There are few cities in America more synonymous with craft beer than Portland, Oregon. The City of Roses has well over 70 breweries alone. Add in the wide array of beer bars, dive bars, restaurants, and hidden gems and you have yourself a veritable beer mecca.
We’re not going to lie, it’s super easy to find good beer in Portland — you just have to take a stroll. So, in choosing these ten locations, we decided to look more at where to start your beer journey than where to end it. The ten tips of the iceberg, as it were; a very broad brushstroke of the PDX beer scene.
If you’re in Portland and love beer, then the below is the perfect primer to get your journey jumpstarted. The rest is gonna have to be on you.
Occidental Brewing Company
All Portland beer journies are going to include Occidental Brewing. The seven-year-old brewery focuses in on German-style beers and hits them out of the park. Five years ago, they opened up their “Wursthaus” to serve up great local sausages and they haven’t looked back.
The tap room and brewery have a killer view of the St. Johns Bridge, providing a pure Portland view while you sip on a fine beer. If you can sit outside in the fresh Oregon air, you may well get stuck. The beer truly shines and their Festbeir is the perfect entry point with Oktoberfest upon us. Crafty German beer, iconic Portland views, and tasty sausages make this a lock for any Portland beer crawl.
Out in the eastern reaches of PDX, you’ll find the holy land of beer. Belmont Station is a beer shop / beer bar that has one of the deepest bottles and cans list in the country. That’s not hyperbole — they have over 1,300 bottles and cans available right now. It boggles the mind.
Belmont also has one of the best-curated rows of taps in the city. Their 30 plus taps focus heavily on local brews from the region. From there, the list stretches into California’s beer scene with a few Belgian classics thrown in for good measure. It’s damn near iconic. The play here is to grab something local (and great) from the tap and post up on the back patio to while away the day. Then, when you’re a little tipsy, browse the shop to find that perfect sixer to take home.
Saraveza is a can’t miss. This beer bar is intoxicating in every way. You can’t help but kind of fall in love with the old wooden cold-cases brimming with beer, the convivial clientele, and the deeply knowledgeable staff. It doesn’t hurt that their deviled eggs are downright delectable.
Saraveza has a relatively short ten beer tap list. Those ten beers are some of the best American craft has to offer from San Diego to Seattle. It’s very “West Coast,” and it’s very good. The bottles list is long but not crazy long. You can sense the thought that went into their inventory. You’ll be able to find some seriously rare and special bottles of beer in those vintage coolers. Find a comfy place at the bar, you’re staying at Saraveza for awhile.
Ex Novo is everything you want a Portland craft brewery to be: Young, funky, innovative, and self-aware. Yes, it’s hipstery (come on, we’re talking Portland, people). But, it really doesn’t matter how hipster a place is as long as the beer is this good.
The pun-fueled names of the beers here make for good brews with local and seasonal at the heart of the brewing operating. Their concise tap list highlights the best of what they’re brewing right now and is often fleeting since it’s so delicious. If you’re into great cans, then definitely grab a six-pack of The Most Interesting Lager In The World. It’s a simple beer with a perfect balance of malt and hops that’s just easy to drink.
Portland’s food and drink scene lean hard into local. That’s great. But we’d be remiss not to mention Stammtisch. The beer bar has a stellar list of German beers served with exacting precision alongside plenty of Germanic-influenced comfort foods.
It’s hard to deny the simple greatness of many German beers and that’s worth celebrating (even if you’re half-a-world away). You can’t help but have fun when you’re at this corner neighborhood bar. This is the sort of beer bar you can spend the whole night in drinking delicious beer after delicious beer, and you’ll still be looking forward to coming back again the next day.
The West Coast IPA with all its piney resin dankness is an icon of the craft beer scene. Even if you’re not that into IPAs, a trip to an IPA bar is still a priority when the beer is this good. N.W.I.P.A.’s selection just might be the turning point where you finally fall in love with the style.
The brilliance of this place is that they keep it simple. There are six taps and every pour costs five bucks. That’s $5 for a finely cellared IPA that’s been carefully selected as one of the best of the best. Of course, there’s also a very long bottle list to entice you further. But, really, it’s the crowd here that draws you in. It’s a chill joint where people who truly love beer come together to knock back a few sudsy glasses of hoppy dank bliss.
Ecliptic Brewing has a cool, spacy vibe that translates to a cool, spacy experience when you visit their tap room. This is a great place to make new friends, eat a killer burger (with dope fries), and drink some unique beers that feel familiar while pushing a few boundaries.
The beer selection here shines. There’s a healthy mix of American style ales alongside funky sour concoctions and Belgian homages. It’s light and fun beer in a similar environment. At the end of the day, you can’t beat a great burger paired with a seriously well-crafted beer on any rainy day in Portland. So go, make friends, and drink all the fine ales you can.
Reel M’ Inn
No trip to the Pacific Northwest is complete without a stop in at a dive bar for broasted chicken and jo-jos with a tall boy of Hamm’s on the side. Reel M’ Inn is a classic PNW dive right down to the wooden panels and buzzing neon beer signs.
This is a place to drink easy beer, eat delicious fried chicken, and then get freakin’ drunk on beer and shots. Or, you know, have a great night out. Look, there are some great hidden gem beers on the menu here but the real draw is the fried chicken. The pressure-cooker broasting method makes for some of the best fried chicken money can buy.
Wash it down with a cheap lager and you’ll be set for the night.
On the opposite end of the bar spectrum from a dive bar is Beermongers. The ten taps and 600 bottle-list make this place a must stop for any beer enthusiast. The bottle shop and tap room combo is one of the more cozy examples of this style of beer bar. That coziness makes this place the perfect spot to call home while you plot all your Portland adventures.
The ten rotating taps sharply focus on the best the Portland brewing scene has to offer right now. Expect to find something funky, something hoppy, something innovative, and something new — the throughline is that they’re all delicious. Then there are the bottles. If you’re looking to drink an amazing Belgian beer then post up here and dive into that bottles list. The beer you’re looking for will likely be in their cellars (or coolers).
Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House
Deschutes is the cornerstone from which much of the Oregon (and Washington) craft beer scene was hewn. Their Porter is an icon of not only craft but beer in general.
We’ll keep this simple, go to Deschutes’ Public House and drink great Oregon craft. Eat great Oregon food. Meet new Oregon friends. You’ll have a blast.