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recommendations on sampling local brews?

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I am visiting Portland this week and have been getting hungry browsing the board for food suggestions. I'm especially excited to check out the food cart scene!

I also love craft beer and would love the check out the local beer scene given that Portland has so many microbrews. Any recommendations on places that have a good selection of local beers on tap, or brewpubs/microbreweries to visit? Bonus points for places with knowledgeable staff who are willing to talk me through the selection a bit.

Thanks!

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  1. Belmont Station and the Horse Brass Pub are both close to eachother and are some of the best beer bars in town. They are both in Southeast Portland.

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    Horse Brass Pub
    4534 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR

    1. The Horse Brass folks would be able to talk you through the selection, and guide you to some choice local selecs. But keep in mind, HB is an English style pub, not a microbrewery. Portland has no shortage of those, and I would recommend you check out Descutes in the Pearl District. Quality place, with good food as well. And you might as well check out one of the many McMenamins - not the best food, and people have differing opinions on the beer, but I personally think it's worth a visit to whichever one is closest to you.

      1. Downtown on weekdays and Saturdays (they're closed on Sundays), I'd recommend Bailey's Taproom at SW Broadway & Ankeny, a block south of Burnside. 20 beers on tap, almost all of which are from Oregon and SW Washington brewers, including some good 'really local' Portland-area brews you won't find elsewhere.

        As for brewpubs, here in SE Portland I'd recommend Roots (SE 7th & Clay) and Hopworks (HUB) (SE Powell & 30th-ish), both of which are very close to downtown and easily accessible via transit. Be forewarned the latter is very "family friendly". But the beer is definitely worth it, and the food is quite decent for 'pub grub', as well.

        As for our food carts, here's a good resource -

        http://www.foodcartsportland.com/

        1. Thanks for the suggestions!

          Will try to hit Bailey's Taproom as it's right by our hotel. Also we plan to go to the Pearl District for First Thursday so will definitely hit Deschutes and maybe Rogue. We went to Bridgeport yesterday and today went to Lucky Lab where they were really great with talking us through the sampler choices. Walked by Laurelwood which was closed for renovations but it looks like it'd be a really nice atmosphere for drinks.

          We've been enjoying the food carts for lunches so far. Have tried the Brunchbox youcanhascheeseburger, Tabor schnitzelwich (SO good!), Nong’s Khao Man Gai chicken rice (though sadly they had run out of fried chicken skin) and Ziba's spinach pita. Dinners have been at Clyde Common, Toro Bravo and tonight was Le Pigeon. Food has been fantastic so far. Portland seems to be a great city for eating.

          I may just have to plan another trip to sample everything we aren't able to fit in!

          2 Replies
          1. re: twinkienic

            Rogue has lots of taps and does a nice tasting tray (hey, you can try 4-5 at a time that way!), and they have taps of stuff they don't bottle, too. Eat at Deschutes, though, MUCH better food than Rogue.

            Glad you are enjoying your time in Portland!

            1. re: twinkienic

              Just had the 6-beer sampler tray at Widmer Gasthaus, the one of all the beers they make and sell only at that location (don't bother with the Hefeweizen, as you can get that anywhere in the country). Great stuff!

              Thanks for reporting.

            2. It's likely too late for your visit, twinikenic, but I'll add to the discussion, particularly since I was on a recent pub crawl in downtown PDX.

              First and foremost, I recommend Tugboat Brewery, which happens to be right across the street/alley from Bailey's. TB is the working man's brewpub. Old-fashioned and quaint. But most importantly it has good brews. Had a dry, brown cider, Spire Mtn (from Olympia?), which is the only good hard cider I have ever had. This place has been around for a longtime, too, and has been brewing its own good beers. Once had a most deliciously crisp and clean rye beer of their making. TB's prices are slightly lower than other's as well. A very friendly atmosphere like a local neighborhood bar. No attitude here.

              Liked Bailey's Tap Room well enough, but was crowded and had kinda a chi-chi atmosphere. Liked that they had sampler trays available.

              Rogue was purdee good. A wide variety of selections and all are quite good. Bonus points for handing out free samplers.

              Deschuttes is a bit on the trendy and crowded side (think Gordon Biersch if you are from California), but they have good beer. What sold me on the place was that I was having a dickens of a time getting served at the admittedly crowded bar and when I final did catch a bartender's eyes I waved my arm and apparently had a very glum/annoyeddispirited look on my face, as he gave me a free pint.

              For a more low-key and pubby experience, with the exception of the Tugboat, I would recommend any of the pubs in SE Portland, which others here are suggesting, although I cannot vouch for any in particular. I do like the Laurelthirst for a pub with live music; it is on SE Belmont.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Dr Chow

                Laurelthirst is on Glisan, not Belmont.

              2. so far, with the exception of Bailey's(which is stellar!), everyone has missed the actual places to go!

                Upright Brewing's tasting room in the Left Bank Building just NE of the Rose Garden should not be missed. Only open 1-6pm Sat. and Sun. and 4:30-9pm Fridays but probably the best brewery opening in Portland in the last year!

                Apex on 12th and SE Division just opened and with 30 of the most well curated taps(soon to expand to 50), a really well versed staff and killer patio.

                Too late for your visit(well, all these suggestions I guess are too late for you....hopefully not others that follow you) but Breakside Brewing is set to open the 3rd week of May up on NE Dekum(catty corner from Firehouse Restaurant). Highly anticipated.

                3 Replies
                1. re: nkeane

                  I just drank some of Upright's new Belgian sour aged in Pinot Noir casks called Four Play. It was really good. I really want to check out Apex, do they have food there?

                  1. re: porky pine

                    no food at Apex but there is a Los Gorditos directly next door, as well as a couple other cafes or restaurants around there. They(Apex) will let you bring in whatever food you would like, and I do believe they are working on, or have already got a few of the places around there to deliver.

                    1. re: nkeane

                      I went into Apex tonight and they do have a really good list of beers at good prices. I like the vibe better at Saraveza though.