Great Notion Brewing

Great Notion BrewingGreat Notion Brewing
Great Notion BrewingGreat Notion Brewing
Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

2204 NE Alberta St
Ste 101
Portland, Oregon, 97211-5885
United States

(503) 548-4491 | map

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Photo of DanBrenda
3.06/5  rDev -30.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 1 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75
by DanBrenda from Washington

If you are a Portland person, you know Great Notion.

We LOVE Portland and GN is our spot, but we prefer the Taproom more than Alberta. The Alberta location is fun, but often times the servers a little more full of themselves than they are about being good people. The Taproom is more chill and the servers are more real and less pompous.

The beer at Alberta is interesting. The rotation is OK and food is decent. Alberta does it's own thing, which is to say it is Portland for Portlander people that like a neighborhood brewpub.

The chef is a chef and not a some biker dude hired off the street that can only make tacos. The menu changes, but you have nice staples on the menu and bar food which everyone needs if you decide to drink heavily (easy to do at GN).

The vide is chill, tucked back into a neighborhood. The outdoor space is super chill with a food truck right outside, yard space under trees, a tent to chill in, they open up the doors (garage door too) and given the west coast weather, you can really enjoy the temps and chill peeps of Portland.

If you are headed to Portland, I would suggest Taproom over Alberta if you want good beer, good food and good people. We really love north Portland and have been disappointed too many times to give Alberta a good review.

Cheers all!!

Jan 09, 2021
Photo of eppie82
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25
by eppie82 from Illinois

Very chill vibe with mostly young-adults and into 40s crowd. The place has some character to it, which only adds to the good vibe. I sat at the bar with a couple of other guys and we were always asked if we needed anything, and water was continuously being refilled. Selection had a good mix of 'trendy' styles (NE IPAs, fruited sours and adjunct stouts) and an outlier or two of pilsner and such. Something for everyone.

Overall, I like the place and I would be happy to get back there when in Portland again.

Apr 29, 2020
Photo of stevoj
3.94/5  rDev -10.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75
by stevoj from Idaho

Stopped by on a recent Portland trip. Located in a neighborhood, small and friendly place. Spare interior, nothing fancy here. Did not try the food. Taps are mostly hazy IPAs, not a lot of variety, but all of high quality. Cans and crowlers to go..

Mar 15, 2020
4.41 by RiceOwls27 from Texas on Feb 14, 2020
Photo of oldmankoch
4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25
by oldmankoch from Tennessee

Dig the second location off of 28th. Bartenders were very friendly and provided recommendations for other spots to hit up in the city.

Nov 22, 2019
Photo of RyanK252
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75
by RyanK252 from California

Dropped into their original location for a nightcap while on an Oregon road trip. I had heard all they hype, but wanted to see what was up. They absolutely loved up to it. Got to try a little bit of everything, from IPAs to sours to stouts, they were fantastic. Wish they had a little more available to take home, but with their demand I understand. That will probably change as their new facility ramps up production. I'm already trying to find excuses to go back.

Sep 04, 2019
Photo of Sammy
4.07/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4
by Sammy from Canada (ON)

A must visit . good competency in running . makes what people want to drink. Good in every way, in one of the greatest beer cities it is just another B+ place.

Aug 20, 2019
3.95 by GeorgeAKeim from Oregon on Aug 18, 2019
4.11 by LXIXME from New Mexico on Aug 01, 2019
4.49 by tylerstravis from Colorado on Jun 14, 2019
4.41 by Montanabeerz from Montana on Jun 03, 2019
4.45 by rab53 from Washington on May 31, 2019
4.5 by paulish from New York on May 13, 2019
4.25 by heydre from Oregon on May 04, 2019
4.88 by chuncheondiary from Oregon on Apr 28, 2019
4.43 by HopBroker from Washington on Mar 06, 2019
4.59 by TheBrewsky from California on Feb 09, 2019
4.75 by BerryKumquat from California on Nov 22, 2018
4.63 by Hop_God from California on Sep 26, 2018
3.94 by PrynneCabin from Washington on Sep 15, 2018
4.19 by Royalsglass from Washington on Sep 09, 2018
4.6 by The-Incredible-Gulk from Wisconsin on Sep 08, 2018
Photo of SummitFox
4.49/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
by SummitFox from Oregon

A must visit spot in Portland for any beer lover. At this point, you probably have heard the hype and the hype is real.

Aug 21, 2018
4.83 by smela3 from Texas on Aug 16, 2018
4.83 by BigMatt408 from California on Aug 13, 2018
Photo of Domingo
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25
by Domingo from Colorado

One of those places that HAS to be all hype, right? Nope! Great Notion is as legit as they come as long as you like dessert inspired stouts and sours or hazy/juicy IPA's.
Located in the Alberta area, it's a tiny bit off the beaten path if you're staying downtown. It's still only about a $10-15 Lyft/Uber away, though. When you arrive you'll notice it's tucked behind a coffee shop and it shares space with a garden center. Luckily it isn't tiny. There's an indoor dining room (where the brewing equipment and bar are located) as well as plenty of outdoor seating via a pair of patios. There's an additional garden center space that seems to be available as needed, too. It's a little bit biergarten-esque.
On to the beer! When I was there they had a pretty astounding 15 taps and a guest or two as well. About 1/2 are variations on hazy IPA's while the other half are split between kettle sours and big stouts. The sours and stouts were almost all featuring dessert adjuncts like coffee, blueberries, lime, maple syrup, peanut butter, and more. Most of the hazy IPA's were simply featuring different hops and strength levels. I don't think anything I had was less than terrific. Blueberry Muffin, Wai-Iti, Juice Jr. and Peanut Brother were highlights. If you can imagine Funky Buddha crossed with Trillium, you're most of the way there. As long as you aren't rolling in expecting a Munich-level dunkel or a SNPA clone I think you'll be more than happy. Prices are low compared to what you'd pay in most of the country. All pours are either $5 or $6. Pour sizes range from around 11oz all the way up to standard pints. However the real gem is the price of a flight. It's $15 for 5 samples, any beers you want. Samples are listed as 4oz each, but I'd say that's a very conservative estimate. They're probably closer to >5oz. and that $3 per sample size applies to everything they have.
Something that also surprised me - the food is also really good. Meal options are mostly sandwiches and salads, but where they shine is the snack menu. Curry-ketchup waffle fries, buffalo tostones, and pan fried Brussels sprouts are some examples. Oh man they're delicious, too. Prices are on par with everything else I encountered in PDX. I appreciate that pretty much every brewery in town has food, but GN's was the best I had. I'd probably feel comfortable simply eating there without even getting a beer.
They have beer to go, but only select items in crowlers and 4-packs. Neither option suited me when I was there, but I guess when they do Juice Box and Double Stack people are known to swarm. I appreciate that their main focus is making sure as many options are on tap as possible for visitors. I wish every place did that. Most of the to-go stuff is just going to be swapped around until it turns to mush anyway.
Overall, I couldn't have been happier with GN. They know what they're doing and they do it well. On both the beer and food front. The staff is super nice, too. If you're in the area, it's a must visit.

Aug 12, 2018
4.43 by jheimbigner from Washington on Aug 08, 2018
4.44 by BeerBucks from New York on Jul 29, 2018
Photo of Roustabout
3.63/5  rDev -17.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3
by Roustabout from District of Columbia

Dug it more as a place (of a piece with garden-y craftsman Alberta) than as a source of beer. Very much the kind of populist, presentist approach I see from more and more new outfits across the country: Sweet-Tart-thin fruited kettle sours; creamy New England IPAs; big stouts that sit in your stomach. Being more of a horseblankety farmhouse boy this all makes me long for a dirty brett beer, or a grisette or, hell, a Weihenstephaner.

May 25, 2018
Photo of Kiki1414
1.35/5  rDev -69.4%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 2 | food: 2
by Kiki1414 from Oregon

My friend and I were sitting outside at one of the tables having lunch and beers. There were several tables with dogs, kids were enjoying themselves, it was a great afternoon. Then we had family (parents and a toddler) sit down at the table behind us. All was fine for a while. Then the toddler started grabbing the gravel and throwing it in the air, which caused dust to travel throughout the entire patio area. The parents didn't seem to notice or care. Depending on how the wind was blowing, someone would look around for the source of the dust blowing (likely into their beers). After this went on for a half an hour my friend eventually asked the mother if she could ask her son not to throw the gravel. That is ALL she said. The mother got very upset and both her and her husband were yelling for the servers to "come take the toys away because we apparently didn't like kids and didn't want their son to play with them". The father then went around to each table asking them if their kid was bothering them, because he was "bothering us" (these are all his words). He then walked by our table and said that we had called them a**holes. We both said "we never called you or your wife an a**hole, all we did was ask that your son not throw the gravel". He then went and put all of the toys away, all the while muttering things about us, and when he came back by our table he said "I wish you would stop talking about us". We were both shocked and had literally said nothing while he was making this scene After he sat back down at the table both he and his wife called us b*tches. We didn't say a word to them.

The manager, Sasha, went over to the family's table, and I'm not sure what they told her, but she was apologizing and offered them free t-shirts. She walked right by our table, so my friend motioned her to come over to our table. She was EXTREMELY rude and completely disregarded us. She wouldn't even listen to what we had to say. We tried to explain that we had been there for a while and several tables of children had cycled through, that it wasn't an issue of us not wanting kids there. She then accused us of harassing the couple. When we told her that they were in fact the ones harassing US and had called us names, she continued to belittle us and yell in our faces. It was clear that we were not going to be able to have a productive conversation with her because she was belligerent. When I finally took my phone out to record all of this, Sasha (the manager) shoved her menu into my face, said that I was immature and walked away.

I think it's great when establishments embrace families. I just don't like dirt in my beer. I don't think I'm alone in expecting parents to let their kids have fun as long as it's not disrupting other patrons.

It was, frankly, embarrassing to watch and I wish that I would have been quicker to record the entire scene.

Never NEVER going back!

May 14, 2018
4.76 by Dr_Fox from Utah on May 04, 2018
4.04 by Taphouse_Traveler from Florida on Mar 30, 2018
4.48 by pagesofphotographs from Colorado on Mar 24, 2018
Photo of dipso123
3.84/5  rDev -12.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4
by dipso123 from Oregon

If you like IPAs that taste like Mexican soda pop this is the place for you.

Feb 16, 2018
4.66 by kjkinsey from Texas on Feb 14, 2018
Photo of chrisjws
4.61/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5
by chrisjws from California

Small brewpub that tries really hard on the lumberjack vibe. Won't hold that against them because the beer is A+.

The Double Stack Blew my mind, the Blueberry Pancake blew it again. The beers here are off the hook. A must visit in Portland.

Jan 28, 2018
Photo of MFMB
4.11/5  rDev -6.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25
by MFMB from Idaho

Stoked I finally made it here. Beer was killer and the vibe was great. Didn’t have food but I’m sure it’s great too. Service was good, it was busy so there wasn’t many chances to interact with beer tenders and what not and that’s okay. Fair amount of regulars in there tho I sensed that the beer tenders did focus on when they had the time. I love the beer and will be going back next time I am in Portland.

Jan 21, 2018
4.19 by wisegreensoul from Idaho on Jan 11, 2018
5 by Rihup from Illinois on Jan 03, 2018
Photo of CUBeerBuff
3.59/5  rDev -18.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3 | food: 4
by CUBeerBuff from Washington

Update: So they eased up a bit. Still have some wait and group issues for seating. Service is better when busy and much improved when they are slow. Customers are not an afterthought.

Original rating - Vibe 1, Quality 4, service 1, selection 3, food 3.
Preface - finally hit my limit with the hipster too cool for school vibe. I'm not a "local" but we are in the greater Portland area so we get down to Alberta once or twice a month. I know my beer and I'm easy going, not demanding or pretentious. A big part of enjoying a beer is the location. Warm, inviting, good service and good company. Otherwise, drink a pint of Pliny in a cold basement with the lights off if that's your jam. The beer and food are good, no issues there, but I'm not a fanboy. It's the service and attitude are dreadful. I've been in about a dozen times since they opened. Was actually there on opening night when the owners did a invite only bottle share. Since then, every time we've been in the staff has not been welcoming or accommodating. They need a course in customer service. A few times we waited, seated at the bar on a night when it was less than half full, while the bartender talked with friends, checked their phone, poured a few beers for the waitress and finally said, "You want something to drink?" Um, yes, it's why we've been sitting here for the last ten minutes looking at you. As well, general seating issues when the place is less than half full, looks of disdain from staff when asked about wait times ( "20-30 minutes, hard to say, you can wait by the door" seriously? and careful if you are there 30 minutes before close on a slow night - almost like they are chasing you out. Just sick of the surly attitude. If you are a regular, maybe you don't have these issues - I say good for you. For others looking to check them out, don't hold your breathe. No, I don't have a beard, only have one flannel and don't Instagram my beers but my dollar spends just as good at any one of the many other Portland breweries that have good beer, good food AND good customer service.

Nov 18, 2017
Great Notion Brewing in Portland, OR
Brewery rating: 4.1 out of 5 with 3519 ratings