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Home Beertown Beertown, U.S.A.: Portland, Ore.

Beertown, U.S.A.: Portland, Ore.

Between the drenching downpours and surge of new breweries, it’s hard to stay dry in Puddletown.
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Lardo

Lardo

Portland’s relentless rains might get a bad rap from the anti-SAD contingency, but they fuel this evergreen Pacific Northwest city’s incomparable outdoor culture; particularly the lush labyrinth of Forest Park trails, pounding Columbia River Gorge waterfalls, and scenic Mount Hood slopes, which are breathtaking any time of year. And after a day of wintry hiking, biking, snowshoeing or skiing, there’s no finer reward than a hot shower and a frosty pint. You’ll have your pick of new watering holes to cozy up in; the city’s well-deserved Beervana status (60 breweries and counting) continues to spur a steady stream of brewers eager to cast their pales and porters into the ring, plus plenty of exciting new beer bars, growler stations, and even mobile beer carts.

Baerlic Brewing
Smart design, chummy bartenders and 10 house taps draw a laid-back crowd who linger for hours sipping the smooth, malty Primeval brown ale. BYO snacks, borrow a board game from the table by the door, and settle in—especially on Tuesdays, when happy hour stretches all night. 2235 SE 11th Ave., baerlicbrewing.com

Breakside Brewery
Hidden in a suburban industrial park, this Milwaukie brewery packs 24 taps, double that of their Northeast Portland sister pub. Fleece-bundled locals bond at the drafty corrugated steel bar, downing equally no-frills snacks (try the PDX-made Green Card salsas) and the 2014 GABF-gold-winning IPA. Explore the quirky “Experimental” beers brewed in collaboration with top local restaurants. 5821 SE International Way, Milwaukie, breakside.com

BTU Brasserie & Brewery
Bookending a non-descript urban strip mall halfway between downtown and the airport, this easygoing brewery/Chinese restaurant hybrid attracts a boisterous mix of neighborhood families and youngish hipsters. Join the regulars at the bar for a pint of the flagship lager made with Chinese rice, and a bowl of beef shank chow fun. 5846 NE Sandy Blvd., btupdx.com

Ecliptic brewer John Harris

Ecliptic brewer John Harris

Ecliptic Brewing
When craft brewing icon and astronomy buff John Harris opened his own place after nearly 30 years at McMenamins, Deschutes and Full Sail, he went big. Lodged in a former body shop just off hip Mississippi Avenue, the 14,000-square-foot brewery’s upmarket pub fare matches the sleek industrial digs—think chicken confit drumsticks, a pancetta-topped burger, and mussels steamed in the citrusy Spica HefePils. 825 N. Cook St., eclipticbrewing.com

Beer
This handsome reclaimed-wood-lined beer bar delivers exactly what it promises; affable owner John Stewart keeps 11 impeccable taps and around 100 bottles. Before heading in, order the Oregon albacore tuna melt at neighboring sister eatery Meat Cheese Bread (pithy names run in the family), and they’ll deliver it minutes later. 1410 SE Stark St., facebook.com/BeerPortland

The Big Legrowlski
Besides the coasters urging you to “Abide” and the Bowling Nixon poster in the loo, this Pearl District growler bar’s loft-like aesthetics are pretty un-Dudeish. But nobody’s complaining, thanks to the strong 15-tap list. Snacks reflect owner Brendan Jones’ Australian heritage, but if rye and Vegemite doesn’t tempt, pair your Barley Brown’s Pallet Jack with a Ploughman’s plate. 812 NW Couch St., biglegrowlski.com

Ex Novo Brewing

Ex Novo Brewing

Ex Novo Brewing
Gotta love this NoPo nonprofit’s style: It serves pint glasses of bacon, blends beershakes with the chocolaty Damon Stoutamire, and donates all profits to charities like MercyCorps. Bright murals and shelves of whiskey warm the warehousey interior, making it a good foul-weather hideout; grab a booth and cozy up with the Session Pale Ale braised beef brisket. 2326 N. Flint Ave., exnovobrew.com

Tin Bucket
Blessed with deep industry connections, this mellow taphouse, growler station and bottle shop scores beers you won’t see elsewhere, like Cascade Blueberry sour. Stock up on liquid crushes; the 40 taps rotate rapidly, and space-agey PEGAS CrafTap fillers give growlers staying power. If a bottle beckons, corkage is $2, and it’s BYO eats, so send an emissary to neighboring Life of Pie pizzeria. 3520 N. Williams Ave., tin-bucket.com

Ground Breaker Brewing
Eschewing grain for Willamette Valley chestnuts, this creative inner Southeast brewery (formerly Harvester) draws loyal regulars devoted to both the dedicated gluten-free beers and upscale pub grub like lamb shank braised in the 2014 GABF-gold-winning Dark Ale. Pounce on fleeting seasonals like the Squash Ale made with slow-roasted local squash and toasted pumpkin seeds. 2030 SE 7th Ave., groundbreakerbrewing.com

Lardo
These “Pig Out”-themed sandwich shops attract a diverse cross section of natives for your people-watching pleasure, and the porkstrami-layered double burger and infamous dirty fries pair well with pretty much anything on the expertly curated chalkboard tap list of mostly Oregon all-stars like pFriem, Heater Allen and Caldera. three locations, lardopdx.com
Oyster Social Former chefs Jaret Foster and Mona Johnson schlep their chic little mobile raw bar to some of the city’s best breweries, serving just-shucked oysters with local hot sauces. Catch monthly pop-ups first Fridays at Gigantic, second Fridays at The Commons and last Fridays in Upright’s intimate basement taproom. pdxoystersocial.com

Scout's trailer

Scout’s trailer

Scout Beer Garden
This bemuraled vintage trailer waters the neighborhood folk that swarm family-friendly Tidbit, a hopping new Division Street food cart pod. With the exception of Gigantic’s Ginormous Imperial IPA, the 11 taps rotate lightning-quick; watch for beers by co-owner/brewer Joe St. Martin. Pints of pretzels are a buck fifty, or grab something from one of the surrounding food trucks (we love Hapa’s tonkotsu ramen with a side of karaage) and retreat to the heated tent or the outdoor firepit. SE 28th Pl. & SE Division St., scoutpdx.com

The Commons Brewery
Good directions are imperative to finding this off-the-beaten-path brewery, but come weekends, those in the know flock to the cheerfully spartan plywood-lined taproom for the friendly banter, flagship Flemish Kiss, and here and gone pours like Putin From The Wood, a bourbon-barrel-aged Baltic Porter. This spring, the brewery relocates to a new 10,000-sq.-ft. mothership a mile away, and ups tasting hours. 1810 SE 10th Ave., commonsbrewery.com

Wolves & People
This spring, beer writer (and former DRAFT contributor) Christian DeBenedetti debuts his farmhouse brewery, housed in a charming circa-1912 barn on the Newberg hazelnut farm he grew up on. Sip saisons, farmhouse ales, and barrel-aged sours made with wild yeast, homegrown hops and heirloom fruit in the stables-turned-tasting-room, and don’t miss the former Smithsonian exhibit housed in the hayloft. 30295 N. Hwy. 99W, Newberg, wolvesandpeople.com

 

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