Many things make you fall in love with Portland—its tree-lined streets, its weirdness, its eco-friendly bikers, its luxury wineries and its local beer.
Portland is home to more than 70 breweries offering the best lagers, malts, sours and session beers you can find in the Pacific Northwest. So the next time you’re in Portlandia (or Beerlandia), make sure you taste your way through the city’s best breweries.
Deschutes Brewery is a local favorite that’s been around since 1988. Their brewery is located in Bend, but their public house location in Portland has tasty beers on tap—brewed on-site—and even better food. Take your pick from an array of appetizers and entrees. And if you want a recommendation, Deschutes makes the best soft pretzel you’ll ever have that’s served with cheese in a bowl with a ring of mustard around the edge, giving it the right touch of spice. As for the beers in this Pearl District brewery, there are lots on tap so order a flight to enjoy multiple options. Some of the beers they’re known for having are Inversion IPA, Obsidian Stout, Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale.
At only 6 years old, The Commons Brewery has made a good name for itself in this beer-loving city. Known for serving the more sour and fruity styles of Denmark and Belgium, you’ll want to try their year-round beers, like the Urban Farmhouse Ale, but their seasonal offerings also please the palate, like the light, funky and lemony Myrtle. In 2015, The Commons Brewery moved into a corner building that features large paned windows and exposed brick that give it a fun rustic-urban loft feel.
After you leave The Commons, take the short walk to Cascade, another brewery producing delicious sour and fruit beers. In fact, Cascade helped pioneer the sour beer movement in the Northwest United States and has made itself recognized as a premier American sour brewery since its founding in 2009. You can get tasters for only $2 so you can try a handful of their best. As for local favorites, Noyaux, Vlad the Imper Ale and the Honey Ginger Lime are drank by many.
If you like sour beer, appetizing brewpub food and doing some good in the world, then definitely make time for Ex Novo Brewing Co. Their slogan is, “Drink beer. Do good.” And that’s exactly what you do when you come here. As the nation’s first nonprofit brewery, 100% of their net profits go to local and global charities. Two of the must-try beers at this 10-barrel brewery are the crisp Most Interesting Mexican Lager, which comes with a lime, and the Eliot IPA, which is a combination of fun tropical flavors. Head brewer Jason Barbee, who’s a Portland native, also brews seasonal beers. So come have a beer with your friends while you help make the world a better place the next time you’re in Portland.
In North Portland, sip Belgian and French-style farmhouse ales, each made with a Pacific Northwest twist, at Upright Brewing. This cash-only establishment also serves numerous sours and saisons. Their tasting room is casual, lets you drink beer from nine taps, purchase bottles to take home and enjoy pieces from local artists. Come to this low-key drinking spot for cheap beer that’s not lacking in the flavor department and to try their numbered series—4, 5, 6 and 7—that are always on tap. The one complaint about this brewery is finding it inside the LeftBank Building; so to rid any confusion, walk inside and take the elevator to the lower level.
Where to stay in Portland
After a day of taste testing Portland’s finest beers, spend a relaxing night at one of Portland’s finer hotels. Crowne Plaza Portland—Download Conv Ctr is close to city attractions and restaurants, competent staff and clean, spacious rooms are three things that make a great hotel—and this Crowne Plaza has all three. They also offer free bike rentals, so you can get out and enjoy Portland like the locals do!
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