Brave new beers in Portland

Branch out with one of these less common beer styles — your taste buds will thank you later.

Commons-Tasting-webBeer-lovers taste European-inspired brews at The Commons brewery.

Fact: Portland is home to more breweries than any other city on the planet — 75 and counting. Here in “Beervana,” the brews are likely to be as delicious as they are local, and styles stretch from alts to zwickelbiers. Along with the ubiquitous IPAs, odds are you’ll find locals sipping one of five newly popular beer styles: saison, session, Cascadian Dark Ale, fruit and sour. Follow our guide to get to know (and taste) them for yourself.


Inspired by the rustic farmhouse ales of Belgium and France, this refreshing style boasts fruit and spice profiles.

Hopped Saison, Grixsen Brewing Co.

Juicy Northwest hops and farmhouse yeast make this a flavorful sip that’s sweet yet dry.

Four, Upright Brewing

A sour mash gives this wheat-based ale a smack of tartness.


Beers that undergo continued barrel-fermentation are said to be “sour.” But fear not: Many are rounded with fresh fruit notes.

Apricot, Cascade Brewing Barrel House

This Belgian tripel from Portland’s sour beer brewing mecca is aged for 16 months in French-oak wine barrels, undergoing lactic fermentation before spending eight months mixing with ripe apricots.

Passion Fruit Berliner Weisse, Breakside Brewery

A bronze-medal winner at the 2013 Great American Beer Fest, this German-style sour wheat beer is infused with juicy, tropical lilikoi.


These low-alcohol entries (typically 5% alcohol by volume or less) still pack flavor.

Sunshine Daydream, Fat Head’s Brewery

This bright and refreshing ale squeaks in just under 5% ABV. Notes of citrus and peach and a generously hoppy smack make for easy summer drinking.

Oregon Session Ale, Sasquatch Brewing Company

Pilsner malt and flaked maize embellished with aromatic Willamette Valley hops offer a taste of biscuits with wild honey.


Cascadian Dark Ale. Pacific Northwest-grown hops and black malts are a must for this variation of India Pale Ale.

Celilo, Sasquatch Brewing Company

Summit, tomahawk and chinook hops give this dark malty ale an IPA-like punch.

Hop in the Dark, Deschutes Brewery

Five varieties of Cascadian hops (Nugget, Centennial, Amarillo, Cascade and Citra) mix with two kinds of barley malts — chocolate-wheat and black — for results that are both resinous and astringent.


Far beyond beer flavored with fruit extracts, these generally tart beers are fermented with a bounty of fresh local fruit.

Oregon Kara Sakura, Culmination Brewing

Culmination Brewing created this unabashedly dark pink beer with a surprising blend of wild yeast, Oregon-grown cherries and Jasmine Pearl Tea Company rose hips. With hints of cherry and rose, it tastes slightly tart, wheaty and utterly unique.


Mentioned in this Article