saisons and bieres de garde - form the mainstay of their enterprise but otherwise make infrequent appearances on Northwest beer lists. Beers are treated to organic ingredients, open fermentation, saison yeast, and a frequent use of wheat. Most are available in 750 ml capped champagne magnums. Many are aged in oak wine barrels.

Guests may visit the tasting room on weekends and on game nights during basketball season when Upright's proximity across from the Rose Garden provides an ideal spot for a pre-game ale. The tasting room is a no-frills enclave adjoining the brewery in the basement of the Leftbank Building. The gray cinderblock environment dotted with small wooden tables amid racks of oak barrels may evoke a certain casual charm. Others might find it raw and confining. But the cellar atmosphere seems suited to the purpose of aging beers and the plates of sliced rye bread waiting for you on the tables complement the flattering simplicity of the saison style. Beer prices at the tasting room are charitable. Nine beers are offered, food is not served.

Though I enjoy most Upright beers I can't say as I'm enthralled with them. Saison yeast, bottle conditioning, and barrel aging are great ideas. But implementing these ideas into a product line evoking the measure of sophistication they imply is not easily done, and I'm inclined to say that while Upright beers have their merits, their best moments are perhaps yet to come. Meanwhile, best bets may be had in the form of their hoppier beers such as their seasonal saison/IPA hybrid Congo Pale or their regular hoppy saison "Five".

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Photo of bumchilly25
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Taybeh
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

I loved this place...hole in the wall, except you have to walk through a cafe and then past all of these offices, down a slightly winding staircase that seems like it might go nowhere, through a door that doesn't look like it leads to anything, and through a basement hallway that looks like it's used for storing something random, following the smell of beer being brewed the whole time, you finally come around to the little room with a few picnic tables, concrete floors, some small windows up toward the ceiling letting in a little light, barrels, and the taps in the wall right next to a little old-time cash-register...no bar, just a few people hanging out, drinking and talking about beer. The guy in charge was just hanging out, talking to a few other customers -- totally down-to-earth and nice. There's a connected room around the corner with more tables and space, and you're surrounded by all the brewing equipment...it was a great experience. The selection was heavy on saisons and barrel aged wild ales but there were also two lagers and a few ipas. I sampled a few and then enjoyed a pils and a nice barrel aged saison...good stuff.

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Upright Brewing Company in Portland, OR
Brewery rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 4,309 ratings