City Guide / Portland

The 18 Best Breweries in Portland, Oregon

By Matt Wastradowski | Nov 17, 2022
Craft beers at the best breweries in Portland, Oregon.

Portland is popularly nicknamed “Beervana,” and a cursory glance at the city’s beer scene shows why: Every year, the city hosts the Oregon Beer Awards (which showcase the best of the state’s craft breweries), the Oregon Brewers Festival is one of the nation’s longest-running craft beer festivals (one that draws 50,000 fans to the Willamette River waterfront in Portland each year), and you’ll find roughly 70 breweries across the city.

So, if you’re interested in exploring the city’s massive craft beer scene but don’t know where to begin, we’ve tried to make it easy for you. Here’s our rundown of the best breweries in Portland, including:

  • Baerlic Brewing
  • Breakside Brewery
  • Cascade Brewing Barrel House
  • Culmination Brewing Company
  • Ecliptic Brewing
  • Gigantic Brewing Company
  • Great Notion Brewing
  • Hopworks Urban Brewery
  • Level Beer
  • Little Beast Brewing
  • Occidental Brewing Co.
  • Old Town Pizza & Brewing
  • Ruse Brewing
  • Steeplejack Brewing Company
  • Threshold Brewing & Blending
  • Upright Brewing
  • Von Ebert Brewing
  • Wayfinder Beer

Let’s get started!

1. Baerlic Brewing

Sitting along leafy SE 11th Avenue in Southeast Portland, Baerlic Brewing Co. has earned acclaim for producing one outstanding beer after another over the years. Its year-round lineup includes three IPAs and one lager, while a rotating seasonal selection spotlights a variety of saisons, heavy-hitting stouts and porters, and the occasional radler in summer. Hopheads love the pine-tinged Punk Rock Time IPA, while those looking for an easy-drinking brew prefer the Dad Beer lager.

Baerlic (pronounced “bear lick”) boasts three outposts around Portland, but its SE 11th Ave. taproom is beloved for a lack of televisions and loud music, putting the focus squarely on good beer and better conversation (and for slinging square slices of Sicilian-style pies from the city’s own Ranch Pizza). Some outdoor seating is available.

2. Breakside Brewery

With four brewpubs and one rebuilt 1972 Winnebago pouring a variety of ales and lagers across Portland, Breakside Brewery is among the city’s most beloved craft beer hubs. You can’t go wrong with any of its pubs, but Breakside’s flagship outpost on NE Dekum St., just off Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in North Portland, offers a refreshing experience.

Choose from indoor or al fresco seating while sipping on Breakside’s acclaimed IPAs (including the citrus-tinged Breakside IPA and the tropical What Rough Beast), its many barrel-aged offerings, or seasonal releases, such as the tart Passionfruit Sour Ale. The food menu is full of pub food favorites, but a plate of this Portland brewery’s nachos is enough for two.

3. Cascade Brewing Barrel House

Sitting along SE Belmont St. in Portland’s inner eastside, Cascade Brewing Barrel House crafts a variety of barrel-aged brews that defy easy description. The ever-changing tap list may include fruity sours that were aged for years in oak barrels, thoughtful blends of saisons and blond ales, and heavy-hitting barrel-aged stouts (typically infused with spices and other ingredients for a well-rounded drinking experience).

Keep an eye out for the brewpub’s Vlad the Imp Aler (a mixture of quad and blond ales aged for up to two years in bourbon and wine barrels) and its Kriek (a blend of sour red and blond ales that is aged for up to two years with Oregon-grown cherries). If you’d rather go for a more conventional beer, Cascade Brewing’s ales and lagers are also on tap; enjoy them inside the bustling tasting room or on the patio, which faces Belmont St.

4. Culmination Brewing Company

Since its founding nearly 10 years ago, Culmination Brewing Company has earned a reputation among in-the-know beer geeks for crafting a uniformly excellent tap list of unconventional, modern, and classic styles. (So lauded was Culmination’s reputation, it was named the state’s best mid-sized brewery at the 2020 Oregon Beer Awards.)

The Portland brewery expanded its canning operations in 2021, bringing many of its favorite brews (including the citrus-esque Phaedrus IPA and the fruity Sour Flower) to more Portlanders. Stop by Culmination’s industrial-inspired taproom in Northeast Portland to sip your way through a lineup of nearly 20 beers—and to nosh on filling plates from HarBQ on weekends. When the weather cooperates, enjoy it all on the brewpub’s leafy patio.

5. Ecliptic Brewing

Brewer John Harris has been producing some of Oregon’s best-loved brews for decades, with stints at McMenamins, Deschutes Brewery, and Full Sail Brewery on his resume. It’s no surprise, then, that he opened his own, cosmos-inspired brewery along Mississippi Avenue in October 2013.

Since opening, Harris’ Ecliptic Brewing has churned out a number of beloved beers across a wide range of styles—including Starburst IPA (boasting notes of citrus and pine), Capella Porter (featuring roasty flavors of chocolate and caramel), and the tart yet crisp Carina Peach Sour Ale. It all pairs well with a food menu of upscale pub food (which changes every six weeks) and a spacious patio that fills quickly on sunny summer days.

6. Gigantic Brewing Company

When Gigantic Brewing Company launched in 2012, it did so with a wink and a smile; this Portland brewery’s name, after all, was designed as a joke around its desire to remain a small, neighborhood gathering spot in SE Portland. But, 10 years later, Gigantic Brewing Company hosts two outposts around Portland (with a third on the way!) and makes some of the city’s most popular beers.

IPAs are the star of the show at Gigantic, where the brewery’s old-school flagship IPA is one of the few beers that’s always on tap. Other selections might include hazy IPAs, citrus-tinged IPAs, a hazelnut chocolate stout, and a few lagers. Enjoy them at Gigantic’s first pub in SE Portland (which has some covered outdoor seating and an onsite food cart) or its second location in NE Portland (part of a collection of four kitchens churning out cuisine from all over the world, along with copious outdoor seating). And keep an eye out for Gigantic’s third pub, situated along Hawthorne Blvd. and scheduled to open in late 2022 or early 2023.

7. Great Notion Brewing

In late 2015, Great Notion Brewing took over a former brewpub in the heart of the Alberta Arts District and instantly became one of the city’s buzziest breweries. Great Notion, drawing its name and logger-inspired decor from Ken Kesey’s seminal novel “Sometimes a Great Notion,” quickly earned acclaim for a wide-ranging lineup that includes some of Portland’s best hazy IPAs and culinary-inspired sours and stouts. Juice Jr. offers notes of pineapple and mango, for instance, while the heavy-hitting Double Stack imperial stout is aged on whole-bean coffee and showcases a hearty maple syrup flavor.

Today, Great Notion boasts four pubs in the Portland area. Head to the flagship Alberta St. pub, where you can enjoy the brewery’s inventive lineup of quality craft beers on a leafy patio—all alongside filling tacos and barbecue sides from Matt’s BBQ Tacos.

8. Hopworks Urban Brewery

Hopworks Urban Brewery opened in 2007 with an ambitious mission: to produce excellent ales and lagers with sustainable practices that protect the planet. Roughly 15 years later, the lauded brewery on SE Powell Blvd. remains a family-owned Certified B Corporation (which means Hopworks meets high standards on a number of fronts—from charitable giving to thoughtful supply chain practices) that employs salmon-safe brewing practices.

Today, Hopworks’ family-friendly pub on Powell Blvd. offers plenty of bike parking and seasonal patio space—along with a wide-ranging lineup of ales and lagers, many of which are crafted with organic ingredients. You can’t go wrong with the Powell Cryo IPA, teeming with notes of melon and tropical fruit, or the Golden Hammer Organic Lager (a slightly sweet beer with subtle floral notes that create a well-rounded beer). It all goes well with a food menu that includes pizza, pub fare, salads, and more.

9. Level Beer

You’ll find a plethora of pop culture-inspired ales and lagers at Level Beer, which boasts three taprooms around the Portland area.

One of the keys to the brewery’s success—other than crafting a wide range of balanced beers, of course—is its affinity for imbuing each release with a nod to various video games (such as its citrus-tinged Game On! IPA and Let’s Play! dry-hopped pilsner), movies (including the She’s Fast Enough For You, Old Man hazy IPA, which takes its name from an iconic line in “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope”), and television shows (including the This is the Way hazy IPA—a nod to “The Mandalorian”).

The beers are excellent at any of Level’s three pubs, but its flagship in East Portland earns points for hosting three food trucks, offering plenty of outdoor seating, and boasting a small dog park.

10. Little Beast Brewing

You’ll find a little of everything at Little Beast Brewing—lagers, IPAs, Belgian ales, and so forth—but the brewery is best known for its sour and barrel-aged offerings that drink more like a somewhat sour, mildly tart wine than conventional beers. The Ferme Rouge, for instance, is a red ale (aged in oak barrels and fermented with several types of yeast) that boasts a subtle tartness and all-around funky notes.

Whatever you order, it tastes best from the source. Little Beast sits in a bungalow house along SE Division Street, boasting a cozy, inviting interior and a spacious beer garden with picnic tables and lawn chairs outside. Little Beast’s kitchen partner is Lawless Barbecue, which dishes Kansas City-style ‘cue—think burnt ends, ribs, pulled pork, and a variety of sides.

11. Occidental Brewing Co.

In a city where IPAs reign supreme, Occidental Brewing Co. stands out for an uncompromising commitment to German lagers. So, while you won’t find an IPA anywhere on Occidental’s tap list, you will find a Czech-style dark lager, a chewy dunkel, a Bavarian-style hefeweizen (with notes of banana and clove), a crisp kölsch, and other beers inspired by the Old World.

In addition to outstanding beers, the St. Johns-based brewery has a spacious taproom with plenty of outdoor seating, shuffleboard, and displays of hundreds of vintage beer cans from around the world. If you’d rather grab a couple of cans to go, you’re a short walk from outstanding views of the Willamette River and the regal St. Johns Bridge at Cathedral Park.

12. Old Town Pizza & Brewing

Old Town Brewing & Pizza has a long history in Portland. It opened as a family-run pizza in 1974, was purchased by its current owner in 2003, expanded to a second location in Northeast Portland in 2008, and started brewing its own beer soon after. Today, Old Town is known for an old-school mix of year-round beers (including a few IPAs and a biscuity pilsner) and a creative cast of seasonal and one-off selections (including a lemongrass ginger lager, a chocolate IPA, and an altbier brewed with candy cap mushrooms).

You can’t go wrong with either location, but the brewery’s original outpost in (surprise!) Old Town Portland sits inside one of the city’s oldest buildings—some say the former hotel is haunted—and still slings a variety of down-home pizzas.

13. Ruse Brewing

You’ll find a wide range of beers at the Ruse Brewing taproom in Southeast Portland, just off the MAX Orange line. Pilsners, hazy IPAs, lagers, stouts, and more are all accounted for here, but what sets Ruse apart is its house yeast, which the brewery developed with a local lab and uses in its saisons and farmhouse ales. That unique yeast gives Ruse’s beers a bit more funk and full-bodied flavor.

Whatever you order, it goes down well in Ruse’s wood-paneled taproom, which hosts a television and peers into the brewery. The fun also includes live music and occasional pop-ups from local food purveyors.

14. Steeplejack Brewing Company

Around Oregon, you’ll find breweries in converted auto dealerships, repair shops, and even a fish processing plant. But few show off their home taprooms quite like Steeplejack Brewing Company, which opened in 2021 in a century-old church in Portland’s Sullivan Gulch neighborhood. The taproom’s historic nature is readily apparent in its high ceilings, intricate woodwork, and—of course—stained glass windows that look down on the brewing equipment. The spacious tasting room includes copious seating, with smaller rooms surrounding the bar for quieter group gatherings.

At any given time, patrons can choose among cocktails, wine, guest brews, and roughly 15 house-made beers—the latter of which run the gamut from light and crushable (including a Polish smoked wheat ale and a crisp grisette) to hoppy (with hazy and Pacific Northwest IPAs accounted for) to a few poured from a cask (including an English dark mild ale and an English pale ale). Some outdoor seating is available if you’re looking for some fresh air to pair with your drinks.

15. Threshold Brewing & Blending

Since opening in Portland’s Montavilla neighborhood in 2019, Threshold Brewing & Blending has become a local favorite for consistently pouring a creative mix of styles—experimental IPAs, farmhouse ales, sour and mixed-culture beers, bourbon barrel-aged offerings, and more. Brewer Jarek Szymanski isn’t shy about experimenting, and he typically hits the mark with some of his off-the-wall offerings—including a Polish dark lager, a Polish Baltic porter, a pumpkin pie-inspired sour ale, and more.

Threshold’s kid-friendly and dog-friendly taproom is almost always bustling, so it’s a good thing the brewery hosts a patio that is heated and covered in the winter. In addition to a small menu of pub food, Threshold offers house-made Polish zapiekanka—an open-faced baguette that’s topped with spiced mushrooms and Polish morski cheese, toasted, and drizzled with house-made, Polish-style ketchup. (If you’re noticing a trend with the Polish food and beer offerings, it’s all a nod to Szymanski’s Polish heritage.)

16. Upright Brewing

Just north of the Moda Center, where the Portland Trail Blazers play and the biggest names in music put on concerts for packed houses, Upright Brewing is unafraid to challenge its patrons with an ever-changing, inventive lineup of excellent beers.

Upright made a name for itself with Belgian-style farmhouse ales, but the outstanding brewery also produces some of the city’s most creative IPAs, English-style ales, and barrel-aged beers. Unusual ingredients show up all over the tap list, such as a gose made with lobster mushrooms or a stout crafted with regional oysters. Garage doors at the high-ceiling pub roll up when the weather’s nice. And, if there’s no game or show that night, it’s typically a laid-back scene.

17. Von Ebert Brewing

Located in the heart of the trendy Pearl District, Von Ebert Brewing opened its first pub in 2018 and has quickly grown into a Portland brewing icon. In just four short years, the nascent brewery has racked up acclaim for its abundance of easy-drinking lagers and flavorful IPAs, with the pine-tinged Volatile Substance emerging as one of the city’s best India pale ales. Today, Von Ebert consistently boasts a tap list of 20 or so house-made beers at any given time.

With so many brews to enjoy, it’s a good thing Von Ebert’s pub is such a fun place to hang out. Nearly floor-to-ceiling windows let in plenty of natural light, large tables invite group hangs, and some outdoor seating is available when the weather cooperates. You’ll find three other Von Ebert pubs around the Portland area as well.

18. Wayfinder Beer

Wayfinder Beer draws on Old World influences to produce an always-excellent lineup of refreshing lagers, including Italian- and Czech-style pilsners, a dry-hopped altbier, and a Bavarian-inspired helles. But since this is Portland, you’ll still find a token hazy IPA (featuring refreshing notes of grapefruit) and a floral, citrusy West Coast IPA. (And, since this is Wayfinder, both are exemplary.)

Sitting in Portland’s central eastside neighborhood, the brewery pairs its refreshing beer selection with a fun pub experience that includes an upscale food menu that draws on international influences (think banh mi, schnitzel, fish-and-chips). Wayfinder also features a spacious patio on an elevated deck that’s always bustling (and heated in the winter!). Cider, wine, and cocktails are also available here.

Want to explore Portland’s brewery scene?

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Matt Wastradowski

Matt Wastradowski is an Oregon-based travel writer who loves writing about the great outdoors, the Pacific Northwest's craft beer and cider scene, and regional history. He's been lucky enough to write for the likes of Willamette Week, Northwest Travel & Life magazine, the REI Co-op Journal, and more—and has authored three guidebooks for Moon Travel Guides (including Moon Oregon, due out in 2023). When he isn't hiking around the region or bellying up to the bar at his favorite breweries, Matt is probably rocking out to Pearl Jam (as he owns more than 40 albums by the seminal band).