Visiting Portland (Winter 2015 update)

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by guajolote, Jan 2, 2015.

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  1. guajolote

    guajolote Maven (1,325) Sep 12, 2008 Oregon

    A while back, it became clear that this forum could use an easily searchable (and bump-able) "I'm visiting Portland, where should I go?" thread. Here, 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
    Cascade Brewing Barrel House
    The Commons Brewery
    Deschutes Portland Pub
    Hair of the Dog Brewing
    Upright Brewing

    Other Highly Recommended Breweries & Brew Pubs
    Breakside Brewery
    Gigantic Brewing
    Hopworks Urban Brewery & Hopworks Bike Bar
    Laurelwood Brewing (multiple locations)
    Lompoc Brewing (multiple locations)

    Highly Recommended Beer Bars / Bottle Shops
    APEX (Taproom, Bottles-to-go)
    Bailey's Taproom/The Upper Lip (Taproom, Growler Fills, Bottle List)
    The Beermongers (Taproom, Bottle Shop, Growler Fills)
    Belmont Station (Taproom, Bottle Shop, Growler Fills, Food)
    Bridgetown Beerhouse (Taproom, Bottle Shop, Growler Fills)
    The Green Dragon (Taproom, Food)
    The Growler Guys PDX (Taproom, Growler Fills, Bottles-to-go)
    The Hop & Vine (Taproom, Bottle Shop, Growler Fills, Food)
    Horse Brass Pub (Taproom, Food)
    Imperial Bottle Shop (Taproom, Bottle Shop, Growler Fills, Bottle Fills)
    John's Marketplace (Bottle Shop)
    Oregon Hophouse: Hawthorne | 15th Avenue (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*
    Bazi Bierbrasserie
    Cheese Bar
    Cheese & Crack Snack Shop
    Grain & Gristle
    Higgins Restaurant
    Raven & Rose / The Rookery
    White Owl Social Club

    * Just about any decent restaurant in PDX has an acceptable beer list. Many are more-than-acceptable. This might be the most debatable section of this thread. Eater PDX is a great food resource.
    Portland BeerFly listing:
    Willamette Week's 2014 Beer Guide:

    Some helpful maps
    digita7693’s map (beer map, restaurants, hotels, cafes, to-do)
    The Beer Mapping Project
    Oregon & Washington Brew Map
    Oregon Beer Country map

    A couple of potential(ly dangerous) pub crawls
    The "Walk it Off" Pub Crawl (HotD > Bailey's >Deschutes > Upright > Burnside > Cascade)
    Inner SE Pub/Brewery Crawl (APEX > Beermongers > Baerlic > Commons > HotD > Cascade > Base Camp > Burnside)
    North Portland Pub Crawl (StormBreaker -> Bridgetown Beerhouse -> BikeBar -> Sidebar -> Tin Bucket -> Ecliptic)

    PDX Bus (free and awesome app)

    PDX Airport
    The beer flows at PDX as well. There are two Laurelwood brewpubs (concourses A & E), a Rogue brewpub (concourse D), and several other restaurants with good tap lists. Rogue and Laurelwood are both past security, so you can pick up bottles or growlers and carry them on the plane. There are also Made in Oregon stores 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 often cited in the Northwest BA forum. Exploration and experimentation are certainly encouraged!
    rrock44, Savearth, reidjoshua and 3 others like this.
  2. guajolote

    guajolote Maven (1,325) Sep 12, 2008 Oregon

    Updates in version 7:
    • Changed intro paragraph
    • Moved White Owl Social Club to restaurants section
    • Changed the North Portland pub crawl map: Amnesia now reflected correctly as StormBreaker. Removed Prost!. Added Tin Bucket & Ecliptic.
    • Some general editing/housekeeping
    Original thread
    Update v.1 (winter 2013)
    Update v.2 (spring 2013)
    Update v.3 (summer 2013)
    Update v.4 (fall/winter 2013-14)
    Update v.5 (spring 2014)
    Update v.6 (fall/winter 2014)
    BBThunderbolt likes this.
  3. guajolote

    guajolote Maven (1,325) Sep 12, 2008 Oregon

    Potential items for debate for the next update:

    1. Addition of a "Newcomers" section
    I thought about adding Baerlic Brewing, Ex Novo, Fat Head's, and possibly others to this update since they're newer in town, but maybe in a separate section since the verdict is still out. Thoughts?

    2. McMenamins. Or even a "Legacy Breweries" section - Widmer, Portland Brewing, McMenamins, maybe others?
    I know this one has been discussed in the past. I have a couple of hang-ups:
    a. It's generally agreed that their beer is middle-of-the-road at best. This thread is intended to highlight the GREAT beers in Portland.
    b. If you must go to a McMenamins, the two generally agreed-upon PDX locations are Edgefield and Kennedy School. However, technically, Edgefield isn't in Portland. If we're going to include Edgefield, why not include Hood River, Tillamook, or Salem breweries? I feel it's best to focus strictly in the city limits of PDX in this thread.
    #3 guajolote, Jan 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  4. John_M

    John_M Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,275) Oct 25, 2003 Washington
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I like the idea of a newcomers section a lot.

    2b makes sense. The existences of Edgefield can always be handled in response to a visitor inquiry if need be. For now, I guess places like Ex Novo, Baerlic and Fat Heads can be handled in the same manner, but I think the "newcomers" idea is a good one. Just my two cents....

    Thanks for handling this guajolote. I'll close down the old thread.
    guajolote likes this.
  5. TheeWalrusHunter

    TheeWalrusHunter Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2013 Oregon

    I second the newcomers piece.

    Also, I would argue that Breakside is becoming an almost universally accepted must hit.
  6. grainbillxs

    grainbillxs Aspirant (298) Dec 22, 2004 Washington

    I very much like the idea of a legacy section, especially with regard to McMenamins. In fact it kind of annoys me when a local steers a visitor away from a Mcminamins. Yes, we mostly accept that the beer and food can be average (I've had very good beer on occasion) so the recommendation needs to be qualified. They're a beer-based business doing good and unique things. "It's not about the beer, it's about the BEER." My favorite pit stop on I-5 between Pugetopolis and Portland is the Olympic Club. It's the best barroom I've been in (and I'm an old guy, been in many) and I'm glad to sit there even if just to recaffinate and eat a snack. I think at least Kennedy should be mentioned in the guide.

    Excellent work on the guide, by the way.
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  7. TheeWalrusHunter

    TheeWalrusHunter Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2013 Oregon

    Agree. I wouldn't think twice about sending ANYONE to Kennedy School. It's one of the coolest places in the city.
    jbakajust1 and guajolote like this.
  8. dphi

    dphi Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2013 Oregon

    I don't think McMenamins gets enough credit for their one-off beers you often find on tap at some of their brew pubs. I've definitely had as many - if not more - great beers (and the same quality of food) from them as I have from, say, Lompoc - which is listed as highly recommended.
  9. guajolote

    guajolote Maven (1,325) Sep 12, 2008 Oregon

    Weekend bump.

    I also thought I'd toss in another potentially useful resource -- Brew Notice. You can sign up to get daily/weekly/monthly emails with tap list updates for a plethora of Portland beer bars & breweries (other cities too). It's handy if you don't want to spend time going to individual bar websites, but it's also not an exhaustive list.
  10. digita7693

    digita7693 Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2010 Germany

    I agree, Kennedy is amazing, but I also never torture guests by making them drink there, instead we go jut down the road to what I would agree should be in the top tier, Breakside.


    Also, what about a festival highlights section for that time of year?
    Eg the summer/fall update could have Brews for New Avenues which will be on Sept. 12th at Left Bank again:wink:
    Strangestbrewer likes this.
  11. Strangestbrewer

    Strangestbrewer Crusader (453) Oct 17, 2014 Oregon

    I really like this idea. Though it'd be as long as a book in the summer months.
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  12. Aestro

    Aestro Initiate (0) Nov 29, 2009 Oregon

    Adding to leave McMenamin's out. Several cool locations, but mediocre beer and definitely nothing I'd ever recommend to someone who cares about beer enough to read beeradvocate. Kennedy School isn't a bad place to take parents though.

    The two tips I give people are:
    1. Avoid Rogue. It's a name you know but there are so many better options. I don't need to tell the locals this, obviously, but still get plenty of out-of-towners that want to go there.
    2. Don't skip the beer bars. You'll almost certainly be better off throwing in at least one instead of a brewery just because it'll get you access to some amazing options from elsewhere in the state like Boneyard, Crux, or Barley Brown's. Or places that are worth trying a beer from but are a little more inconvenient, like Heater Allen.
    blackcloud likes this.
  13. blackcloud

    blackcloud Savant (1,197) Apr 28, 2012 Alaska

    This. When I lived in town and people were visiting and wanted to know which breweries to go to, I almost always just steered them to beer bars instead. If you're not seeking out one specific thing, it's a more bang for your buck scenario in terms of time and ability to get lots of different stuff.
  14. guajolote

    guajolote Maven (1,325) Sep 12, 2008 Oregon

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  15. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,282) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    The flip side of that though, is what one is potentially missing. The brewery has the best idea of what they want for their beers. The brewery may also have stuff that doesn't leave. One of my local breweries recently found a single 1/4bbl of their Barleywine that was 8 years old. Well, they just slipped that guy on tap with zero fanfare.

    Also the brewery will have the newest things first. People have beer bars at home, that's why I send 'em to the breweries first.
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  16. TheeWalrusHunter

    TheeWalrusHunter Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2013 Oregon

  17. vurt

    vurt Grand Pooh-Bah (3,578) Apr 11, 2004 Oregon
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

  18. pourmeanothr

    pourmeanothr Initiate (0) May 26, 2010 Colorado

    Thanks for creating this thread. I first visited Portland in Dec. 2013 and appreciated older threads on the subject, and just booked another trip for the end of February.

    Last time we popped into an absurd amount of tasting rooms/brewpubs, but missed out on Upright and The Commons (will add for this time around). I also was definitely blown away by my visit to APEX -- I live in San Diego and have tried Chez Monus exactly one time: on tap at APEX.

    Couple of non-beer questions for you pro-beer people:
    1) Food trucks - Favorite trucks/carts to look out for (or best meet up locations)?
    2) Multnomah Falls - Worth the time (and the cost of a rental car) to check out? If I skip the falls I'll also skip the rental and use public transit only.
    3) Any other random recommendations? Can be beer related. We've done a lot of the standard Portland tourist stuff - Powell's, Voodoo (liked Blue Star better), Saturday market, Japanese Garden, etc... Wouldn't mind branching out for a more local perspective.

    Lastly, I'll probably throw up an IP thread here soon, and bring up some stuff (mostly CA) FT. Feel free to contact me if there's something specific you've been looking for. Thanks!

    tl;dr: thank you... Portland cool... food, waterfall, other?... IP ISO/FT soon
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  19. digita7693

    digita7693 Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2010 Germany

    Do Multnomah falls, but then continue on to Hood River and eat at pFreim or Dbl Mountain, and then visit Solera, I would say hit Logsdon first, but they will most likely be closed.
    pourmeanothr likes this.
  20. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Initiate (0) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon

    I think there's deinitely a need to include both. As you saids, the breweries pretty much always have their stuff first, but at the same time there is a ton of great beer being produced around the region in places that tourists aren't going to be able to visit on a weekend trip to Portland. Can you imagine getting home and finding out you missed out on Barley Browns, Boneyard, Crux, Block 15, Bend Brewing, etc because you spent your whole trip bouncing from brewery to brewery?
    zestd, blackcloud, vurt and 3 others like this.
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