The Suds of March: 5 New Portland Beer Destinations

Raise a pint at the city's freshest hop operations, from IPA altruists to Chinese lager masters.

By Brian Yaeger March 2, 2015 Published in the March 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

Ex Novo Brewing Company.

Ex Novo Brewing Company 

(Eliot neighborhood)
Most breweries aim to make money—this newcomer’s top priority is giving it away. The handsome brewpub serves commendable beers (and a succulent, beer-braised brisket) and donates net profits to area do-gooders like Impact NW and Mercy Corps.

DRINK If you’re going to brew a single-hop IPA, go with one of the best; Ex Novo wisely taps Simcoe hops for its Cardinal Sim IPA, bursting with tropical fruit and pine flavors.

BTU Brasserie

(Rose City Park neighborhood)
Spice things up with this chic, Chinese restaurant/brewery hybrid. From piquant dan dan noodles to Cantonese-style pork, the Asian chow is quite delicious and the house beers—especially the lagers—hit the spot.

DRINK Light lagers are surprisingly tricky to make (well), but the BTU Lager, brewed with Chinese short-grain rice, is clean and subtle.

Baerlic Brewing

(Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood)
In brewery-rich inner Southeast (you’ve got the sour-beer one, the dog one, etc.) Baerlic is a refreshingly back-to-basics operation. The no-frills tasting room keeps the focus on one thing: enjoyable suds that act as gateway pints for newbies.

DRINK Endangered brown ales deserve a resurgence. The traditional Primeval Brown offers a hint of cocoa but gets modern with 70 IBUs (a relatively high bitterness measurement) courtesy of Northwest hops.

StormBreaker Brewing

(Boise neighborhood)
This metal shed along North Mississippi Avenue used to belong to Amnesia Brewing, but new tenant StormBreaker tops the original. The food menu is wider (jerk-spiced burgers to kale-bacon salads). The pub’s more inviting. The fire pit makes the patio bearable on drab days. And the beer’s cleaner and better.

DRINK The house Mississippi Red is caramelly and malty, plus the dry-hopping with Citra hops gives this red ale a beneficial tangerine twist.

Brannon’s Pub & Brewery

Brannon’s is Beaverton’s first steampunk-inspired, strip mall–based, family-friendly brewpub. It’s also Beaverton’s first brewpub, period. Self-service TVs at almost every table prevent War of the Worlds–level remote battles, and the house bacon jam on the burgers is addictive.

DRINK We call anything dark and hoppy a Cascadian Dark Ale, but the Benzonator Black IPA could be dubbed a chocolate IPA for its adroit pairing of spicy hops and roasted malts. 



The bottle shop owner selects wines to partner with books featured in Multnomah County Library’s Everybody Reads project.

READ Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie
DRINK Château d’Epiré Anjou Rouge 2011, France’s Loire Valley ($18) Crisp, direct, and earthy, this distinctive cabernet franc “touches you in a way that doesn’t bowl you over.” //

READ My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
DRINK Bruna Pigato U Baccan 2012, Liguria, Italy ($48) An aromatic white that lingers and inspires; Pigato grapes create a “brightness with power.” //

READ The Residue Years by Mitchell S. Jackson (the 2015 pick)
DRINK Domaine Gramenon Vinsobres La Papesse 2010, France ($45) This Rhône red feels “raw, unfiltered, not overly manipulated. It’s in its naked state.” //

All bottles available at Pairings Portland Wine Shop (455 NE 24th Ave)

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