Horse Brass Pub


105 Reviews
Horse Brass PubHorse Brass Pub

Type: Bar, Eatery

4534 SE Belmont St
Portland, Oregon, 97215-1636
United States

(503) 232-2202 | map

Weekdays: 11:00am -2:30am
Weekends: 9:00am - 2:30am

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Reviews: 105 | Ratings: 144
Photo of jera1350
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

This was our second beer related stop in Portland. The place is large, dark, rustic and historical feeling which I feel is awesome. Pretty empty on this early afternoon, so we sat at the bar and had awesome service from the bartender. He had great beer advice and explanations, food recommendations and even sight seeing options in the neighborhood and state. Very, very nice and personable guy.

Beer selection is huge with a wide variety of beers including lots of local/regional options. Two cask brews on which we took advantage of, a couple of nitro beers as well. Beers were all very good quality.

Food here was awesome. British food that tasted very authentic with many things being homemade. We had the vegetable pastie and steak and kidney pie which were both awesome and tasted authentic. They accidentally made an extra order of fish and chips which they gave to us on the house. I have to say that the fish and chips was one of the best things I have eaten on our trip and I'm not even a big fish and chips fan. This was amazing though.

Can't recommend this place enough. We may have to make another stop here before we leave town.

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Photo of JBetz
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Horse Brass is everything I look for in a pub. Warm, worn, wooden, dimly lit atmosphere with crowds of people who call it home. The servers here are knowledgeable and seem to always recommend a great beer for me. Tons of new beers on tap, changed out frequently with many new guest beers both local and from afar. I come here regularly to meet with a group to talk about all things you're not supposed to talk about in bars (religion, politics, etc.) and always leave feel elevated. A great place.

Food is english pub food. Nothing to write home about, but it always feels good.

Dart boards in the wings and plenty of space at long wooden tables spread all around.

If you're in Portland, I highly recommend it. One of my favorite places in the city for a good pint.

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Photo of yuriruley
3.68/5  rDev -14.4%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4 | service: 2.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

I didn't like the atmosphere as much as I thought I might. But, it wasn't bad.

The quality of the beers I had from there were good, and the food was decent.

Service was not great. The waitress was in a bad mood, brought us three different beer lists, and then got mad at us when we didn't know which beers were on or tapped out. She did bring us stuff pretty quickly, but was not a pleasant person.

They had a pretty decent selection of stuff when I was there.

Food was decent, as previously mentioned.

Prices seemed reasonable.

I know it is kind of an iconic place in Portland for beer, but it is far from my favorite out of all the places Portland has to offer. It was worth going to, and I'd probably go again if I was in the area. But, I wouldn't go out of my way to go again. Admittedly, this is mostly due to the service we received.

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Photo of gkunkle
4.95/5  rDev +15.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This is by far my favorite place to enjoy a pint in portland. This bar feels comfortable. Classic old school far furniture and wood accents give it a welcoming feeling. I like to play a little game with myself where I try to spot Winston Curchill from wherever I am sitting in the bar. There aren't any TVs, so this isn't a place to watch sports. The only entertainment is the four dartboards, labled 1,2,4 and 5. The staff is nice, and they generally know their beer. My guess is that if any of them aren't beer nerds, they do their homework on the beers they have on tap. Beer selection is always great, I have never walked in and been able to easily pick which beer I want, there is always a lot of great options. The food at the brass is decent, it's generic pub food. I can say I've never been dissapointed, but I always get the same burger, so saying that doesn't hold much weight. The fries are always good too, if you are going to be around for a while drinking, get yourself some French fries, they are cheap and delicious and prevent you from drinking on an empty stomach.

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Photo of Hotlanta
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I had 1 day to spend in Portland so this was at the top of my list.

This place has the decor and atmosphere that a lot of pubs in the US try to achieve and fail. This is pretty authentic.

It was early on a weekday when I stopped by. Some people drinking coffee, most drinking beer. Might have been a little busier then they expect on a cold Tuesday morning, so the service was a little slow, but I never had an empty glass.

Selection and prices were right where I would expect from a world class pub. My only complaint is that there were more beers on the tap list than my sobriety could afford.

Wife and I split the scotch egg, sausage roll, and the cheese plate. Nothing spectacular, but definitely a step up from greasy pub food. The sweet/spicy mustard was really good. Only complaint about the entire visit is that there was some odd smell next to our table.

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Photo of cbarrett4
4.3/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 2

Come for the beer, not the barely acceptable pub fare food.

The atmosphere is nice but often you get overwhelmed with the fried fish and vinegar smell. Sometimes there is a lovely odor from the bar/bathroom area, so I recommend sitting farther back or around the side of the bar. But the place is always hopping and the buzz is intoxicating on its own.

The beer selection is hands down among the best in Portland. They rotate taps constantly and also have listed what brews are coming to tap.

Only Henry's Tavern has a better tap list, but Henry's is a little 'frat-tastic' and Horse Brass is a lot more the local slice of Portland. A place I regularly visit for the great beer, good service, and insanely knowledgeable bartenders.

Of note: On one visit the bartender started talking hops to me. I expressed a desire to really understand some of the differences between hops and the bartender (since it wasn't too busy) took some time to pour my roommate and I several small tastes and guide us through a mini tasting to grasp the nuances of a few single hop beers. It's little things like this that keep me coming back to an establishment.

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Photo of ROBPIII
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I visited my folks in Portland for the summer and was lucky enough to kick it at the Horse Brass Pub. Each visit was mid-day, nothing much going on except for good friends visiting over good beer. The "sir" at the bar is what I wish all bartenders are - old men who have seen it all with a love of good people and good beer. After putting down a Pliny the Elder and an Old Rasputin we ordered some killer fish n chips and enjoyed our full bellies for a bit. I wish I had an authentic pub in my town in Texas but when I head back to the Pacific NW I will defiantly be back at the Horse Brass.

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Photo of Clembo1957
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

If i lived in Portland i think i'd adapt the Horse Brass as my local and i can't recommend the place higher than that. Ok it's an English style pub and i'm English but i rated the place for it's atmosphere, the friendliness of the staff and for it;s selectiion of beers. we visited on a lunchtime so the bar wasn't too busy with people coming in for lunch and beers. The staff were friendly and told us the history of the pub and how many of the fittings had come from the Princess of Wales pub in south London and also told us about the now sadly deceased owner Don Younger. We felt immediately at home here. there are so many pubs and brewpubs in Portland but if i was lucky enough to live in the city i think i'd make the Horse Brass HQ!

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Photo of zhanson88
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Another beer related stop on my trip to Portland. Was very excited to come here.

Atmosphere: This was a cool place. I'm not sure what a "classic English pub" actually looks like, but this fits pretty well into my imagination.

Quality: The beer and food tasted fresh. Good quality.

Service: The service was decent. Had a couple fairly long waits but nothing too bad. The waiter was an interesting personality, but not a turn-off I suppose.

Selection: For IPA selection, this is definitely the place to come. Tons of very high quality IPAs. However, it was a little too IPA heavy for me, I wish that they had some darker/maltier/just less hoppy beers to offer.

Food: The food was pretty damn good. I had the beef and mushroom pie, and the girlfriend had the fish and chips. The fish and chips especially were incredible. Great English pub fare.

Overall, I liked the place a lot and would definitely go again. Not my favorite beer related place that I went to in Portland but still very good.

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Photo of cavemanlawyer
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Ahh the 'Brass. A Portland institution. It has to be on the list for anyone coming to Portland for a beer bar tour. The Horse Brass is really Portland's original craft beer bar. Don Younger set out to offer a true craft brewing lineup for his guests, and the tradition continues.

One of my favorite things about the Horse Brass is the great selection of beers on Cask. At any given moment there are usually three to four beers on cask. So smooth and delicious.

Another favorite is the fish and chips. Some of the best in the city, and at lunch you can get them for $7. Great deal.

They usually have at least one offering from Russian River which is nice. On a recent trip the Elder had just kicked but was replaced with Supplication. Nice.

The atmosphere is classic old pub, including the musty smell. I don't mind the dark lighting and everything but it would be nice if they could take care of the musty smell.

Service is always top notch. Quite friendly and knowledgeable, always willing to point out a hidden gem on the menu.

If you are visiting Portland, I highly recommend you stop by for a pint.

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Photo of Dunkelhund
4.68/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

The Horse Brass has an elusive quality of character that many other pubs and taverns aspire to achieve. Beyond having an outstanding selection of beer and great food, the Horse Brass immerses you in an atmosphere that is rare to find even in a city with such terrific choices. The furnishings and the decor are outstanding and the menu offers some excellent food. The personality of the place also stands out in the service and is a credit to the spirit of the pub.

The beer selection is top-notch. Hair of The Dog and I got to be good friends here and I also love the variety of great stouts. This is where to go if you want to be assured of getting a good beer on tap and enjoy drinking it in an excellent traditional style pub. I love it and Horse Brass is without a doubt someplace I know I will enjoy each time I visit.

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Photo of guajolote
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Pretty much everything I could say about this place has already been said. Basically, if you're a beer geek, you won't be disappointed in the Horse Brass.

The vibe is low-key, the food is very good and the beer selection, which is the most important thing, is top notch.

I've never been here on a weekend night, so I can't comment on how crowded it may or may not get, but every time I've visited I've had no problem finding a seat or getting service.

I"d echo what a lot of other people feel about this place: The Horse Brass Pub is a must-visit beer institution if you're a beer geek living in, around or visiting Portland.

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Photo of clonebrewer
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

After much BA research I decided this place was a can't miss during my business trip to Ptown. Took a cabbbie down on Friday about 7pm and the place was nuts to butts. Found an open chair at the bar and swiftly struck up conversation with a fellow BA. Awesome freaking tap list with blind pig and some racer 5 on cask. Fish and chips were delish. I really hope this institution continues its awesomeness in the absence of Mr. Younger. For a Guy from Iowa the Portland scene is just unreal. This place is highly regarded as an institution and it should be. If you have not been here you need to check it out.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I was just looking for my review, and realized...damn...I've never written one. Within 12 hours (or so) of the Immortal Don Younger's passing, I'll post now.

Between the years 1999 (when we moved to Portland) and 2008, I could count the visits to the venerable Horse Brass on one hand (well, maybe two), despite being a burgeoning fan of craft beer. Something about the smoke, er, I mean the ~~~SMOKE~~~. As a lover of clean air I guess we chose to avoid the place for it's acrid layer of fogginess... and that was OK.

After a Jan 1, 2009 ban on all things smoky + indoors, things changed; we actually LOVED The Horse Brass (despite the protests of publican Younger and his veiled threats to close the place should the banning law pass). We visited the Horse Brass at least once a month since.

So here you have, in my opinion, what could be the most 'authentic-feeling' pub this side of England. Behind an unassuming facade of red brick lies a true gem: blackened wood floors, nooks and crannies galore, booths and benches, yellowed club banners and dart boards. It's a thirty (plus)-year-old pub that feels every bit of a hundred-year-old pub. Behind a mug-strewn, fairly untidy bulk of a bar, 50 or so taps and a healthy selection of cask handles are all manned by an able and often affable barman. Often Mr. Younger was found occupying a stool 'round the right end of the bar. A dark (and frankly kinda dingy) feel, but 'real'...

Horse Brass has its fair assortment of 'house' beers, among them those of Hair of the Dog; it's one of the few places you can always procure a pint of Blue Dot IPA. Besides that, the regular assortment of fine British cask ales can't be beat. Never look at the on-line (of late) taplist, because it's liable to have changed a few times over.

For all the times, I've visited (whether for the occasional Pub Night, the tour for the out of town guest, the late-afternoon 'lunch' or whatever) I've never been anything less than 'comfortable'. Entering Horse Brass feels like 'home' for a beer-drinker, and lovely, oft greasy, comfort foods like the infamous Scotch Egg or, frankly gorgeous, Fish & Chips only extend that vibe.

An institution, and a 'must-visit', when in Portland. It'll just be a little lonelier now that Don's physical presence isn't lingering at the bar... though I trust his spirit will hang around a long, long while...

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Photo of oregone
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

A knockout joint really without being distinctive in any individual category (except being a damn good value!). Good selection of brews, and pricing is very solid. I mean, $5 for an imperial of Fred? That's stupid cheap and invites wanton debauchery. Solid pub fare (scotch eggs!) that delivers the necessary satisfaction for a style that will never wow, but does so veeery affordably. This place is cheap for what you get. Atmosphere is warming and comfortable. Nailed the pub feel. Service was slow/mediocre but knowledgeable which compensates somewhat.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Great selection of ales, both local and regional. It was also refreshing to have a server know something about the beers, and to recommend an IPA from actual drinking experience. Full Imperial pints were served as well, which is the way it should be.

Atmosphere was a bit run down compared to what I was expecting but it had plenty of personality nonetheless. Restrooms could use some improvement.

Food was alright as far as the boxty goes, and dessert too. Prices were within normal range for Portland area. Easy to find location.

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Photo of MURF0320
4.3/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

A dimly lit English style pub. About 40 draughts and usually a couple casks. The majority of the beers are local to the area and aren't extremely hard to find, but still fairly impressive. Come here to unwind, shoot some darts, and have a couple of pints. Had my first Pliny the Elder here!
Bartenders are not rude, but kind of quiet and uneventful. I've never actually had any food here, have no idea if its good or not.
Pliny, Blind Pig, Tricerahops, Hop Lava...Cask version of the Youngers Special Bitter is hard to find anywhere else and it's pretty good.

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Photo of spointon
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I visited the Horse Brass Pub for lunch while in Portland on business.

This place is located in a mixed residential/commercial neighborhood. The building itself is pretty nondescript form the outside...judging from the architecture and small amount of signage you would never know there was a pub inside unless you already knew about it.

Entering was like stepping into another world. Very dim lighting, lots of well worn woodwork, and loads of English pennants and other "bits and bobs" hanging around. A real dartboard in the corner, English style bar with 25 taps or so, and no TVs in sight. Great atmosphere!

The beer list was not overly huge, and there was some pedestrian stuff on there, but there was also some real gems in there too. I had one of the better pints of porter I have ever tasted and my wife had a pint of bitter. The food was authentic English pub food (scotch eggs, fish and chips, ploughman's lunch, boxty's, etc).

Service was fine, but then again the place was mostly empty on my visit. Prices were extremely fair. All in all a great place that probably deserves the legendary status it has in the beer world.

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Photo of RedBrewer83
3.85/5  rDev -10.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Finally made it to the famous Horse Brass Pub! So you walk in through some Iron Gates and through an old wooden door into what I would imagine it would be like to walk into a true English pub...noisy, busy, a bit dark and very rustic. The bar has probably thirty taps along with some basic liquor available for shots but no mixed drinks or anything. The decor is very old and rustic and English, lots of English flags on the ceilings. A dart board in the corner with a chalkboard to keep score on. The furniture is all wooden and worn, very rustic. The quality of the taplist is good, I would say it was great but honestly the variety wasn't all that impressive. Lots of IPA's (typical of the NW) and a few seasonals and a couple of standouts (Supplication) but I was surprised to realize I had tasted the majority of what they had on tap. Our waitress was prompt with our order but after our beer and food came she was like a ghost, tough to track down for a second beer and when we needed the check. The food was pretty cool in that it was true, traditional English pub food. I had the fish and chips of course and they were delicious! Nothing mind blowing but everything you'd want/expect from a pub. The prices were very reasonable...all in all it was a great experience and I can't wait to go back!

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Photo of squaremile
3.68/5  rDev -14.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I have mixed feelings about this place. When I first moved to PDX this was one of my favorite sports, but over time it has fallen a bit out of favor, mostly because of the terrible service. There has only been one time in countless trips that the service has been up to standard for everywhere else in town.

The selection is usually pretty solid but since they are pretty web phobic I never really know what I'm going to get into when I arrive. This can be pretty frustrating and it's surprising that in 2010 they aren't more communicative.

Otherwise, the fish and chips are to die for, and the history of the place is amazing.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Went here on a recommendation from a fellow beer lover who goes to Portland frequently and were not disappointed. Horse Brass is located on the east side of the city on Belmont off route 30/84. Parking can be found on the surrounding streets.

The inside was absolutely packed on a weekday night. There is communal seating and tables from wall to wall, and a wraparound bar that occupies 2 of the rooms. There are darts in the back too. The place is dark with a lot of wood and British-inspired decor.

The beer selection at Horse Brass is very substantial and changes regularly. There are around 50 brews on tap from regional brewers like Caldera, Speakeasy, Elysian, HUB, Laurelwood, Deschutes and others. They also have a few import taps from Germany, Scotland, Belgium and others. Cask beer is also available. The bottle list is fairly extensive as well with many of the same brewers represented. There are beer menus on the tables that show a (mostly) up to date list.

Service was about as good as can be expected considering the place was overflowing with people. Our server was helpful in letting us know what changes had occurred on the beer menu and made good food recommendations.

As for the food, it is very good. We tried a Scotch Egg based on a recommendation and it was awesome. Our bangers and mash and fish and chips were very good as well.

Overall the Horse Brass is high on the list of places to hit in Portland.

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Photo of djbreezy
4.43/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The atmosphere is my favorite part of the Horse Brass...especially since smoking was banned indoors in Oregon. Awesome decor on the related signage, etc. Lots of wood and a very weathered and comfortable feel. The lighting is not too bright, which is always nice.

There are some dart boards and chalk boards to keep score. The dart boards are cork, as they should be.

There are many different table types and plenty of seating. Not too many health food selections on the menu, but definitely delicious pub food to be had. A good selection on the menu.

My favorite event at the Horse Brass was the 06/07/08 vertical tasting of Abyss. Pretty awesome and a rare opportunity.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Third stop on a two day beer tour of Portland.

Place was busy but didn't feel crowded. Service was good -- prompt, no errors, attentive, called a cab for us.

An excellent selection of very good beers on tap (a little of the "kid in a candy store" feel). Lots of local stuff, some obscure and hard to find stuff, some big name stuff, all over the board. Whatever you like, you can find something there.

We had the fish and chips, and I will probably have the fish and chips each and every time I go back. They're the best I've ever tasted.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

one of the last stops on le grand tour de la citie des ponts. the city of bridges is always good to us, although they did kick us out last time, and rightly so. bartender was a good man, we were there during the daytime on a monday after a tour of bridgeport. the selection was indeed splendid, a match of everything from a traditional english ale to some of the newer bolder american models (we do what we do). they had a fresh batch of pliny but, bored with that, i went for the double rocket from bear republic, which i'd not had before. a lot of fun stuff, some good stuff, some standard stuff, some bottled bullcrap. a little something for everyone. darts, pool, no tvs. what a bar should be.
the food was very average pub food. i wanted a burger, i got a burger, it was pretty good. win-win.
the regular mail-lady for that area is enormous
ly attractive. hi-5!

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Photo of portlandjeff
4.3/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I really like the horse brass these days. My first visit was before the smoking ban, and while I enjoyed it then, there were too many other good options in town that were smoke free, so I didn't return until later. Now it's a regular stop for me.

I love the atmosphere here. It's a dark, cozy, unpretentious, english style pub. While this bar is fairly large, it's usually relatively full, with both customers and cheer. Most of the decor is vintage UK breweriana, with some older oregon brewery stuff for good measure.

The quality for both food and drink is very good. While there are a pretty extensive number of taps, you'll only find craft micro's and imports on the list. The halibut fish and chips is my favorite in town (sorry hawthorne fish house!), and the daily specials never disappoint. On numerous visits, I couldn't help buy feel like I was eating a good hearty home cooked meal.

The service here is generally pretty good, but when it's busy, it can get a little slow. Any time I've had a question about a beer, the bartenders and servers have been knowledgeable about the products their serving.

The selection here is constantly changing, but is generally pretty great. My only pliny the younger was from the brass. They are the only place in town that got russian river publication. Their deschutesapalooza event had more vintage deschutes beers than deschutes has ever had on tap in their own pub.

I already mentioned the food, but I'll go one step further. If I'm on the east side, and want good beer AND food, this is usually my pick. I think the food is always solid, and you can't beat the prices on it either - leaves more for beer!

That brings me to value. I think the beers are always priced right, and the food prices are even better. Combined with the atmosphere, quality, and service, I'm never unhappy when I get my tab.

If I had to complain about the horse brass, there are a couple of things I could see improved.

While they get some great beers in, and I've never come in without seeing something that I really wanted to try, it seems like the overall quality of the tap list has slipped a little bit. All good stuff, but not always all GREAT stuff. This could just be due to my tastes in beer, and how far I've come in my beer journey though. What I mean is that maybe it's as good as it ever was, but I'm just harder to impress these days. Also, when it comes to the selection; it often seems like the taplist is lacking a little balance. Lately, if you're a hophead, there are tons of great IPA's to choose from, but if you're into other styles, you'll have far fewer to choose from.

Still, complaints aside, I like the horsebrass, and visit it as often or more so than the other beer bars in town.

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Horse Brass Pub in Portland, OR
4.3 out of 5 based on 144 ratings.
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