Few American cities embrace their reputations with open (tattooed) arms like Portland, OR. Like the rivers that join near its head, Portland is a confluence — not of water, but of culture — and is recognized nationally for its love of all things food and drink as much as it is for beards and bicycles (not to mention tax-free shopping). Beer in particular is an art form in this city with a brewery scene that few other places in the world can match. Eating and drinking your way through the best of the city’s breweries and brew pubs is easily accomplished by anyone with a knack for logistics and 72 hours to spare. Start your planning with these standouts and book quickly if you can; February is packed with beer-related events that shouldn’t be missed.
Portland U-Brew & Pub
Photo Credit: Portland U-Brew & Pub
The list of good places to grab a good pint in Portland is endless, but drinking is a mere link in the chain for true beer aficionados. Portland U-Brew and Pub clearly understands this — the location caters to consumers and creators alike. Buy supplies for your own home brew setup or make a batch on premise with the help and advice of their expert staff. There’s also plenty of good food and beer on hand to pass the time while your batch is cooking. 6237 Southeast Milwaukie Avenue Portland, OR 97202
Photo Credit: BTU Brasserie
We know a Chinese restaurant that also brews beer seems strange. But we’ve certainly had moments with blazing Sichuan food where a cold beer would have been a godsend. BTU Brasserie combines a seven-barrel in-house brewery with an authentic Chinese kitchen, serving like homemade Chow Fun noodles and more in a low-key atmosphere that belies its lofty concept. The result is a dining experience you won’t forget anytime soon. 5846 Northeast Sandy Boulevard, Portland, OR 97213
Occidental Brewing Company
Photo Credit: Occidental Brewing Company
Belgium may be the mecca for the world’s best beers in the eyes of some. The Occidental Brewing Company’s founders would beg to differ. The Montanans-turned-Portlanders specialize in making classic German brews, including a Hefeweizen, Kölsch and Dunkel, as well as seasonals of the moment. Sit a while at the tap room or fill up kegs and growlers to take home. Either way, you’re promised a good beer. 6635 N. Baltimore Ave., Portland, OR 97203
10 of Portland’s brewmasters have teamed up to create 10 never-before-sampled beer recipes in the spirit of collaboration. All of them will be on hand at the kickoff celebration on January 24th as well as good eats from local food trucks. If you can’t make that party, the good news is all of the exclusive beers will be available at each brewery through February 28th.
This annual event encourages locals and tourists alike to get to know brewers across the state of Orgeon like never before. More than 100 breweries will open their doors to the public, giving visitors the chance to meet the makers of locals beers and try some samples. It falls on Valentine’s day this year and stretches over President’s Day weekend — so considered your plans made.
As the name hints, the Malt Ball marries beer and music like no other festival on earth. The all-night event features a continuous lineup of Portland’s best bands and the opportunity to taste specialty-brewed beers that were created to specifically to match each act’s musical style. In other words, your drink should match the vibe like never before.
Coalition Brewing Co.
Photo Credit: Coalition Brewing Co.
After making your way through Germany’s finest contributions to the beer world at Occidental, allow Coalition Brewing Co. to make its case for the English way of doing things. While their general style is described as “English with a northwest influence”, all of their beers, including Mr. Pigs Pale Ale, the Hanso Stout, Two Dogs IPA, The Wu Cream Ale and The Loving Cup Maple Porter, offer unique flavor profiles you won’t find anywhere else. 2705 SE Ankeny, Portland, OR, 97214
Photo Credit: Ecliptic Brewing
Founder John Harris is an icon in the Oregon brew scene responsible for numerous well-known beers, including Full Sail’s Brewmaster Reserve line of beers. His latest venture ties his love of astronomy to beer by featuring a rotating menu of suds and food that switches every six weeks on the old-world calendar — changing on Samhain, the Winter Solstice, Brigid’s Day, the Spring Equinox, Beltane, the Summer Solstice, Lammas and the Autumnal Equinox. Fill your stomach with upscale sandwiches like the lamb dip and a plate of Northwest cheeses, followed by house-made ice cream for dessert. Then wash it all down with stellar-themed beers, like the Pluto Belgian Table Beer or a Frosty Leo. 825 North Cook St. Portland, OR 97227
Ex Novo Brewing Co.
Photo Credit: Ex Novo Brewing Co.
Ordering a meal and craft-brewed beer here should make you feel good in more ways than one. The 10-barrel brewery is actually a nonprofit built to donate 100 percent of its net profits to causes aimed at creating positive social change both locally and abroad. As for the drinks: You’ll find the typical rotation of seasonals in addition to rarer offerings like barrel-aged options and sours. And since it’s not bottled or canned as of yet, enjoying it off the tap at the brewery is one of the only ways to try it. 2326 North Flint Avenue, Portland, OR 97227
Breakside Brewing Co.
Photo Credit: Breakside Brewing Co.
This local brewery with two Portland locations is pretty clear on its mission, stating: “We believe in the righteousness of the right beer with the right people over the right food for the right occasion.” Since it produces a total of 40 beers, including seasonals and small-batch offerings, there’s no shortage of drinking options for even the most fanatical beer lovers. If you’re hungry visit the pub location to inhale curry fried chicken or a carne asada plate. If beer is the mission, the Milwaukie Brewery’s 24 rotating taps has you more than covered. 820 Northeast Dekum Street Portland, OR 97211