If craft beer is your thing, then Portland, Oregon is your city.
There are currently more than 80 craft breweries within the metro area to keep you busy, not to mention all of those in nearby towns like Eugene, Bend and Astoria. Some might try and argue otherwise, but Portland very well could be the craft beer capital of the country.
Regardless of your personal beer preferences, there really is something for everyone here. Breweries are serving up a variety of craft brews from Belgium-style farmhouse ales to experimental sours and award-winning IPAs, so there is a lot to taste and explore. It feels irresponsible to put together a short list and call it Portland’s “best” breweries. But for travelers who don’t have enough time to visit 80-plus taprooms, here are five of our favorites that you should check out next time you’re in The City of Roses.
Although it’s relatively new to the scene, Culmination has jumped to the top tier of Portland breweries. With an incredibly diverse tap list, this is a great spot to stay awhile and discover a variety of different beer styles, some of which may be new to you. Culmination has a charming micro-brewery vibe where you can sit and enjoy your beer just a few feet from where it was made. There are no bad options here, and they always have new and innovative offerings. Invisible Forces IPA is a popular pick. But if you want something bold and different, try the Sour Flower, made with raspberry and lime.
The Pacific Northwest is known for hoppy IPAs, and Breakside is known for producing some of the best—with the awards to prove it. With stylish brewpubs on either side of town, Breakside is truly one of Portland’s favorite places to get consistently great beer and equally delicious food. It’s a big claim, but they also might have the best brewery pretzel in town. Pro tip: spend the additional $1 for the extra beer cheese. Their flagship Breakside IPA is a winner (literally), but you also have to try the Salted Caramel Stout.
Somewhat hidden in the basement of an Eastside office building, Upright Brewing isn’t very well known, despite it being one of the city’s finest breweries. The taproom is located next to where the production happens, with tables and chairs arranged alongside barrels and miscellaneous brewing equipment, giving you an immersive experience. Most of the beers here are delicately nuanced French and Belgium farmhouse-style ales. You have to try Four Hands, a wine-inspired Saison farmhouse ale that clocks in at 9.5 percent ABV. It’s tart, tangy and moderately floral. Even if you don’t normally drink fruit beers, this one might convert you.
Ground Breaker Brewing
Just because you’re gluten-free doesn’t mean you have to miss out on great craft beer. Ground Breaker is devoted to making 100 percent gluten-free beer and food. No items containing gluten are allowed through the door of their Southeast Portland production facility where they brew, bottle and distribute their beer. The gastropub next door is where you can sample their lineup (as well as some exclusive small batch beers) and enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner. Try their Dark Ale, which is made using espresso-like roasted chestnuts and lentils, along with dark Belgian-style candy, for a roasted flavor and aroma with notes of chocolate and dark fruit.
Located in a massive grey brick structure in an industrial Southeast Portland neighborhood, the Ruse Brewing taproom is never empty. With the sun streaming through the windows, you’ll feel as if you’ve entered a brewing temple. Grab a seat at the bar and enjoy a clear view into their brewhouse as future Ruse beer comes to life, all while enjoying live music and a barrel-aged saison. Their Grizzly Menace is a dark, rich coffee porter that is incredibly easy to drink. But they built their following on Hazy IPAs, and they have several phenomenal options from which to choose.