A Craft Beer Tour of Portland’s 9 Premium Breweries

By Lissa Poirot

Nearly 100 breweries are scattered across Portland, Oregon, and by the time you finish reading this article, another brewery may have opened! It’s no wonder the Pacific Northwest city has earned its rightful nickname, Beervana. If you love beer, you simply must make your way to Portland– you won’t find another US city offering so many breweries with a huge selection of craft brews. But attempting to hit all in one visit is a feat hard to muster, so we have developed a list of the breweries you shouldn’t miss when you visit PDX (aka downtown Portland).

1. Breakside Brewery 

Founded in 2010, Breakside is such a local favorite, it quickly outgrew its original Portland space. Beyond its original Dekum Pub setting, Breakside now features three locations, including its larger taproom and brewery in (fittingly) Milwaukie, Oregon, and its newest Slabtown pub location, which opened in 2017. You’ll always find the brewery’s IPA, Pilsner, and Stout on the menu year-round, as well as favorites like Passion Fruit Sour Ale, Lunch Break IPA, and Wander Lust IPA. 5821 SE International Way, Milwaukie, OR

2. Cascade Brewing Company

Operating out of Southwest Portland since 1998, Cascade Brewing began as a traditional craft beer house but morphed into a sour beer creator. By 2008, the brewers created three “intense sensory experiences” though its sour ales, Kriek, Apricot, and Cuvee du Jongleur, of which the hand-bottled Kriek won the Bronze in the Great American Beer Festival. Since, it proudly proclaims itself the first “House of Sour” in the US (and introduced its Barrel House with tasting room and indoor and outdoor seating). You’ll find its award-winning brews with flavors influenced by cherries, cantaloupe, raspberries, pinot noir grapes, tangerine, and citrus. 939 SE Belmont St., Portland

3. Deschutes Brewery & Public House

While the original brewery operates out of Bend using fresh stream water from Deschutes, you can sample one of Oregon’s favorite beers at its Portland Public House. Featuring brews on 26 taps pairing to a fun artisan menu, the pub offers seasonal beers brewed right on site. You’ll find porters, pale ales, lagers, red ales, and IPAs on tap, with limited releases throughout the year (and a special November Reserve that is hard ticket to get!). 210 NW 11th Ave., Portland

4. Ex Novo Brewing

Many a beer lover may try brewing their own concoctions at home, as was the case of Ex Novo’s beginning. However, founder and president Joel Gregory took his brews and decided to do some good, donating 100 percent of Ex Novo’s profits to organizations that work to create a better world, like MercyCorps and Friends of the Children. If that isn’t enough to make you want to visit, its taps of IPA, lagers, stouts, pilsners, and ciders will. Seasonal and one-off brews are often featured as well. 2326 N. Flint Ave., Portland

5. Hopworks Urban Brewery

While Hopworks was founded in 2007 by Christian Ettinger, we love its efforts to showcase brews created by women (Christian’s wife, Brandie, brought Alewife Brew to Portland’s annual SheBrew Festival in 2017). Find beers like Belma and Louise, Playcation, and Chill Murray providing a mix of IPA styles. You can tour the brewery at its Powell location, but we like its Bikebar, which combines Portland’s love for beer and cycling with bicycle décor like bike and keg tables. And yes, they offer a huge bike rack if you want to arrive on two wheels. 3947 N. Williams Ave., Portland

6. Laurelwood Brewing

Founded by a husband and wife duo in 2001, the couple wanted their brewery to feel like a party at their house. Today, it remains a family-friendly place to hang out and drink some good suds. On tap you’ll find porters, imperial IPAs, lagers, and golden, brown, and red ales. With two locations in Portland, you can also visit the brew pub at Portland International Airport, if you are pressed for time or just want to save one brewhouse to fill your wait at the airport. 5115 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland

7. Lompoc Brewing

We love that Lompec is a dog-friendly brewery, welcoming dogs and their people on its heated patio at it Fifth Quadrant (5Q) brewery. Just around the corner, Sidebar is a barrel tasting room where you can sample IPAs, Belgian-style brews, red ales, golden ales, pale ales, stouts, and seasonal beers like Brewdolph spicy clove red ale and Monster Mash full-flavored chocolate and coffee malt mashup. 3901 N. Williams Ave., Portland

8. Upright Brewing Company

Proudly remaining a small, farmhouse-style brewery, Upright is located in the basement of the Leftbank building, originally built in 1923. With 150 oak cases yielding mainly its three house beers (Four Play, Pathways Saison, and Ives), tastings are offered Thursday through Sunday. A true tasting room, you won’t find food or frills. This is craft beer at its finest. 240 N. Broadway, Portland

9. Widmer Brothers Brewing

One of the oldest breweries in Portland, Widmer Brothers has been operating since 1984 (although the brothers began their homebrews in 1979). A member of Craft Brew Alliance, the brewery’s Hefeweizen is one of the most beloved beers of Oregon, winning awards in local, as well as national, beer festivals. You can take a brewery tour next door to the pub, which serves drafts straight from the source. 955 N. Russell St., Portland