Visiting Portland (2019)

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by guajolote, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. guajolote

    guajolote Aspirant (288) Sep 12, 2008 Oregon

    A few years back, it became clear that this forum could use an "I'm visiting Portland, where should I go?" thread. In this thread, I'll attempt to cull the "must-hit" spots generally agreed upon by Portland BAs. Of course, recommendations & suggestions are encouraged.

    (Almost) Universally Recommended "Must-Visit" Breweries & Brew Pubs
    Breakside Brewery
    Cascade Brewing Barrel House
    Great Notion Brewing
    Hair of the Dog Brewing
    Upright Brewing

    Other Highly Recommended Breweries & Brew Pubs
    Baerlic Brewing
    Culmination Brewing
    Deschutes Portland Pub
    Ex Novo Brewing
    Gigantic Brewing
    Hopworks Urban Brewery
    Laurelwood Brewing
    Little Beast Brewing
    Modern Times Belmont Fermentorium
    Occidental Brewing
    Wayfinder Beer

    Highly Recommended Beer Bars / Bottle Shops
    APEX (Taproom, Bottles-to-go; Cash Only w/onsite ATM)
    Bailey's Taproom/The Upper Lip (Taproom, Crowler/Growler Fills, Bottle List)
    The Beermongers (Taproom, Bottle Shop, Growler Fills)
    Beer O'Clock (Taproom, Crowler/Growler Fills, Bottles-to-go)
    Belmont Station (Taproom, Bottle Shop, Growler Fills, Food)
    Bridgetown Beerhouse (Taproom, Bottle Shop, Growler Fills)
    Horse Brass Pub (Taproom, Food)
    Imperial Bottle Shop (Two locations - SE Division & NE Alberta) (Taproom, Bottle Shop, Growler Fills)
    John's Marketplace (Bottle Shop)
    Loyal Legion (Taproom, Growler Fills, Food)
    N.W.I.P.A. (Taproom, Bottle Shop)
    Hawthorne Hophouse (Taproom, Growler Fills, Food)
    Roscoe's (Taproom, Growler Fills, Food)
    Saraveza (Taproom, Bottle Shop, Growler Fills, Food)
    Tin Bucket (Taproom, Bottle Shop, Counter Pressure Growler Fills)
    (A Few) Beer-centric Restaurants*
    Bantam Tavern
    Cheese Bar
    Grain & Gristle
    Higgins Restaurant
    Raven & Rose / The Rookery
    Victory Bar
    White Owl Social Club

    * Just about any decent restaurant in PDX has a good/very good beer list. This might be the most debatable section of this thread. Eater PDX is a great food resource.
    Other Resources (places, events, releases, news/information, etc.)
    Portland BeerFly listing
    Willamette Week's 2018 Beer Guide
    The Brew Site
    New School Beer
    Oregon Beer Growler
    Portland Craft Beer Events Calendar

    Want to know if XYZ bar/brewery allows kids?
    "PDX with kids" BA thread
    Bars that Allow Children in Portland
    Best Kid-Friendly Portland Brewpubs
    Kid-Friendly Portland Breweries

    Need shippers for all the beer you bought?
    Portland Wine Storage
    Rose City Wine Vaults & Storage


    PDX Bus
    Uber and Lyft are currently operating in Portland
    There are also three shared scooter companies operating in Portland (for now)

    Portland Airport
    PDX is a great bar that just happens to be an airport. If you have time to kill, there is a Deschutes Brewpub (concourse D), a Laurelwood brewpub (concourse A), Hopworks brewpub (concourse E), a Henry's Tavern outpost, and several other restaurants with good tap lists. Deschutes, Laurelwood, Hopworks, Henry's, and Country Cat are all past security and all fill growlers, so you can get a fill and carry it on. There are also Made in Oregon stores and a Timberline Lodge gift store past security with good bottle selections.

    Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be a catch-all for Portland beer establishments. There are literally hundreds of well-regarded beer institutions throughout the greater Portland area -- many of which are not listed in this post. This thread is an attempt to present the most frequently recommended and highest-regarded spots cited in the Northwest BA forum. Exploration and experimentation are certainly encouraged!
    #1 guajolote, Jan 5, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2019
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  2. guajolote

    guajolote Aspirant (288) Sep 12, 2008 Oregon

    Updates to version 19 (now the only version for the year, sadly):

    * Moved Modern Times to the Other Recommended section. Could probably go into the Highly Recommended section, but I didn't want to risk being beheaded.

    * Made the executive decision to remove Lompoc Brewing from the Other Recommended section. I wanted to keep that part to 10 spots, and frankly, there hasn't been much chatter about them for a long time.

    * Added Beer O'Clock to the Beer Bars/Bottle Shops section.

    * Added Bantam Tavern to the Restaurants section.

    * Completely removed the Newcomers section. It made sense when we could do quarterly updates, but now with the yearly restriction, some places could be open 18+ months by the next update & some that open during the year (especially early on) won't be included until they're almost a year old. New places will just have to be posted in the thread as they open. Refer to previous threads if you'd like to see past Newcomers sections. RIP Newcomers section.

    * Removed the Maps section since two were outdated and two no longer exist.

    Past versions:
    Original thread
    Update 1 (winter 2013)
    Update 2 (spring 2013)
    Update 3 (summer 2013)
    Update 4 (fall/winter 2013-14)
    Update 5 (spring 2014)
    Update 6 (fall/winter 2014)
    Update 7 (winter 2015)
    Update 8 (spring 2015)
    Update 9 (summer 2015)
    Update 10 (fall 2015)
    Update 11 (winter 2016)
    Update 12 (spring 2016)
    Update 13 (summer 2016)
    Update 14 (fall/winter 2016-17)
    Update 15 (summer 2017)
    Update 16 (fall/winter 2017-18)
    Update 17 (spring/summer 2018)
    Update 18 (fall/winter 2018-19)
  3. distantmantra

    distantmantra Meyvn (1,047) May 23, 2011 Washington

    Does Cascade really belong in the Universal list anymore? Does anyone local go there anymore? I seriously can’t remember the last time I went there or bought their beers or even thought positively about them. They just seem overpriced and oversaturated and the beers all taste the same.

    Genuine heartfelt rant over.
  4. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,985) Sep 24, 2007 Montserrat

    IMHO, yes. Sure, there's a bit of "sameness" to their lineup, but, I see that more as a by-product than anything. Shrug. YMMV.
  5. socon67

    socon67 Poo-Bah (1,769) Jun 18, 2010 New York

    Just so happens I've got a business trip to Portland next month, so this thread is much appreciated.

    With essentially 2 evenings available, what locations make the most sense to get an Uber and then visit a couple places on foot?
  6. dphi

    dphi Initiate (108) Apr 14, 2013 Oregon

    I live closer to what used to be called Raccoon Lodge and still go often. They still make good beer (new Bourbonic Plague came out recently) and tap prices aren't that different from barrel aged sours elsewhere.
  7. guajolote

    guajolote Aspirant (288) Sep 12, 2008 Oregon

    I was thinking about that as well. I also haven't been there for a long time, and their beers & reputation certainly have lost their cache, at least among the hardcore beer nerd set. That said, I think they do make a lot of good beers, and the food there is good. I still see it as a spot a lot of visitors would enjoy.

    But if I'm in the minority, we can certainly ask to have the thread updated.
    breadwinner and distantmantra like this.
  8. guajolote

    guajolote Aspirant (288) Sep 12, 2008 Oregon

    Depending on where you're staying, you might not even need to get an Uber. Your best bet for sheer volume & proximity is probably inner SE. Beermongers, Apex, & Baerlic are all right by each other. A little walk north and you can be at Modern Times, Loyal Legion, Cascade, HotD, Base Camp, Burnside, West Coast Grocery Company. Or go east a half mile & hit Imperial & Little Beast.

    And crap, I just realized I forgot to add Little Beast Brewing to the Other Recommended section as I had intended.
  9. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,125) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Society Trader

    My perception is that their lineup started to diversify 4-5 years ago. Prior to that, it seemed much more the same base beer, same lactic profile, different fruit additions. While they likely haven’t deviated from their house culture, they seem to have moved towards using multiple base beers blended and a wider range of barrel/foeder types to achieve greater complexity and more variation. I think Kentucky Peach is a good example of this, and well worth trying if you haven’t had it.
  10. distantmantra

    distantmantra Meyvn (1,047) May 23, 2011 Washington

    It's cool with me if they remain, I just thought it was something interesting to talk about since I can't remember the last time anyone from the PNW actually seemed to care about them. Tourists always want to go there, but they seem to have a harder time moving product locally with their increased prices and the massive increase in domestic (39 states) and international distribution (South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, The UK, Europe , British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario). I used to be excited about Cascade, but I feel like we've got better options for sour beers at at a better price point.
    #10 distantmantra, Jan 5, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
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  11. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,332) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

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  12. Reidrover

    Reidrover Poo-Bah (3,389) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    No love for Level. all the way up there alone. :slight_frown:
    Strangestbrewer likes this.
  13. vurt

    vurt Meyvn (1,023) Apr 11, 2004 Oregon

    Hey now. I've got some love for Level, especially after visiting their location.

    And since they were taking delivery of three new fermenters the day I visited, I'm going to assume they're getting enough love to finance some expanded capacity
    Reidrover likes this.
  14. distantmantra

    distantmantra Meyvn (1,047) May 23, 2011 Washington

    I was hoping to check out Level last time I was in Portland but I ran out of time.
    Reidrover likes this.
  15. shelby415

    shelby415 Champion (838) Oct 10, 2011 Oregon

    Level has solid beer, a nice, spacious location and two very good food carts on site. I would vote for putting them on the list, especially since they're in a part of Portland that is completely unrepresented otherwise.

    As far as Cascade, since this is a visiting thread it probably belongs here. I still like their beer but I understand and agree with some of the criticism. Like Hair of the Dog, they're trading in variations on the same tried and true product but to a visitor would be must-hits.

    On a different note, am I the only one who feels like listing Occidental is maybe pushing it? I like their beers, at least the four or so I've tried, but if I was visiting I'm not sure there's anything about the taproom experience that is a must-visit and even if you love lagers there's not a ton of variety. Plus you can buy their beers practically anywhere. I'd replace them with Level, or even Ruse. Maybe that's just me.
    beertunes likes this.
  16. weaverr

    weaverr Initiate (161) Jun 10, 2008 Oregon

    It would probably be helpful to tourists to group together the geographically associated locations (similar to the pub crawls from earlier updates). All of these areas are accessible via the street car ($2).

    Inner East Side (North)
    - Hair of the Dog
    - Loyal Legion
    - Wayfinder
    - Cascade
    - Modern Times
    - Base Camp

    Inner East Side (South)
    - Beermongers
    - Apex
    - Baerlic
    - Grixsen
    - Groundbreaker (100% gluten free)

    Pearl District
    - Deschutes
    - Von Ebert
    - Backwoods
    - Rogue
    - 10 Barrel
    - Backpedal
    - Avid Cider
    - Beer o'Clock
    - Baileys / Upper Lip
  17. guajolote

    guajolote Aspirant (288) Sep 12, 2008 Oregon

    I haven't been to Level, but I've had several of their beers. They've mostly been good, but nothing mindblowing, IMO. Not saying they shouldn't be on the list though. I personally don't have enough information to form an opinion.

    Regarding Occidental, they were originally added because they were really the only thing going on up in St. John's, AND they're the only lager-only brewery in the city limits. I think it's just a good way to get visitors to a part of the city they may not visit otherwise. Plus, they're right under St. John's bridge, which is a pretty cool thing to see, tourist or not.

    But yeah, the breweries on the lists in the OP are debatable. I know not everyone will agree, and that's fine. Hell, I'm not even sure I agree and I made the list! I definitely encourage people add to their favorites to the discussion, or to question why breweries are on the list at all.
  18. shelby415

    shelby415 Champion (838) Oct 10, 2011 Oregon

    Your rationale for why Occidental should be on there is a really good one. Personally, I kinda think Zoiglhaus is probably as good, maybe a little better, but like you said - it's all subjective anyways and I don't think Zoigl's location is a necessary visit. As far as Level, I've always liked the beer more than reviewers on this site, but then again, I've only had their beer on tap after work. And we all know how much better after-work beers are. Thanks for putting the list together btw.
  19. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,332) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Not a bad idea. Let me see what I can do about moving the relevant thread posts to it's own separate thread.
    jakecattleco and beertunes like this.
  20. distantmantra

    distantmantra Meyvn (1,047) May 23, 2011 Washington

    I think you did a good thing bringing this up here. No need to apologize.

    Egads I'm not touching that post above yours with a ten foot pole cause I have some serious issues with a couple of those paragraphs.
    66jzmstr, grilledsquid and guajolote like this.
  21. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,332) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

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  22. guajolote

    guajolote Aspirant (288) Sep 12, 2008 Oregon

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  23. distantmantra

    distantmantra Meyvn (1,047) May 23, 2011 Washington

    A Kosher brewery serving Ashkenazi food? That's kinda cool.
  24. dphi

    dphi Initiate (108) Apr 14, 2013 Oregon

    I've seen some of their cans around, haven't had anything
  25. shelby415

    shelby415 Champion (838) Oct 10, 2011 Oregon

    Yeah, I'm surprised they're still around. I tried some of their beer a couple years ago. I don't think they were really ready to be brewing yet. Perhaps it's better now?

    On a similar note, Threshold Brewing, who have a spot right near Montavilla Brewing off Stark, will be opening some time this month. Looks like they plan to have some food and kids are welcome. Seeing as how that stretch of Stark has a brewery, bars and a couple taprooms and yet none of them allow kids, I suspect they'll be busy right out of the gate.
    guajolote and vurt like this.
  26. distantmantra

    distantmantra Meyvn (1,047) May 23, 2011 Washington

    Wow. This thread sure got scrubbed clean.
  27. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,332) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    For those who might be interested, Belmont Station has dropped the price on their remaining cbs pretty significantly. Now 19.99, and it appears that's their cash or credit card price.

    I know they bought an ocean of it again this year. I guess the demand has subsided a bit.
    NWer and kemoarps like this.
  28. derftron

    derftron Disciple (334) Feb 8, 2012 Oregon

    John's market still sitting on a metric ton. Same with KBS.
  29. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,332) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    So I saw (last time I was there).

    I keep on thinking that maybe they'll drop the price one of these days, but so far I think they've held fast on their original price.

    NW Growlers has had their keg of CBS going for almost a month now I believe (and I think it's still 40% full, according to digitalpour). Price is pretty reasonable as well ($8 for a 10 ounce glass that's often served in a 12 ounce glass, all the way to the top).

    I think it's a good beer, but for some reason it's just not selling well in this market. NW Growlers has bottles available in addition to having it on tap right now.
    kemoarps likes this.
  30. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,125) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Society Trader

    Any recommendations for a place to stay Thurs night that has secure parking and is close to some cool spots? I'll have a uhaul with some precious cargo.
  31. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Disciple (310) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon

    Your best bet is probably one of the hotels out by the airport. I don't know anywhere with secure parking that will accommodate a uhaul, but at least out by the airport they have giant parking lots to accommodate it and you'll be outside the city center "criddler zone" so there's less risk of car prowlers.
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  32. weaverr

    weaverr Initiate (161) Jun 10, 2008 Oregon

    I don't know what kind of secured parking would also accommodate a u-haul, but here's a crime map to help you avoid high crime areas:
  33. DJturnstile

    DJturnstile Initiate (69) Sep 2, 2015 California

    I'm visiting Portland for the second time next month and i'm looking forward to visiting some of the spots I didn't get around to last time like Modern Times, Rev Nats, Upright & Baerlic for starters.

    My question is - does DeGarde distribute regularly to any bottle shops in the area like Beermongers? I made the trek to the brewery last time but won't have a chance this time and I would still like to grab some!
  34. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,332) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    I guess it depends what you mean by "in the area," but if Oregon City is close enough, then I would recommend a visit out to Arch Bridge. They almost always have something from dG available, both to go and for on site consumption. When I stopped by this past Sunday, I think they had 3 or 4 bottles you could order to go, and then another 3 bottles for on site consumption as well. Expect to pay maybe a couple dollars more at AB then you would at the brewery.
    Number1Framer likes this.
  35. DJturnstile

    DJturnstile Initiate (69) Sep 2, 2015 California

    Hmm too far for me, i'll be staying in the Ladd's addition area with no car for just a couple days. Thanks though.
  36. weaverr

    weaverr Initiate (161) Jun 10, 2008 Oregon

    Yes, deGarde does pop up at Portland-area bottle shops but with no real regularity. If you're lucky Beermongers might have some, but I wouldn't make a special trip anywhere in Portland with an expectation that you're going to find a bottle.

    You can make a nice night out of taking the street car up to Upright, Rev Nat's, and Ex Novo which are all easily walking distance of each other. Then another night of walking from Beermongers to Baerlic to Modern Times.
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  37. DJturnstile

    DJturnstile Initiate (69) Sep 2, 2015 California

    Good plan! I didn't even know about a street car i'll have to look up how to take it.
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  38. weaverr

    weaverr Initiate (161) Jun 10, 2008 Oregon

    Every platform has a pay station at it so you don't need to buy anything in advance. Street car tickets are $2 and last 2.5 hours in case you need to transfer or hop back on real quick. The rest of the Trimet system (busses, MAX light rail) is $2.50 so your street car ticket won't transfer to other public transit.

    Enforcement is very lax because in Portland we're socially responsible or something. :rolling_eyes:

    If you do run into a mythical street car fare enforcement agent, I think the penalty is a couple hundred dollars so probably just pay the $2 to be safe.
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  39. DJturnstile

    DJturnstile Initiate (69) Sep 2, 2015 California

    Awesome thanks for the info!
  40. vurt

    vurt Meyvn (1,023) Apr 11, 2004 Oregon

    But if you buy a TriMet Day Pass ($5), you can ride on any MAX train, any TriMet bus, and the Streetcar.

    It's a good deal. You can cheaply cover a lot of ground that way.