The Quest for the Holy Grain - Best Beer Bars





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

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 However, they had just run out of my first choice often enough to make me wonder if the beer list had gotten a little outdated on them.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

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.