There is simply no better city for beer drinking than Portland. The Rose City’s nearly 70 breweries (more than any other city in the world!) offer everything from the most aggressive double IPAs to styles inspired by traditional ales of rural Europe. Use our expert’s guide to choose the choicest brews in your favorite style.
IPAs and Imperial IPAs
Breakside IPA – Breakside Brewery
While they’re known for innovative experiments like smoky ambers and basil-spiked blondes, this brewery in North Portland’s Woodlawn neighborhood stakes its reputation on this flagship IPA, which won a gold medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival for its precisely balanced tropical and evergreen flavors.
Megafauna Imperial IPA – Laurelwood Brewery
This Portland mainstay’s Workhorse IPA has long been a gold standard for the style. When available, Megafauna is a robust upgrade that beautifully harmonizes tropical fruit notes with resinous pine, floral aromas and no small amount of alcohol, at 9.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).
Gigantic IPA – Gigantic Brewing
Boasting a citrusy punch and a drinkability that masks its 7.3% ABV, this gorgeous orange concoction is the only beer this Southeast Portland brewery makes year-round.
Lagers and Pilsners
Engleberg Pilsner – Upright Brewing
A draft-only gem that the brewers at Upright originally made for themselves, this crisp, refreshing lager balanced with rare German Tettnang hops is almost impossible to get outside of Portland — which is good, because it’s best at peak freshness.
Lager – Hopworks Urban Brewery
Perhaps the best testament to the accessibility of Portland beer: At nearly every convenience store in town, you’ll find pounders of this clean, delicious, organic lager, balancing a light malt body with delicately herbal Perle hops. Eat your heart out, Bud.
Spica Pilsner – Ecliptic Brewing
An unfiltered lager with the fruity aromatics of a Hefeweizen, this idyllic summer beer gets a kick of herbaceous hop character from Sterling hops. The slightly spicy and pleasantly bitter finish rewards the drinker sip after sip.
Black Bear XX Stout – Alameda Brewing
The Northwest is brimming with heady, massive stouts perfect for winter sipping, but Alameda’s dark beer is a different breed entirely. Notes of roasted coffee and chocolate float on a light body and 6.8% ABV belied by the beer’s deep hue.
Adam from the Wood – Hair of the Dog
Months spent in bourbon barrels amplify the smoky cocoa and fig flavors of “Adam,” the brewery’s first creation, while smoothing out its earthy undertones and lending this highly sought-after beer a pleasantly boozy finish.
The Abyss – Deschutes Brewery
In this celebrated yearly release, which always sells out quickly, layers of flavor and aroma from aging in bourbon, oak and pinot noir barrels dance over a deep, rich base of molasses, vanilla and cherry bark.
Traditional German Beers
Hefewiezen – Occidental Brewing
Any of this St. Johns brewery’s continental-style brews could make this list, but their Hefewiezen might be the best this side of the Atlantic. One sip takes you right to summer in Bavaria, thanks to notes of banana, clove and citrus peel.
Alpenglow Weizenbock – Fat Head’s Brewery
It takes a lot of guts for a brewery from Ohio to expand operations to a craft beer mecca like Portland, but Fathead’s 2014 GABF gold medal-winning take on this darker, higher-gravity German wheat beer style justifies the brewery’s confidence.
Schwartzbier – PINTS Brewing
A dark-hued, low alcohol pilsner with a dry finish, Schwartzbier isn’t exactly a common style in Germany, which makes this Old Town brewery’s version a unique offering for drinkers looking for new sudsy adventures.
Urban Farmhouse Ale – The Commons Brewery
Introduced in 2011, The Commons’ first beer sums up what this Central Eastside beer maker is all about: simplicity. It’s the rare American Saison that nails the sweet spot between floral, spicy and citrus notes for the uncomplicated, elegant and low alcohol refreshment the style is meant to offer.
Five – Upright Brewing
One of Upright’s handful of year-round, bottle-conditioned offerings, this is a Saison for IPA drinkers: Strong aromas from Willamette, Liberty and Glacier hops yield on the palate to the slight spice and floral notes typical to a farmhouse ale, with the crisp dry finish of an American pale.