There are nearly 3,500 craft breweries in the U.S., and here in Oregon, you’ll find approximately 194 in 72 cities. The Portland area alone makes up 91 of those in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties; the metro area with the most breweries in the country!
Just thirty years ago there were only seven in the entire state; craft brew giants BridgePort, Widmer, McMenamins, Portland/MacTarnahan’s, Full Sail, Deschutes and Rogue. Then came the next big-scale craft brew pub road-pavers Lucky Labrador, Mt. Hood, Laurelwood, and 13 Virtues Brewing, etc.
Craft brew is a huge passion in my family. When we get a date night, my husband and I almost always end up at a taphouse. We love to sample beer flights at new places, talk to the brewers and get tours of their big-barrel systems. It’s safe to say we are craft beer geeks.
It all started seven years ago when my husband took his average love of beer to the next level and started homebrewing; first in my kitchen, then in our attached garage and now his very own brew space in the detached garage at the home we just purchased. When he brews, it brings people together. The entire family gets involved in helping, neighbors drop by to observe, taste and chat, and before we know it, the whole community is buzzing about his beer!
It is with this vision of community love for craft brew that my husband dreams of opening perhaps the 92nd brewery in Portland. A dream that is quickly becoming a reality called Kaiser Brewing (Kb), in our hometown of Forest Grove, just thirty minutes west of Portland.
Craft brew is more than just beer, it’s an art. Not only does it take skill and precision to make, but it requires talent to create innovative and unique blends that appeal to a wide variety of palates. Beer is not just for men, either. The diversity of beer styles and flavors are enjoyed by women as well! So moms, take advantage of living in beer mecca this summer, grab your spouse or a girlfriend and get out there and try a few new-to-you spots and taste some brew. Cheers!
Here are the local breweries in the tri-county area, and (if applicable) my or Kb’s personal faves on tap.
Note: while many taphouses and pubs describe themselves as “breweries,” I’ve limited this list to include only those that brew and serve at least one of their own beers. I’ve also eliminated the original, “big boys” listed above as they kinda go without saying.
Alameda Brewing Co. 4765 NE Fremont
A 20-barrel brewery and public house, featuring NW fare menu, a full liquor bar, select wines, and seven house ales and eight seasonal brews of their very own on tap.
Wynter’s pick: Bad Bunny Imperial Cream Ale
Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) 2944 SE Powell Blvd
Portland’s first eco-brewpub, HUB is a sustainably built and operated with 100% renewable energy. The 20-barrel batch brewery offers 15 of their own brews on tap, a brand-new hard cider, and a full lunch/dinner menu using local ingredients at two locations.
Kb pick: Ace of Spades (IIPA)
Ex Novo Brewing Co. 2326 N. Flint Ave.
Translated as “from scratch,” Ex Novo is a 10-barrel nonprofit brewing company built from the ground up, committed to donating 100% of their net profits to organizations promoting positive social change. They offer a menu of gourmet pub fare and over ten of their own brews on tap, a selection of whiskeys, wines and bottled hard cider.
Kb pick: Elliot (IPA)
Base Camp Brewing Co. 930 SE Oak St.
Most famous for their unique and outdoorsy looking 22 oz aluminum bottles, Base Camp offers their ten brew line-up on a huge system in their tap room with partnering food carts for hungry patrons.
Wynter’s pick: Northwest Fest
Hair of the Dog Brewing Co. 61 SE Yamhill St.
One of Portland’s oldest breweries, Hair of the Dog pours a select number of their unique beers from their 4-barrel brewhouse on tap and in bottles, and offers a full pub menu.
Kb pick: Fred (Belgium Strong Ale)
Lompoc Brewing 3901 N Williams Ave.
With six year-round brews and numerous more seasonal selections on tap, Lompoc brews in 15-barrel batches to distribute to five locations all over Portland, and bottles available for purchase up and down the west coast. Hungry? They offer a different gourmet pub menu at each location.
Kb pick: Kick Axe (Pale Ale)
Old Town Brewing 5201 NE MLK Blvd.
A restaurant and brewery in NE and a pizza taphouse in a haunted historic building in old town, this brewery pours, bottles and even DELIVERS five signature beers and four rotating seasonal beers. In addition to being famous for their resident ghost, Nina, Old Town has amazing pizza, cocktails and a selection of local wines.
Wynter’s pick: Sun Dazed (Kolsch)
PINTS Urban Brewery 412 NW 5th Ave.
Come here in the am for breakfast and brewed coffee instead of beer! Stay through the afternoon until the evening and enjoy lunch, dinner and live music with their ten NW and British inspired ales, brewed on their 3.5-barrel system.
Wynter’s pick: Tropical Flash (Pale Ale)
StormBreaker Brewing 832 N. Beech St.
Six regular beers on tap, eight seasonals, and a full bar along with a full public house menu in the cool North Mississippi Ave. district. StormBreaker has also started bottling three of their most popular brews, available for take-home.
Kb pick: Mississippi Red (Dry Hopped Red Ale)
Upright Brewing 240 N Broadway
A smaller taphouse tasting room open Thursday-Sunday, Upright offers two regular styles on draft, a German Pilsner and a sour ale, and one-off batches of seasonal brews. They also sell four bottled varieties of Saison beer.
Wynter’s pick: When available, Orange Dream (Belgium Wit)
Burnside Brewing Co. 701 E. Burnside
A culinary masterful lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menu and six brews on tap with seven seasonals, Burnside brews in 15-barrel batches in the heart of Portland’s east side.
Wynter’s pick: Sweet Heat (Wheat)
Cascade Brewing 939 SE Belmont
Part of the Raccoon Lodge and AKA the “House of Sour,” Cascade specializes in sour beers, featuring more than 18 rotating taps, bottled products, and a full menu for lunch and dinner.
Coalition Brewing Co. 2705 SE Ankeny
A 10-barrel brewery and tasting room open only on weekends, Coalition serves up eight regular brews, a seasonal selection and a rotating “coalator” on tap in collaboration with local homebrewers.
Kb pick: Two Dogs (IPA)
Ecliptic Brewing 825 North Cook St.
After working for brewing giants McMenamins, Deschutes and Full Sail, the owner and founder of Ecliptic began brewing for himself a selection of beers, food menu, and keg sales, offered seasonally throughout the year.
The Commons 630 SE Belmont St.
A 15-barrel brewhouse, The Commons started out as a small garage nano brewery, and now has a small tap/tasting room with 13 rotating taps featuring two year-round brews, six rotating, and 14 seasonal brews, a few of which are also available in bottles.
Kb pick: Pils (Pilsner)
Baerlic Brewing Co. 2235 SE 11th Ave.
Meaning “of barley” in old English, Baerlic is a brewery that distributes all over Portland area bars, and strives to have at least ten brews served up for tastings, pints, and growler fills in their own tap room in SE Portland.
Humble Brewing (Location not published)
Celebrated as Oregon’s smallest brewery, this 2-barrel brewery is still out of the founder’s garage, so they do not have a taproom open to the public at this time, but can be found in numerous bars and restaurants around Portland.
Wynter’s pick: The Heist (Belgium Blonde)
Gigantic Brewing Co. 5224 SE 26th Ave.
A small taproom, Gigantic serves up 2-4 brews on tap at a time. All but their IPA are temporary seasonal brews and guest taps. They fill growlers and sell 22 oz. bottles.
Kb Pick: Gigantic IPA
Columbia River Brewing Co. 1728 NE 40th Ave.
A fairy new brewery in a historic brewing building, they have seven regulars on tap, and a few seasonals, and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Culmination Brewing 2117 NE Oregon St.
Having just opened the spring of 2015, Culmination features two of their own IPAs, along with several guest taps and wine pours in their taproom with a small plate menu.
Ground Breaker Brewing 2030 SE 7th Ave.
The only dedicated gluten-free brewery in Portland, Ground Breaker brews and bottles eight unique beers using chestnut, sorghum, tapioca and lentils as gluten-free grains on 7-barrel system. They also feature a gluten-free menu in their gastropub at a secondary location.
Migration Brewing 2828 NE Glisan St.
Not a lot of information is available on this brewery, but they are a great place to hang out, enjoy one of their seven brews on tap, a bite to eat from their full pub menu, and even rent their “annex” space for special events.
Wynter’s pick: Clem’s Cream Ale (Blond Ale)
Montavilla Brew Works 7805 SE Stark St.
There are two regular beers and four rotating seasonals, including a barley wine on tap at Montavilla’s tap room. Light snacks are also available for purchase.
Nation Brewery NE Sandy & Couch
Priding themselves on being the first Portland brewery to distribute in aluminum cans, this once tiny nano brewery is now a 7-barrel batch brewery. And while they do not have a tasting/tap room of their own, they distribute all over Portland, Vancouver and throughout Pennsylvania.
Occidental Brewing Co. 6635 N. Baltimore Ave.
Five beers are offered up at Occidental’s tap room for tasting, pints, growler and keg-filling. They are also available in many bars and restaurants around Portland.
Kb pick: Kolsch
Sasquatch Brewing Co. 6440 SW Capitol Highway
12 beers are brewed on a 7-barrel system, and full lunch, dinner and happy hour menus are offered plus guest ciders and wine in their public house. Sasquatch brews can also be found on permanent rotating taps in bars and restaurants all over Portland.
Kb pick: Oregon (Session Ale)
Uptown Market 6620 SW Scholls Ferry Rd., Beaverton
Starting out as a tap room and specialty beer and homebrew supply store, Uptown Market is now a 7-barrel brewery serving up 13 of their own craft beers, and many rotating guest taps. They also just opened a secondary location, a full menu public house in Lake Oswego.
Kb pick: USSR (Rye Session Ale)
Vertigo Brewing 21420 NW Nicholas Ct., Hillsboro
One of my personal favorite spots, this tap and tasting room-only brewery partners with food carts for hungry patrons, and has nine of their own beers on tap plus rotating guest taps featuring other great local beers. Check their website for fun, weekly events like painting, trivia and movie nights.
Wynter’s Pick: Apricot Cream Ale
Ambacht 1060 NE 25th Ave., Hillsboro
Brewing and bottling only Belgium-inspired farmhouse ales, this small taproom is an amazing little west-side gem! Their beers are available on tap or bottles at the brewery and in limited quantities here and there around Portland.
Wynter’s pick: Pie Cherry Pale (Farmhouse Ale)
Three Mugs Brewing Co. 2020 NW Aloclek Dr., Hillsboro
Starting out as a home brew supply shop, this small brewery and tap room still offers some classes and demonstrations, ten of their own beers on tap and a host of other local brews, ciders and wines. You can also buy bottles and fill growlers and kegs.
Brannon’s Brewery 3800 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton
A state-of-the-art 20-barrel system inside a beautiful designed restaurant with a fantastic menu and a full bar, Brannon’s is the epitome of public house.
Wynter’s Pick: Orange Boom (Belgium Ale)
Waltz Brewing Co. 1900 A St., Forest Grove
The first official nano brewery in Forest Grove, and one of our favorite places to hang out, Waltz started out as a taphouse with 5-10 guest taps on the chalkboard, but has now grown to over 20, five of which they brew in-house. They also pour wine and cider, have live music, and partner with a local hot dog vendor for grub.
Feckin Brewing Co. 415 S McLoughlin Blvd., Oregon City
This Irish-inspired brewery pours six of their rotating Irish ales in pints, growlers and kegs in their small taproom.
Kb pick: Feckin IRA (Irish Red Ale)
Boring Brewing Co. 13503 SE Richey Rd., Boring
The only thing boring about this beer is the name. A newer nano-brewery without a taphouse, Boring makes and distributes beers in bars and restaurants as well as online.
Wynter’s pick: Boring Brown (Brown Ale)
Fearless Brewing Co. 326 S. Broadway St., Estacada
Nestled in a tiny town along the banks of the Clackamas River, Fearless brews eight beers in cans for distributions, and on tap in their full-menu public house and in bars all over Oregon, Washington and Western Canada.
Wynter’s pick: Peaches and Cream Ale
Bunsen Brewer 16506 SE 362nd Ave., Sandy
Sandy’s only brewery is a full-menu public house with seven of their own beers on their tap line, along with a host of guest taps.
Stickman Brewing Co. 40 N. State St., Lake Oswego
This 7-barrel brewery in addition to the wide range of their own craft brew on tap has a full pub menu, serves cocktails and wine. You can find them distributed all over Oregon as well.
Wynter’s pick: Pineapple Wheat (Fruit Beer)
Oregon City Brewing Co. 1401 Washington St., Oregon City
A small, 3-barrell nano-brewery completely built from the ground up in a detached garage, now a taproom with 44 taps, featuring six of OC’s own craft, and local cider, wine and root beer guest taps.
Wynter’s pick: Hank’s Marionberry (Blond Ale)
Fly Boy Brewing 15630 Boones Ferry Rd., Lake Oswego
With 24 taps featuring local beers, ciders, kombucha and 1-2 of their own brewed on their small 1-barrel system, this taproom and home brew supply store also serves light pub fare.