The Quest for the Holy Grain - Best Brew Pubs
Oregon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fat Head's Brewery
131 NW 13th Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 820-7721

Located in Portland 's Pearl district, arguably one of the best brewing areas in the world, Fat Head's is a great stop for any Questor seeking to add a wide variety of delicious house beers to their list.
Fat Head's is sure to have over a dozen house drafts, and a bunch of guest beers as well.

The seating area is a large, open room with bar and kitchen up front, reminiscent of a cafeteria.
Booths are available on the perimeter, and seating is offered outside as well.

The menu is on-point.
We enjoyed the black bean burger and veggie sub.
The beer list offers an array of styles for beer drinkers of any preference. For IPA fans, the Head Hunter IPA and IBUsive were notably delicious,
citrus-y, and packed a hoppy punch.
On the light side, the Bumbleberry Honey Ale was good, but left this drinker desiring one of the many more flavorful choices.

Fat Head's originated in Pittsburgh, and still has its original Saloon there.
They also have two locations in Ohio.


 

 

10 Barrel Brewing Company
1411 Northwest Flanders St.
Portland, Oregon
503-224-1700

10 Barrel Brewing Company is a trendy brewpub located in Portland's Pearl District.
The pub was quite crowded on a summer evening with a concert going on in the streets outside.
With the bar and downstairs areas swarming, the rooftop bar was a great place to try some brews.

10 Barrel had twenty beers on tap, nine of which were brewed in-house.
The house dark beer, Glen Coco, a strong Chocolate Coconut Stout, was a fine choice for dessert after a light meal.
10 barrel describes their menu as "elevated pub fare" with items such as fried Brussels sprouts and steak & gorgonzola nachos.
Dishes are made from scratch and locally sourced.

Some of the locals didn't take kindly to Anheuser-Busch InBev buying Oregon 's 10 Barrel Brewing Co in 2014, but 10 Barrel remains a popular spot with a lively atmosphere, wide variety of beer, and good reputation for food and service.

In addition to Portland, 10 Barrel also has locations in Bend, Boise, Denver, and San Diego.

 

 

 

 

Bridgeport Brew Pub & Bakery
1318 Northwest Marshall Street
Portland, OR 97209-2806
503 241-7179

Nestled snugly in an old warehouse district in the shadow of a bridge is the sprawling ivy-encrusted Bridgeport Brewery. A huge iron staircase divides the pub into left and right, upstairs and down. There is outside seating along the old loading dock, our place to escape the unnecessarily dark interior. The nice thing about the place is each of the quarters seemed to have its own identity, so you could find your peeps somewhere in this warehouse beer hall.

There were eight beers available on our visit, but you had some pour options. Three were in casks and one on nitrogen. The cask beers were unrefrigerated and served at cellar temperatures providing a more authentic 19th century beer drinking experience, save for the towering pricey condos that filled the skyline.

The beers were all solid, each swallows like the last one. Clear and consistent, with flavors that did not fade. All-in-all not a bad experience. But neither do you say this has to be one of my Portland stops. Very good beers, but they compete in a tough town. Beer Advocate gives them a B+ and I won't argue with that, but they barely made it to B+.

The Stumptown Tart was a raspberry Tripel available only in bottles that was quite good. I sampled all the beers to aid my choices and the sampler there is a nice deal. Blue Herron Pale Ale was a pleasant surprise. Hop Czar is their pride and joy and it was nice enough but not a stand-up and salute beer. It's 85 IBUs were not terribly acidic making it very quaffable. The carbonated porter outrated the nitrogen for me. But the cask ESB and cask IPA may have been their two nicest beers.

You've got to hit Bridgeport at least once if only to see the ivy and the walk-in sized porcelain urinals. A word of warning is in order. The sausage they sell as brats had little or no pork in them; go a different direction. The pretzels make a nice appetizer.

 

 

 

 

Lucky Labrador Brew Pub
915 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, Oregon
(503) 236-3555

If you're a visitor, missing home and want to pet your pooch, the Lucky Labrador is the place to go. With three locations in Portland the LL Brew Pub is the brewing site and the best venue to visit. On our stop there were 11 house ales, 1 cask, 1 nitro, 1 cider and one guest tap. This is a beer hall. No table service, queue up and seek your pleasure. Like most other Portland microbrews this is hop heaven and if you drink from light to dark, let us suggest the Crystal Weizen for starters... a truly exceptional American hefe beer. Follow it with the Triple Threat IPA, then the Super Dog Pale Ale that weighs in over 90 IBU's, and finish with the Stumphouse Porter.

This is a fun stop. A cavernous warehouse offers lots of tables but no bar seating. Outside one will find about 20 generous picnic tables and half a dozen or so labs or lab wannabes. It is a canine hangout outside, where most but not all hounds are well behaved. Inside, the labrorbelia will delight many and tire others; they do not appreciate the innate superiority of the boxer breed here. But they make good beers.

There are no bad beers at the Lucky Lab but no stop-the-presses specials either. Good solid, drinkable beers in a beerhall atmosphere is a very nice thing. Food is not the reason to go here but it is moderately eclectic and fun like the beer and the dogs.


 

 

Rogue Distillery & Public House (PDX)
1339 NW Flanders
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 222-5910

Rogue Distillery and Public House is the Mecca for any Questor. Housed in a low-key three story brick building that covers a lot more ground that the building height suggests, we found 20 Rogues on tap, three Track Town Ales (a sister brewery in Eugene), two Issaquahs, and seven featured guest taps. Surprisingly you'll find Bud and Coors Light on tap as well!

As you enter, to the left you'll find a bright and airy dining area. To your right is a small bar and next to it an adjoining party room. There is a delightfully unplanned ambience to this Rogues' gallery. There is Rogue clutter everywhere. Surfboards, flags, t-shirts, bumper stickers (Rogue Nation, Dare*Risk*Dream). The Portland beer chic are not found in this bar. There are knowledgeable beer aficionados here. The beertender today is working overtime and affecting a perfect replica of John Belushi's Samurai Deli character. I will not ask for a Pepsi today.

There is great 60's music playing in the distant background. Lots of folks do samplers and this is a good idea for the high gravity beers. One can lose one's soul here.

While sipping the Honey Orange Wheat from their sister brewery in Eugene a brewer began to work on a brew in the upstairs brewery unleashing a heaven-sent malty wort aroma. The works here must be for special available-only- at-this-bar beers like the Charlie 1982.

A very pleasant surprise was the food. The menu is heavy with Kobe beef options and the Kobe burger was the best; it could not have satisfied more had the comeliest patrons fed me rice and rubbed my belly. Once in the lifetime of every beer drinker with means to travel he or she must visit this bar.


 

 

Tug Boat Brewing Company
711 SW Ankeny St
Portland, OR 97205-3703
(503) 226-2508

Just around the corner from Mary's Club and its All Nude Revue, Tug Boat Brewery is a colorful and eccentric little place to stop for a beer. Visitors are greeted with a Norm-like round of “yeahs” when they enter and everyone is booed when they leave, unless the bar is closing and you're being ushered out. The décor is crazy uncle who lived in the family homestead alone for the last 40 years without changing or cleaning a thing. This grimy family-run place is a fun stop. The filmy walls are lined with bookshelves filled with volumes that some people loved and others no one has bothered to open. What else in the city that drinks and reads? Homey painted wooden booths line one wall the bar lines the opposite wall. A small stage (one foot raised) takes up most of the third wall across from the entrance.
Tugboat has taps for nine of their beers. Seven of them were empty on our stop, the two beers available were called Porter and Chernobyl Stout. The ten guest taps offered some different choices and made the stop pleasant. People here want to talk beer. One couple had a map of their beer adventure another patron called our hotel and spoke to the concierge to guarantee he would give us time and good advice if we sought him out in the morning. The bartender kindly informed us that we could not sneak into Mary's via a shared bathroom and we knew we'd found a home for the evening. Beer-chic need not apply.


 

 

Deschutes Brewery & Public House
210 NW 11th Ave,
Portland,, OR 97209
(503) 296-4906

Just a few short blocks from Powell's, the greatest bookstore in the world, stands the low-rise brick warehouse- looking home of Deschutes. Without the sign at the corner of their building you could miss it. Inside you will find some of the most substantial beers of your life.

The ambience is a substantial part of the experience. Outside a brick warehouse - inside an airy wooden barn full of architectural features that bear no relationship to the structural integrity of the building. There is wood everywhere. Big thick timbers framing nothing. Carved wooden totems guard the entrances to a large dining area. Beautiful wood-grained tables remind you of the wooded drive into the city. The place is noisy with a friendly chatter and clatter that grows annoying after a while...it is not everyone's favorite pub sound. The crowd is Portland beer-chic, different from your ordinary bar. Pilgrims mix with the chosen ones.

There is a bar with half a dozen or so round tables and limited bar seating, but many tables line the windowed walls and it was a pleasant table we had. Water arrived before the beer and on our visit there were 17 beers and a cask bitter. These are quality beers, all substantial and all well described in the beer card. This is hop heaven. Twelve different varieties of hops were identified on the beer card and it is not hard to find a beer with three or more styles therin. This is a place to sample then decide. If you're doing the beer tour, don't lose your way here. Four beers at this place can put you away if you do not choose wisely!