Portland's Best New Brewpubs, Bottle Shops, and Beer Haunts

These 11 beer halls, restaurants, and retail outlets have once again raised the bar for great drinking destinations.

By Zach Dundas, Benjamin Tepler, Ramona DeNies, and Marty Patail June 22, 2015 Published in the July 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

From left: Ex Novo, 10 Barrell, Ex Novo

Ex Novo

2326 N Flint Ave
There is a shock of the new about this innovative brewery just off the rapidly transforming N Williams/Vancouver corridor: namely, the one-year-old business gives profits to social justice charities like Impact NW and Friends of the Children to the tune of $25,000 each. On sunny days, the neighborhood’s formative mix of bike commuters and residents spills from wide-open garage doors, drinking summery pale ales and the tub-thumping Wonder Twins Rye IPA, made with New Zealand hops and cranked to 7.8 percent alcohol by volume. In other words, Ex Novo’s brand of social good goes down easy. Taps: 12

The  Commons Brewery

630 SE Belmont St 
Ten-foot-tall paned windows frame the giant tasting room of this five-year-old brewery’s new Southeast Portland HQ, where everything is a bit, well, uncommon. Scruffy biker dudes with club patches swill snifters of tangy Biere de Garde, while hipsters in topknots play Magic the Gathering. And the beer—inspired Belgian farmhouse ales, German lagers, zero IPAs—is just too good. Says frequent bartender Josh Grgas: “We have approachable beers, approachable people. We don’t want that indie record store vibe.” Taps: 13 / Bottles: 3

Stammtisch, Tin Bucket, Stammtisch


401 NE 28th Ave
For German-beer aficionados, this is the place to visit, bar none. Around a year ago, Prost! owner Dan Hart modeled Stammtisch (translated, the “regular’s table”) in the image of an airy Bavarian lodge, with a 21-seat, L-shaped bar and beer booths sprawling onto the sidewalk. Beyond the list of rare beers from smaller German breweries like Andechs and Ayinger, don’t miss the obatzda (a paprika-spiced Camembert cheese spread), a Bavarian Biergarten staple. Taps: 18

The Upper Lip

720 SW Ankeny St
Bailey’s Taproom on SW Broadway is one of the finest beer-drinking spots in the city . . . if you can deal with the crowd. Instead, ascend an unmarked flight of stairs on the SW Ankeny side to the Upper Lip, a pseudo-secret, 30-seat bar that doubles as Bailey’s Champagne room. A bartender pours six carefully curated taps that change daily, while nine giant LED-lit
refrigerators stock bottled treasures. Beer geeks, unite! Taps: 6 / Bottles: 179

10 Barrel Brewing

1411 NW Flanders St
Yes, Anheuser-Busch bought this Bend-based craft brewery last November, but you certainly wouldn’t know it while sipping a pint in 10 Barrel’s bright, airy, 176-seat Pearl District location. Steel brewing tanks tower above long, communal beer tables that encourage big gatherings around amped-up pub staples: towering salmon burgers, giant bowls of clams and bacon, and gooey hot pizzas. The boisterous atmosphere on sunny weekdays gives the distinct impression that everyone here is playing hooky. And that’s quite all right with us. Taps: 20

BTU Brasserie

5846 NE Sandy Blvd
House-brewed craft beers and modern Chinese fare fuse in the intimate space to form the ultimate comfort food haven on a sleepy stretch of NE Sandy. The star of the show here is BTU’s extremely sessionable house lager—brewed with jasmine rice—which helps take the heat off unrestrained spicier offerings. (Sichuan chicken, we’re looking at you!) Taps: 8

Baerlic Brewing

2235 SE 11th Ave
Light woods, low ceilings, and bursts of blues make Baerlic Brewing at the edge of Ladd’s Addition the warmest, most welcoming new brewery in town. The vibe is friendly, calm, and perfect for slow sipping. You’re just as likely to see several people sitting alone reading books as you are a giddy group of cyclists clinking glasses. Don’t miss the Primeval NW Brown Ale (included in our list of Best Beers)—a delicious advertisement for an all-too-neglected style. Taps: 10

Looking for beer to go?

The Big Legrowlski

812 NW Couch St
This decidedly unscruffy, hyperminimalist Pearl District beer lab is actually not very Dude-like—but you can stock up on as many as 18 unusual micros and get a massive info download from the knowledgeable staff. Abide!

The Civic Taproom

621 SW 19th Ave
The Civic’s stretch of W Burnside Street was a beer desert before this oasis opened in late 2014. Boasting 22 taps (12 for beer, six for cider, and four for wine), a refrigerated wall of bottles, and baskets of piping-hot french fries delivered from Boise Fry Company two doors down, you might find yourself settling in while your growler is filled.  

Imperial Bottleshop

3090 SE Division St
The thoughtful, wide-reaching curation of 16 taps and over 400 bottles makes this shop a gem. Looking for a hard-to-find bottle from some small brewery in Utah, Colorado, or California? No problem. And be sure to swing by the bottle chiller before you leave.

Tin Bucket

3520 N Williams Ave
California-based Growler Station’s proprietary foamless filling technology is cool and all—but really, we’re here for the beer. Good thing, because there’s a lot of it: 40 taps of hard-to-find brews await in this warm, orange-walled spot. Bring a second growler.

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