There are many types of beers, and Portland is well known for having the most breweries (over 70) than any other city on Earth. That’s quite an amazing feat. But, we’re up to the challenge.
It all started when BridgePort Brewing and Widner Brothers Brewing were founded in 1984 in the Pearl District close to where Henry Weinhard’s were brewed back in the 1860’s. (Portland and beer have had a loving relationship for a long time.)
And, it’s more than just breweries. We also have a great variety of brew pubs, microbreweries, taprooms, craft breweries, and restaurants that partner with them to do fun food pairings.
Brew Pubs, Taprooms, Breweries, And Microbreweries, Oh My.
There are so many names for places that turn water, hops, grain sugar, and yeast into a most amazing beer. The main difference is volume.
Larger breweries tend to have the standard beers that they produce, and may come out with a holiday beer for fun. Smaller breweries tend to run limited batches. While you may be sad not to see one that you loved, chances are good you’ll find a new beer to take its place in your heart.
Smaller breweries tend to be independently owned. But there are large corporations like ABInbev that do have a stake in some of the smaller breweries. That’s not a bad thing. It can help the smaller breweries survive when times get tough. And usually, the large corporation leaves the brewer alone to work his craft.
Not all breweries have tasting rooms available to the public. It depends upon what type of business they are. Some brewers sell to wholesalers who then sell to a retailer who sells to you. Sometimes the brewer sells directly to you or to the retailer (like a restaurant or market) who then sells to you.
A brewpub and taprooms are similar in that they need to sell at least 25% of their product onsite. Brewpubs also sell food. Taprooms don’t.
That doesn’t mean you won’t find a place called a taproom that sells food. Strict definitions are for places other than Portland.
Is There A Difference Between Red Ales And Ambers
There actually is. Amber beers use crystal malt for flavor and color. Red ales have a lighter flavor with the caramel flavor more toned down. Ales are also drier than ambers with a slightly higher alcohol percentage.
Both use top-fermenting yeast and don’t require long fermentation.
And both are wonderful any time of the year.
Is Food Important?
Whether you should pair your beer with food all depends upon the occasion. If you’re relaxing with some suds between work and home, you may just want the low overhead of a nice atmosphere where you can drink your beer.
Other times, you may want to turn it into an occasion with a full meal.
And beer with some appetizers can be a fun date.
So where are some fun places you should try out? Here are 5 breweries in Portland you should try:
The Beer Mongers
Portland on SE Division St
The Beer Mongers describe themselves as a retail store and microbar with at least 550 beers. There is no food. It’s a great place to go and try some new beers and compare them with different breweries around the globe. It’s a very relaxed environment, and the bartenders are very knowledgeable if you have questions or wish recommendations.
You can stop by 1125 SE Division Street, Portland.
Or, visit them online at: thebeermongers.com
Gigantic Brewing – Brewery & Taproom
The location at SE Steele is a true taproom connected to the brewery. All of the beer is crafted on-site. There is no food. There is an outside patio with umbrellas and a gigantic taproom where you can enjoy a beer with friends. The beers do change regularly, but you can usually find a nice red ale. There is a second location on NE 70th which is family-friendly. There are shared picnic tables outside and inside where you can bring your own food.
You can check it out at 5224 SE 26th Ave, Portland, Oregon 97202
Or, visit them online at: giganticbrewing.com
Backwoods Brewing Company Pub
Hidden in the Pearl District, the Backwoods Brewing Company offers a nice selection of upscale brewpub food, flights and. Look for the Copperline amber ale. The notes of orange and spices make it refreshing. This amber pairs well with spicy foods like their buffalo wings or any of their burgers. They even have a Cuban that would be a great choice. And they do accept reservations through Open Table.
They do have two locations. Backwoods in the Pearl is located at 231 NW 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209. Their other location is in Carson, Washington.
Visit them online at: Backwoodsbrewingcompany.com
How can you not love that name? Beer O’Clock is hidden between Grassa and Lardo in Downton on the Southwest side. You can order food from either place and eat it at Beer O’Clock. The taproom is warm and friendly with good lighting. They refer to themselves as a “beer hall” and the staff is very knowledgeable about the product they pour. There is a happy hour every day. The patio that they share with Grassa and Lardo is quite large. Originally Beer O’Clock was named Beer Belly when they opened in 2016. It’s a favorite with the locals and workers in the area.
Check it out at: 1205 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97205
Or, visit them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/beerbellyportland/
Von Ebert Brewing
The Pearl District is still quite popular with the brewers. The Pearl Von Ebert is counter order and self-seating. There’s another in Glendoveer. They also have a happy hour menu that will lead to some very happy hours. And they have a kid’s menu for families. Von Ebert has smokers at both locations for creating some amazing meats including pork belly.
Check it out at: 11800 NW Cedar Falls Dr #110, Portland, OR 97229
Or, visit them online at: www.vonebertbrewing.com
And don’t forget to look for beer festivals. They tend to show up quite often. There’s a Beer Week, Hops Fest, Craft Beer Festival, and the Holiday Ale Festival where you can find some amazing Amber Ales. Double-check the dates and times before you go. Many require you to purchase tickets in advance.
Did You Know…
In addition to our breweries, Portland is also known as the Foodie capital of the world. Make sure to check out, “Portland – The Foodie Destination Of The World.”