Every city wants to have a cool nickname and Portland, Oregon deserves more than a few of them. The name “Beervana” is in contention between several locations around the nation, but if you ask anyone in the Pacific Northwest about Beervana, they’ll point the way to Portland.
There is a difficulty in counting breweries in such a dynamic city as new ones are always popping up and old ones shuttering up for good. By city figures, Portland is home to at least 70 breweries, more than most cities in the world, certainly more than some of the great European cities known for brewing beer for centuries.
The new growth in Portland brings in new ideas and while older and more traditional businesses close up shop, new spots with innovative ideas take their place. This is the cycle for many industries and it is the perfect model for small-batch breweries.
Portlanders love their beer as much as any city, but the locals here are often more willing to taste something new while citizens of east coast cities have their favorite beer and aren’t going to try some fancy new upstart. That’s why when you think of Beervana, when you think of interesting new beers, think of Portland.
In our list, we focus on some small-batch breweries and some that are large enough that they have started distributing over a wider area. Some serve “bar food”, some serve exquisite fare, others don’t serve food at all.
We hope the selections we have picked out below offer up a small taste of the wide variety of the best breweries in Portland, not just the fanciest or the most prolific.
The good thing about having so many in your city to choose from is that if one doesn’t quite live up to your expectations, you have another around the corner to visit tomorrow. Choose good beer, try the new flavors, enjoy the reputation Portland has as Beervana.
The Best Breweries In Portland Oregon
Below is our picks for the top 10 best Breweries In Portland Oregon. To snap directly to a specific location, please click the corresponding link in the list below.
- Great Notion Brewing
- Breakside Brewing
- Culmination Brewing
- Von Ebert
- Wayfinder Beer
- Threshold Brewing
- Cascade Brewing Barrel House
- Baerlic Brewing Co.
- Little Beast
10. Great Notion Brewing
Another exemplary example of Portland’s indomitable spirit and progressive expansion, Great Notion Brewing is bursting open new locations as fast as they can pour a pint.
Growth is a strong piece of the Portland story, from hearty logging industry to the spreading city limits, as one of the best breweries in Portland, Great Notion has embraced the idea of the Pacific Northwest and identified its brand through that aesthetic.
The brewery’s app is a fun way to explore that Portland “woodsman” spirit, discover hidden secrets, rank yourself up with purchases, check-ins, and other interactions is a fun way to have a good time while experiencing Great Notion more as a lifestyle and not just a brewery.
The kitchens are coming back online and the food at Great Notion goes exceedingly well with their growing list of beers. The scent of smoked pork gives away the secret that the pulled pork sandwich is made in-house, smothered in fantastic sauce, and tastes great.
The tap list rotates around the location and the season so you will always have something new and fun to sip. Great Notion leans heavily on the flavors available in the great Pacific Northwest, strong on the fruits and heavy on the great taste!
9. Breakside Brewing
With five locations in the greater Portland area and a sixth one opening in Beaverton soon, it’s easy for Breakside Brewery to claim six spots on any list of the best breweries in Portland.
Beginning their journey as a small pub and restaurant in 2010, years later the expansions and new locations producing more and more barrels of tasty brew, Breakside Brewing gathered up awards regionally as well as internationally.
Now available in nine states around the country, Breakside Brewery is a success story of crafting a good beer and finding your market.
An average brewery known for beer can get away with coasting by on mediocre food, but nor Breakside Brewery, the food here is the listed on the menu as what you’d expect in any bar or pub, but when it comes to the table you will be astounded with the quality and culinary prowess in their kitchen.
Excellent food options and a breezy airy atmosphere make it a great place for everyone, but you certainly do need to taste the beers. First and foremost, we have to recommend the tasting flight. Six of their beers are in decent-sized sipping cups. Once you decide between these year-round brews on your favorite, look over the rest of the menu as there are rotating beers in and out all year long.
8. Culmination Brewing
In north Kerns is one of Portland’s many artistic and cultural centers. In fact, it’s difficult to find spot in the city that doesn’t feel artsy… along NE 22nd Ave you’ll find one of the best breweries in Portland, the Culmination Brewery, a local brewing collaboration that focuses on innovation and community.
As you sip the fabulous beers on the tap menu, you’ll find that every batch of Culmination’s creations are always infused with the freshest local ingredients and constant inspiration of what comes next, what flavor can be inspired by this latest brew. At Culmination Brewing, the brewmasters are always looking to improve and evolve.
Step into the high ceiling spacious bar, or enjoy the outdoor seating with an impressive vegetarian food menu full of delights so decadent, even the carnivores among us will be amazed. “Miami Nice” has a substantial menu of great bar foods to go with your beer.
Get the tasting flight if you’ve never been to Culmination before as you absolutely must try several of their concoctions before picking your drink. The local favorites Phaedrus IPA, and the Sour Flower are both popular favorites. Select from strong citrus to unfiltered blonde, just be careful with that Multnomah County Stout, that is a stout that stands on its own.
7. Von Ebert
When the conversation comes up about the best breweries in Portland, we knew we’d be discussing the Ebert Brewing, the tougher decision was which location to showcase. Four locations, two of them brewing barrel after barrel of delicious beers.
The Pearl District has a more traditional flavor profile focusing on German brews and IPA, and the Glendoveer Brewery has a much more “experimental” and mixed beer list.
Named for one of the founder’s family heritage, the boar on the Von Ebert sign is more than a mascot, it is an icon that stands for the long-standing tradition of brewing excellent beer.
You don’t need to be a beer drinker to enjoy a visit to any of the four Von Ebert locations, the food menu goes far beyond the quality of typical “bar food” and could be considered a restaurant that serves great beer instead of the world-class brewery they are.
The beer menu rotates in and out with the latest batches of brew, but favorites are kept on tap year-round and available to the patrons. Lagers, Sours, Hoppy IPAs, Ales, Pilsners… all of Von Ebert’s best are waiting for your taste buds to sip and enjoy, at any location, this is one of the best breweries in Portland.
6. Wayfinder Beer
Just off the shores of the Willamette River is the urban center of Central Eastside.
Here you will find all the shops and stores you think of when you consider the modern commercial-industrial area of a progressive city, and here is where you’ll find Wayfinder Beer, one of the best breweries in Portland.
Between the Burnside and Morrison bridges, you’re just a quick hop across the river to and from the brewery and when you fall in love with their beer, rejoice, because you can find it in stores and puns all up and down the west coast from California, through Oregon, and up into Washington.
Wayfinder Beer is a great restaurant pub to visit, grab some good eats, and taste a sampling of great beers. If you’re hanging out for a while, they make some fine cocktails and have a good wine list as well.
Heavy on the German food, you can still get a fresh salad or nachos, but the spaetzle is a must-have. Wayfinder has a beer menu of a variety of great brews, including the Panoply, a blonde described as having the aroma of “bubblegum, banana, and clove”. If experimentation such as that is your thing, try Wayfinder’s original Cold IPA.
5. Threshold Brewing
Out on the east side of the city you’ll find Montavilla and you won’t have to search far for a brewery in that neighborhood, and when you want to enjoy one of the best breweries in Portland, get over to Threshold Brewing & Blending just off of Stark Street for some fantastic food and brews.
The owner/operators are dedicated to producing the best beer possible from every batch. In a hip location in town where the air is permeated with multiple excellent breweries, Threshold stands above the rest with local love and a bit of Polish old country flair.
The beer at Threshold Brewery pairs beautifully with the foods they offer on-site. You can bring in your own picnic meal, but Threshold has an excellent selection on their charcuterie menu and they now offer Zapiekankas, an open baguette topped and toasted, and oh so delicious.
Select on (or more) of the eleven taps all spouting forth Threshold’s own drafts. If you’re looking for the popular hoppy flavors of an IPA, the dark barrel-aged porter, or even the fresh and crisp flavor of a cider, Threshold’s taps have you covered. Activities, catering, and neighborhood programs are a large part of the Threshold Brewery’s success in becoming an integral piece of their neighborhood.
4. Cascade Brewing Barrel House
About halfway between Central Eastside and Buckman along Belmont is the Cascade Brewing Barrel House and while you may think you’ve seen all breweries once you’ve seen one, you have to stop and check Cascade Brewing Barrel House for yourself and taste why it is gaining a reputation among locals as one of the best breweries in Portland.
The barrel planters and ample picnic table and tent seating out front give the appearance that this is another “normal” brewery, but once you order a beer, and taste Cascade’s brews, you’ll agree that this place is different and well worth being singled out.
The kitchen offers up that savory pub fare you want when enjoying some time with friends and sipping on some excellent beers. From Chili and Cornbread to Chanterelle Gnocchi, the menu has plenty of options that will warm your belly while you tickle your taste buds with the suggested pairing beverage.
Cascade Brewing has Stouts and IPAs, but they are known for indulging in a little experimentation with sour beers. This willingness to try new combinations has resulted in some of Portland’s favorite beers and earned the Cascade crew a loyal following that is always eager to taste what pours forth from their taps next.
3. Baerlic Brewing Co.
It means “of barley”. That was our first question as well, what the heck is a bear lick?
The creators of Baerlic Brewing Company wanted a name that represented their intentions to stick with the basic and fundamental root of not only beer, but in everything.
Many bars and pubs around Portland serve Baerlic Beer and each and every delivery is made by the good folks at Baerlic Brewing Company. No middle man, no distributors… this means that from the initial brewing of ingredients all the way to the delivery at your favorite hang-out, this brew was cared for by someone who cares what you taste in your glass.
Baerlic is a brewery first, but they never forget that when you enjoy a beer, you might want a bit to eat as well.
Knowing their talents lie in the brewing and not in the kitchen, the Southeast Portland location partnered up with Ranch Pizza next door, and the Beergarden location in Rose City Park attracts a bevy of food trucks to choose from in Cartlandia, allowing the best food to come from outside and the brewmasters to focus on bringing you the best beer.
This includes their list of the “Graveyard”, one-off concoctions that may never be created again. With a sense of self-awareness like that, the personality of Baerlic Brewing Company, along with the tasty beers make it one of the best breweries in Portland.
Come on down to Brooklyn, just over from the train yard, in the grey Iron Fireman Collective building and settle in for a cold beer, a great atmosphere geared toward creativity and collaboration.
Ruse Brewery crafts their small batches after being inspired by local artists, musicians, and pioneering individual spirits.
After all, that is the Portland way, so one would expect one of the best breweries in Portland to reflect that same soul of ingenuity. If the hieroglyphics on the wall or the self-developed strain of yeast named “Stargazer” don’t give away Ruse’s aesthetic, the names of their created beers will.
The Wafel Iron might be the most “down to Earth” as it is a Stroopwafel flavored Stout. The Brain Glow is a favorite IPA, Fluorescent Farms is a fantastic fruity tart beer. It’s difficult to name the popular favorites at Ruse Brewing as the menu changes regularly due to the seasonal availability of ingredients as well as the dedication to small-batch brewing.
Look over the psychedelic names and choose for yourself. Only… when perusing the placards for your next taste of an interestingly named Ruse beer, just don’t order the “Bathroom Code”. It’s… yeah, it’s just the code for the bathroom door down the hall. An innocent mistake they say…
1. Little Beast
Brewed just down in Clackamas, Little Beast Brewing has a second “Beer Garden” location in Southeast by Richmond as well.
Either location you visit, you’ll be sipping fine beverages in a relaxed atmosphere, among friendly staff and friendly strangers, your new beer-loving friends!
The Tasting Room is dedicated to the sampling and sipping of their varieties of beers, all of which must be tasted to be appreciated. The Beer Garden location is a bit more relaxed as it is built in an old home, complete with a front porch, back patio, or even the lush lawn for you to sip your beer in peace and tranquility.
If you find yourself getting hungry while sampling the best beers in Portland, try some of the best BBQ in PDX as well, Little Beast’s Division Street location serves Lawless Barbecue, and between the great food and supreme beers, you might want to ask management if they have a spare guest room in the house as you may never want to leave this little slice of paradise.
The “Bug Thief” is a dry hop Saison and a common favorite, as is the “Bes” a tart wheat. But if it’s in season, you must try the “Tree Spirit”, a cherry-infused ale.
Our Final Thoughts: The Best Breweries In Portland Oregon
As we took a look at some of the best breweries in Portland, you may have noticed a couple of things missing from our reviews. You may have expected us to mention “Rogue” because it is a wildly popular Oregon beer, and that is precisely why we didn’t.
Although we did mention some local favorites that have gained traction outside of Portland, Rogue is a success story that is available in every bar across the country, they have their own spirits line as well.
Please do check out Rogue while in Oregon, Newport isn’t far from Portland and the beer is indeed tasty! We just wanted to highlight some of the lesser-known breweries.
You may also have noticed we didn’t say “micro-breweries” at all either. This is because the term no longer means anything when you have 70 breweries in a single municipality. Some of these started in their basement and leveraged their way into their own taphouse and tasting room.
These are all “Micro” breweries but as the craft beer market explodes with IPAs flowing in every direction, every one of these start-up breweries deserves a chance to start on an equal playing field.
It’s an all-out festival of breweries bringing us the greatest beer they can and the winner is us, the beer-drinking public. May the bursting season of the brewery continue and result in bringing us more beer!