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Photograph: Courtesy Rosenstadt

The 13 best breweries in Portland to grab a pint

Taste delicious craft lagers, ales and sours—made with Willamette Valley hops and Bull Run water—from the best breweries in Portland

Written by
Jen Woo
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It’s a great time to be a beer drinker in the Pacific Northwest. With more than 75 breweries in Portland alone, there are a slew of great spots to grab a drink whether you prefer your brew hoppy or sour, Belgian or British. The tradition of beer brewing in Portland goes back all the way to the 1860s when Henry Weinhard’s beers were originally crafted in the Pearl District. Today, modern brewpubs are continuing the tradition of using fresh ingredients like Willamette Valley hops and barley and Bull Run water to craft beers that conveniently pair well with the best restaurants in Portland. So next time you're in PDX, makes sure these Portland breweries are at the top of the list of things to do in Portland—alongside the city's famous donuts, of course! 

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Best breweries in Portland

Breakside has a number of accolades under its belt already, including medals from the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival. The brewpub has a two-story space in Slabtown with a rotating roster of in-house brews dedicated to showcasing hoppy ales. For those who prefer a lighter brew though, Breakside also whips together a delicious passionfruit sour and a salted caramel stout as well as pilsners and IPAs. 

John Harris has a lengthy resume in the Oregon brewery world. He began in the 80s at McMenamins, was the founding brewer at Deschutes, and spent 20 years at Full Sail. When he opened Ecliptic in 2013, it was no surprise that the brewery would offer robust IPAs. What did come as a surprise was the menu of light sour ales made with real fruit like the Carina Peach Sour. 

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You'll find classic German and Czech beers here from former Chuckanut brewer Kevin Davey. The space is also enormous, thanks to co-founder Charlie Devereux’s vision for recreating the beer halls of Bavaria. A sprawling wood patio offers an outdoor spot to chill, nosh on bar bites and sip brews.

Want to chill in an old greenhouse with a diverse spread of refreshing beer? Of course you do. Level Beer is tucked in a former produce market with a video game theme and fun beer names to match like the dry-hopped saison, Ready Player One or the piney IPA Game On! The brewery was founded by three industry vets (two brewers and a pub-owner) who brought the place together with lagers, session ales, and IPAs. 

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Spartan in design, Baerlic offers just what you need to sit and enjoy a beer, and not much else. Come enjoy great IPAs or one of their experimental brews made with oats. Year-round beers include a pre-prohibition lager called Dad Beer and Punk Rock Time, a tropical, fruity and piney IPA. Or, check out some of the more unique varietals under the Seasonal & Experimental section for something a little different like the dark oat gose Starlighter and the coffee lager Grayscale.

Gigantic is the culmination of nearly thirty years of combined brewing experience between Van Havig and Ben Love. The idea was to have one regular IPA, and then everything else would be brewed just once. This didn’t quite work (disgruntled fans don't react well when losing their favorite beers), and so there are now a few regular beers; though experimentation still reigns supreme. Even more impressive is that the bottles feature original artwork. In the “Champagne Lounge,” one can find beers that never make it to bottle.

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Brewers James Dugan and Andy Miller took on the lack of New England-style hazy IPAs directly when they took over the Mash Tun Brewpub and developing a cloudy Juice Jr., reminiscent of orange juice. It blew up. Great Notion's brews are as whimsical as they are delicious with options like the Boo Berry Muffin fruited sour and I Smell Hops & Candy IPA.

Even though Upright holds a number of awards, it’s still something of an underground gem (qyite literally as the tasting room is in a basement). Brewmaster Alex Ganum inserts a Northwestern twist to French and Belgian styles, developing his own style with barrel-aged wild ales like Fantasia, Hearts' Beat, and Pathways saison. Due to their balance and restrained acidity, Upright’s wild ales are the popular choice, but Upright also offers IPAs, pilsners and more. 

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Culmination offers a rotating menu of IPAs as well as unique blends like a chocolate milk stout on nitro and ginger and lemon tea radler. The brewery also hosts popular events including release parties with Oregon breweries, vegan kitchen takeovers, and of course the beloved Coffee, Beer and Donuts festival.

Ruse maintains its serious fans with a selection of lagers and hazies. It's a small batch, artisanal brewery channeling all the artistic vibes of the city by working with local creators and musicians to design beers that pair with art and concept events for beer releases. Try their flagship West Coast IPA or the saison.

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Seeking rare barrel aged fruit sours? Look no further. With a portfolio of world-class sours, Cascade was one of the first to experiment with fruit, bacteria, and barrels. Just take a look at their extensive menu, teeming with fruity concoctions in a spread of varieties. Come here for a refreshing and delicious brew like mainstay Honey Ginger Lime, and chill on the covered patio.

Rosenstadt creates some of the smoothese, cleanest and most authentic German beers in Portland. It comes as no surprise considering co-founder Tobias Hahn is from Germany and holds a PhD in microbiology. He and partner Nick Greiner began with a Kölsch in 2015, and now have a Helles Lager and German Pale that circulate taplists through the city, including at Olympia Provisions Public House.

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Alan Taylor was sitting in Berlin, contemplating continuing a PhD in language, when things took an abrupt turn and he got a degree in brewing instead. He spent the next ten years between Germany and the U.S. as a brewer, before founding Zoiglhaus in 2016. Here, you’ll find classic German beers as well as a handful of American options. Taylor applied his knowledge of the obscure Berliner Weisse style his pilsner to win at GABF in 2017.

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A city where happy hour is law and brunch is religion, Portland, Oregon is a true food-lover’s dream. From a bustling Thai scene to an abundance of artisan coffee shops and microbreweries, Portland is a breeding ground to a diverse smorgasbord of high-caliber culinary experiences.

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