Portland’s best brew pub?

I get to play tour guide and guest hostess to several dozen out of towners attending a week-long meeting here in PDX. Last year, their meeting overlapped with the Oregon Brewer’s Festival. This year, we’ll miss it by a week – a fact I’m hearing complaints about left and right, let me tell you!

So if I’m putting together a guide of authentic local brewpubs, where do I start? What do I leave off the list? (Rock Bottom seems too corporate-y to me.) Does Bridgeport in NW still warrant a mention, or have they gone too yuppified? Will Laurelwood work for those escaping their own children for a week?

Keep in mind that many of these travelers are from far-flung lands where microbrews are a foreign concept, while others are home-brewing types convinced they’re journeying to the Holy Land.

Bonus points to those mentioning locations close-in to downtown or easily accessible via mass transit – my hostly requirements don’t extend as far as providing transportation and/or a late night taxi/shuttle service. (Besides, I’ve been promised several beverages myself if I come up with the right stuff, so won’t be doing any designated driver-ing.)

Hmmm…maybe I need to put together (or find) a Beer Bus here….

7 Comments so far

  1. Greg Passmore (unregistered) on May 30th, 2006 @ 7:52 pm

    The tugboat is downtown, who brew their own beer, and some people swear by it, but its kind of dumpy.

    For the selection of beer downtown, the bar at Higgin’s has a very good selection, usually including some casks.

    At RiverPlace, Full Sail has a brewery and tap room inside the McCormick’ Harborside restaurant. They have a great selection of rare full sail ales , including some in the cask as well as some good guest taps.

    You’ve got to at least pop in to Henry’s tavern to glance at the 101 beers they have on tap.

    In the Pearl, Rogue has a decent brewpub, but you are better off sticking to the beer than the food. They have a good selection of merchandise.

    BridgePort is a bit yuppified, but they still have good beer and they have neat widgets that cool the glasses with ice water before they pour the beer from giant chrome and brass taps. I also think the food is pretty decent.

    Deeper in NW on Quimby, the new Lucky Lab Beer Hall provides the anti-bridgeport. It is a big open hall with picnic tables and no TVs. They have about 15 of their own beers on tap, several of which are organic. They serve imperial sized pints and have a tuesday $2.75 pint deal I believe.

    On 23rd Ave, New Old Lompoc provides a tasty selection of their own brews with a killer patio and pretty solid pub food. They have miser monday w/ $2.00 pints.

    South on 23rd you’ve got the NW incarnation of Laurelwood, which has a pretty decent patio and seven or so of their brews.

    There are a lot of McMenamins to choose from in downtown/NW, but my favorite is probably Blue Moon on 21st and Glisan. They have the firepit, the corner people watching and a lot of space.

    If you go over to the eastside, my favorites are Amnesia on N Mississippi, the Widmer Gasthaus on N Interstate, and the Horse Brass on Belmont.

  2. ExtraMSG (unregistered) on May 30th, 2006 @ 11:24 pm

    If you’re willing to do a more yuppified/corporate place like Bridgeport or Rock Bottom, why not Henry’s with its — what is it — like 100 beers on tap?

    I don’t drink, so I can’t suggest quality so much. But if you’re as concerned with food, it’s hard to beat Lompoc. And remember, there’s one right next to the North Portland Pix now.

    You should check out a couple of good PortlandFood.org threads on the subject. There are some major beer lovers.



  3. The Pirate King (unregistered) on May 31st, 2006 @ 1:11 am

    I recommend the Kennedy School. Send them to ‘Detention’ for a shot of whiskey…

  4. dieselboi (unregistered) on May 31st, 2006 @ 8:00 am

    if doing mcmenamins, go to Kennedy School or Edgefield for the experience, not the beer.

    Amnesia in N. is my choice. true brewpub feel and crowd, plus the added benefit of a nice walking street and some retail therapy. say hi to my homeys.

    i also am a fan of Lucky Lab in SE. a unique place with fine beer and cool dogs.

  5. Kai Jones (unregistered) on May 31st, 2006 @ 10:54 am

    Back in the day, the Portland Opera ran an annual fundraiser of a pub crawl with a bus to take the patrons around town.

  6. Brent Miller (unregistered) on May 31st, 2006 @ 1:15 pm

    There’s a fantastic mashup of places to get beer mapped out with google:


    If you don’t want to sort through all the options they’ve got, I’d have to recommend the Lucky Lab in SE, though. The food is good and the beer is better.

  7. DIVEBARWIFE (unregistered) on May 31st, 2006 @ 2:06 pm

    Top 3: Lucky Lab – SE is still the favorite, but the new NW local is growing on me. Amnesia is great, and the original New Old Lompoc on 23rd.

    Bottom 3: Avoid Laurelwood, SW Lucky Lab and Old Market by all means – while they all have fantastic beer, they are the top three homes of the pub parent and no place anyone who doesn’t have kids in tow wants to go.

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