The Quest for the Holy Grain - Best Beer Bars
Oregon

 

 

 

 

Astoria

Portland

 

 

Rogue Ales Public House - Astoria
100 39th St. (Pier 39)
Astoria, OR 97103
503-468-0923

Took a spur of the moment trip to Oregon (via Seattle) to help fulfill several goals: revisiting all 50 states -- Oregon is now state 49 leaving only North Dakota for "ALL50X2," and to drink a beer brewed in the state visited (am at around 40 on this one).
Headed from Seattle to Astoria where I spent the night, and had dinner and beers at the Rogue Public House.
This is one of Rogue's Meeting Halls... a string of beer bars dispensing Rogue Ales along the West Coast. At this time (2017) they number 12, most of which are in Oregon.
The Astoria location features 30 taps of Rogue Ales, as well as wine and Rogue Spirits.
This particular venue is housed inside an old tuna cannery, and overlooks the Columbia River.
The Public House offers a complete pub-style food menu.
Rogue Public House also fills growlers and sells kegged beer.
It is bike-friendly and dog-friendly, and for the Questor, offers some limited edition beers that you won't be able to get outside the Meeting Halls.
Having said all this...

It was very crowded the evening of my visit, and unseasonably warm.
The staff was completely overwhelmed.
The establishment is NOT air conditioned, and the ceiling fans and open windows did little to cool down the room.
(The summer of '17 had abnormally high temperatures by Oregon standards.)
Under other circumstances, this place might be a beer Mecca, but on this evening, it was no better than mediocre.
The food was actually quite good; the beer was barely cooler than room temperature.
I started with the 4 Hop, and then had the Chipotle Ale. The first was okay -- I've had much better IPAs. The second had a very interesting taste; one can definitely taste the heat of the peppers.
Both would have been better served cold.
It took over 45 minutes from when the order was placed to when the entrée was served.

Worth a revisit on a cooler, less crowded day to get a true gauge.

 

 

 

Henry's 12th Street Tavern
10 NW 12th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
503.227.5320

Henry's. "Don't go there." we were told. It is upscale. It is a meet market. Against local advice, following the Beer Traveler, we went and were glad we did. It is a bit chi-chi. But it has two large dining room areas, and a dark and somewhat depressing bar area with a few big screens hanging languidly. No one is here for sports. What saved it for us was the courtyard seating adjacent to the building in what once was part of an old manufacturing plant of some sort. The young wait staff had neither idea nor interest in the history of the building.

Let's cut to the chase. There were two reasons we were glad to have hit this place. First, their beer list has 99 taps listed. Very heavy on the Pacific Northwest and with offerings from many of the better know local brewpubs. So it is a good place to sample Deschutes, Rogue, Bridgeport and others on tap in one place. It also added a Dogfish Head or other Eastern beer for the homesick. Some Belgians and Germans rounded out a nice list. However, they had just run out of my first choice often enough to make me wonder if the beer list had gotten a little outdated on them.

The second reason to go to Henry's was the food. It was excellent. Interesting choices and bar stand-bys at reasonable prices. My chili scallops and prawns with fried rice and Henry's off the charts excellent slaw was superb. The orange and honey Oregon beer I ordered to accompany it had just run out though, so I did it with Paulaner Hefe, my go-to summer beer.

The bonus for Henry's outdoor seating is the place is a meet market. Young women enter through the bright airy courtyard instead of the dark glass front door. They come in pairs, triples and quads. And it is Portland and everyone is fit and outdoorsy. Sit facing the steps. You're welcome.

 

 

Green Dragon Bistro & Brewpub
928 SE 9th Street
Portland, Oregon 97214
503.517.0660

Green Dragon, owned by Rogue, does not make its own beer despite the name, but it is one of the three points of the Beermuda Triangle on Portland's eastside (along with the Lucky Lab and Roots). 
The Dragon makes creative and fun use of the old warehouse layout that typifies the Beermuda Triangle. 
Big open space means shuffleboard and picnic tables and old coldbox doors done up in slate boards and faux hippies and maybe a couple or three retired real ones.
They stock 25-30 bottles but are out of the one you really want.
There are about 20 taps and a greater variety in brand names than in styles. 
This venue had more of a neighbrhood feel to it than any of the other places we visited; oddly it was in less of a neighborhood than the other stops. 
A home for the homeless and a beer for the beerless.
An Old Rasputin nitro was the perfect way to bid farewell to the undisputed Beervana.