World’s Brewpub Capital: Portland

Read where to grab a pint of fine ale in the city that launched the microbrewery trend.


In the mid 1980s, Portland, Ore., kicked off the microbrew revolution that’s now spread across the United States. Today, Portland remains the brewpub capital, with the highest concentration of breweries anywhere (yes, even more than Munich). There are 32 pubs in the city and 38 in the surrounding area four you to check out on your next Portland vacation, all of which have what TravelPortland's communications and public relations manager Marcus Hibdon calls “an authentic feeling.”

Whether you’re not sure just what “hops” are or you can distinguish between an IPA (India Pale Ale) and a stout by scent only, there’s no better place to get a beer education than at one of the many Portland breweries. Any one of the area’s breweries will serve you a fresh pint, but here’s a roundup that highlights Portland’s brewpub variety.

Something Old: BridgePort Brewing Company

BridgePort Brewing Company, housed in a former rope factory, is the oldest craft brewer in Oregon with dining locations at the BridgePort Brewpub and BridgePort Ale House. Try the classic India Pale Ale (IPA) made with five hop varieties to produce a beer that’s more floral and citrus than bitter. BridgePort Brewpub, 1313 NW Marshall St., tel. 503-241-3612. Open: Mon. to Thurs., 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri. to Sat., 7 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Sun. 1 p.m.. to 9 p.m. BridgePort Ale House, 3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd., tel. 503-233-6540. Sun. to Thurs., 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Fri. and Sat., 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Something New: Hopworks Urban Brewery

Open in March 2008, Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) is the newest brewery in town, and it’s already won awards at the World Beer Cup 2008 for its Hopworks Organic IPA (gold medal) and the HUB Organic Lager (silver medal). Hopworks also claims to be Portland’s first eco-brewpub, making organic beer in a sustainable building that’s powered by 100 percent renewable energy. 2944 SE Powell Blvd, tel. 503-232-4677. Open: Sun. to Thurs., 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Just Brew: Hair of the Dog Brewing Company

The first beer that Hair of the Dog produced was Adam, a dessert beer. Now, the brewery is known for unusual styles and for bottle conditioning—re-fermenting beer in bottles so that it improves with age. 4509 SE 23rd Ave, tel. 503-232-6585. Call ahead to schedule a tour and to get accurate directions (the brewery’s Web site claims online mapping sources—like MapQuest—provide incorrect directions).

The Family Hangout: Laurelwood Public House

Laurelwood Public House was the first Portland brewery to produce Oregon Tilth-certified organic beers: Free Range Red and Tree Hugger Porter. Free Range Red, Laurelwood’s most popular beer, is an American Extra Strong Bitter (ESB), a style of red ale. It’s a little hoppier than an amber ale, says head brewer Chad Kennedy, but well balanced. You’ll notice both the sweet and bitter components. Bonus: Laurelwood has a kids’ play area with books and toys for children to enjoy while you relax. Laurelwood Public House & Brewery, 5115 NE Sandy Blvd., tel. 503-282-0622. Open: Mon. to Fri., 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sat. and Sun., 10 a.m. to midnight. Two other locations: Laurelwood NW Public House and Laurelwood Pizza Company.

Something for Everyone: Henry’s Tavern

At Henry’s Tavern in the Pearl District, there is virtually a beer for everyone, with 100 beers and hard ciders on tap including international beers that you’ll rarely find coming out of a keg in the United States and craft brews from around the country. 10 NW 12th Ave., tel. 503-227-5320. Open: Sun. to Thurs., 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Two In One: Rogue Distillery & Public House

Rogue is both a brewery and a rum distillery, distilling white, dark and hazelnut spiced rum in traditional small-batch copper pot stills. Come for a tour of the distillery in the Pearl’s historic brewing district, which includes a tasting. Or, if you’re sticking with beer, Rogue is known for its Dead Guy Ale. 1339 N Flanders, tel. 503-222-5910. Open: Sun. to Thurs., 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Fri. and Sat., 11 a.m. to 1a.m. Tours: Mon. to Fri. at 2 p.m. or by appointment.

Neighborhood Favorite: Alameda Brewhouse

You’ll know you’re at Alameda Brewhouse when you see the huge copper hop leaf hanging out front. The majority of the people at Alameda are from the immediate Beaumont-Wilshire neighborhood, says Alameda owner Matt Schumacher, and you’ll see just how diverse the neighborhood is, with everyone from young families to hipsters coming in for a pint of pale ale or black bear stout and a plate of fish and chips. 4765 NE Fremont St., tel. 503-460-9025. Open: Sun. to Thurs., 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fri. to Sat., 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Something Trendy: Raccoon Lodge and Brew Pub

If you want to try the latest beer trend, head to Raccoon Lodge and Brew Pub in southwest Portland’s Raleigh Hills neighborhood, where they’re making sour beer, a Belgian-style beer that’s aged in an oak barrel for 10 to 12 months. As you sip, check out the lodge’s décor to see just how much it lives up to its raccoon namesake. 7424 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy., tel. 503-296-0110. Open: Mon. to Sat., 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Beer and a Show: The Mission Theater and Pub

Grab a McMenamins Terminator or Ruby ale at Mission Theater and Pub—one of more than 50 venues run by the mega-microbrew company McMenamins—then sit back and enjoy the show. This Longshoreman’s Union-turned movie theater shows new releases, cult classics and art films. 1624 NW Glisan St., tel. 503-223-4527. Show times subject to change, so check Web site for movie listings (kids are allowed to matinees and first film showings with parent). Get the Burger, Beer & a Movie special for $10.50 per person every Wednesday night.

Destinations: Portland

Themes: Urban Endeavors

Activities: Pubs and Bars

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