Thursday, January 5, 2012

Your Thoughts on Where to Drink Beer in Portland

Somehow on Tuesday's post about Bridgeport, the comments veered off on a tangent of what beer places to recommend to out-of-town visitors to Portland.

My top three recommendations to anyone are always:

One of the commenters yesterday suggested Hopworks as a great place to take visitors, and even though it isn't the first place that comes to my mind, there is nothing but solid beer there, and guests I've taken to HUB have always been very impressed (especially if they have young kids).

I think pub crawls are also a great way to show off the town, since there are often several good pubs within easy walking distance of one another.  If you can get your guests on a bike, so much the better.  I've written about a few Portland pub crawls, but several of them are out of date due to openings and closings, so you might want to check out Jeff's series of pub crawls on Beervana.

What about you?  Where do you insist on taking out-of-town guests for beer, and why?


  1. I think the time of year really plays into where I would go or where I would recommend people go for a beer. While I would always recommend a stop into the Horse Brass, I never spent much time there in the summer because there is no patio. On the other hand, on a cold, wet winter evening I love the intimacy of the Lompoc Sidebar (plus you are right next door to the HUB Bike Bar).

    Any time of year, Bailey's Taproom is always near the top of my list, especially for out of towners.

  2. Belmont Station (best beer store in Portland, and now has a good tasting room)

    Spints - Great little beer bar with a focus on German and Belgian style ales, and not as Seattle-ish as Prost.

    Migration Brewing - probably brewing some of the best beer in Portland right now.

    Widmer's Gasthouse - better than taking them to Bridgeport or HUB or Laurelthirst. Better food and better beer.

    But to be honest there are so many good choices. I would steer clear of Deschutes and Rogue, because well they are not specifically Portland-based and their beer can be purchased nationally these days. I think if you want to give them the Portland experience it's better to take them places that pour beer they can't buy in their home town grocery store.

  3. Hopworks? If they have kids in tow, maybe.

    Beer geek friends want to try the new shit: Burnside, Breakside, Commons, etc. If they haven't been here in a while, it's HotD and Cascade right off the bat.

    Never visited? Get in your car (or rent one) and drive out to Walking Man/Double Mtn/Full Sail/Everybody's/Big Horse. In town, those noobs will be taken to Deschutes, Brass, Lab, Gasthaus.

    Seasoned pros who want beer bars? Apex and Roscoe's right OTB.

  4. I work one day a week at Travel Portland, the visitor's information center in Pioneer Courthouse Square. The first thing I give tourists is a map. The second thing is the Oregon Brewer's Guild booklet Brew Ha Ha.

    So I trace tours for them that allow them to see a part of the city while walking from brewery to brewery to pub.

    The NW crawl starts at Lucky Lab, Bridgeport, Rogue, Deschutes, a stop for drunken shopping at Powells (the beer section is conveniently located on the ground floor). Then off to Bailey's taproom. Still have energy? Walk up broadway and have dinner at Higgins.

    Inner SE is compact, has great breweries/pubs, and is a totally different side of the city. HotD, Apex, Green Dragon, Cascade, MoHo. Or start at the reverse, walk across the Broadway Bridge and start at Upright.

    Yes, Portland has great beer. But I am also proud of our public transportation and people.

    Also, like Jason, I send every beer tourist to Bailey's.

  5. @SudsSister:
    I'm stumped. MoHo?

  6. Pub:
    When we had a beer friend visit from Nashville last summer for 3 days, we took him to:

    - Breakside
    - Lucky Lab Quimby
    - Lompoc 5Q
    - HUB BikeBar
    - Hair of the Dog
    - Deschutes
    - Baileys
    - Belmont Station
    - Horse Brass
    - Upright
    - BeerMongers
    - Apex
    - Double Mountain
    - Full Sail (HR)
    - Everybody's Brewing
    - Kennedy School (for breakfast before his flight)

    Didn't have time to squeeze in Walking Man on the Gorge day or Cheese Bar (he really wanted to go there), nor did we take him to Cascade Barrel House because he had no interest in wild/sour beers.

    We also went to a Timbers match, a house party and to Beermonger Sam's place to help him drain a keg of homebrew. I think he started planning his next trip to Portland before he even left town! :)

    @ Norman MoHo = Morrison Hotel (SE Morrison & 7th)

    @ SudsSister - when do you volunteer at TravelPortland? I volunteer there, too ~ every Saturday. We should put our heads together and make a better map/list to hand out to visitors. The Brew Ha is a decent resource but the maps in it aren't that great.


  7. @Norman: Morrison Hotel. A very well-kept secret, though I wrote a little about it when describing a Southeast Morrison pub crawl.

  8. Hey Brian! I'm there in Fridays! I just plot the beer crawls on out our regular maps (quickly explain to them the alphabet streets and write on the map Lucky Lab @19th & Q). All of the addresses are on the Brew Ha brochure, so it's a reference for all of my Sharpie dots! Rogue is kitty corner from Cargo on our maps.

    BTW, If it's a nice day, I encourage people to walk over a bridge. The city looks so beautiful from the bridges.

    I always send people to bailey's and not just for the beer and the location (though both are great), it's because other beer geeks go there. I travel a lot and the best recs I ever get are from people sitting beside me at a bar.

  9. I agree that season matters a lot. If its summer, a trip to the Hawthorne Lucky Lab is pretty fine. Also, Bottles on Fremont has an amazing patio.

    It also matters a lot who's coming--you almost have to tailor every itinerary to the visitor. One thing I often mention if people are staying more than a day or two is heading to Hood River. It's a great day trip (especially if you like waterfalls) and an even better overnighter.

  10. I nearly spit up my beer at Josh's comment that Migration is brewing some of the best beer in Portland. Also Spints has lost me with their boring tap selections and over the top prices. Bill, I know you love the Lab but I cant believe it really stands out. To me my first choice is always the taphouses over the breweries: Horse Brass, Bailey's, Saraveza at the top of the list. If I was going to take someone to a brewpub in town it probably would be Deschutes first because the taplist is always interesting. Hopworks would be my 2nd choice for a brewpub in town.

  11. I am glad someone finally said Saraveza. I am also a fan of Roscoe's.

    Prost! is a fun place to go as well.

  12. Henry's 12th Street Tavern, if you want food, just for sheer volume. Someday I'll have a bad beer there, but it hasn't happened yet.

    Belmont Station, if you just want beer.

    Deschutes, if you want to visit a brewery.

  13. Where's the Mongers love?! My sister comes to town and first place she wants to go is The Beermongers, but I think that's mostly to see Sean.
    Personally, I think the best place to drink beer in Portland is wherever I am drinking it.
    Why does Jim always have to include swear words? He can be so vulgar at times

  14. I moved away from Portland 1.5 years ago and I come to visit a couple times a year. When I do, I honestly do my best to go straight from the airport to Horse Brass. I actually love their fish and chips too and I always recommend that to friends.

    Then I tell them to walk down the street, pick a movie at Movie Madness and then a beer at Belmont Station.

    Let's see, I also recommend Fire on the Mountain. Ridiculously good food with a few good taps.

    I always tell folks to drink Double Mountain as well. That's most important...grab a pint of something from Double Mountain.

    I do recommend Hopworks as well, but I also tell people about Laurelwood, which I don't really like the atmosphere but they are some of the very best beer in town. I also find myself pointing people to Hawthorne's Lucky Lab.

    Of course the real beer geeks already know where they're going, so I don't have to tell them anything. HotD, Cascade, and Upright.


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