Believe it or not, especially in a craft beer-crazed city like PDX, just making some sweet beer/serving some sweet bar eats doesn't mean you've got a great brewpub. Sure, having a bunch of semi-nude women in the parking lot helps, but is that enough? Check out our definitive guide to Portland's eight best beer destinations to find out:
Most classic: Lucky Labrador
This dark wood-heavy space in an old warehouse boasts a dozen rotating taps, slings Lucky Lab's now signature sandwiches (smoked pulled pork w/ zesty BBQ sauce, etc.), and is the OG of their four locations, which means it's been open since 1994.
Best place to catch a Blazers game: Migration Brewing Company
This newly revamped spot's got a solid selection of hoppier suds and fairly typical brew pub fare, but nothing that makes it seem that out of the ordinary... until a Blazers game comes on and the oversized space goes off, no doubt thanks to the $10 pitchers they're pouring during games, or their Spaceballs-inspired beer. Seriously!
Best of the best: Hair of the Dog
Southeast Side Industrial
Their “Dave” beer sells for two thousand dollars a bottle, so you should probably stick to their far more reasonably priced (but still really sweet) eats (Painted Hills beef brisket braised in beer w/potato salad & whole grain mustard, Chuck Norris Duck Wings w/a "solid punch & a nice kick"), and have their fruity, oaky (and very Portland) "Fred" to drink.
Best wings: Fire on the Mountain
These dudes started out making Portland's favorite wings, then outfitted this wood-heavy space with glass mosaic chandeliers, massive metal works (including a giant mandolin made of scrap), tons of group-friendly booths, and, most importantly, a full bar, a new pizza menu, and a microbrewery mandated to "make beer to wash some wings down", though Linda McCartney, at least, would've probably preferred showering with water.
Throws the best parties: Burnside Brewing Co.
Not only are they happy to turn their parking lot over to ghoulish go-go dancers, they've also got a cheese-heavy menu (grilled cheese w/oak-smoked cheddar & Emmental Swiss), and some super-creative suds like Sweet Heat wheat ale, which is made with 200lbs of apricot puree, and then dry hopped w/imported Jamaican Scotch bonnet peppers.
Best brewpub in Sellwood: Laurelwood SE Public House
This sun-soaked, garage door-equipped pub in the heart of Rockwellian SE Portland's Westmoreland (who was also great on the first season of Prison Break) is the only Laurelwood location to do what everybody loved most about the now-shuttered original: serves pizza.
Coolest brewmaster/Best new brewery: Ecliptic Brewing
This highly anticipated brewery opened last Fall with a frankly not-all-that-massive-selection of four draft beers and seven sandwiches (Trout Po’ Boy, a pancetta-topped burger, etc.)... as if you'd need anything more from the guy who came up with Deschutes’ Black Butte Porter and McMenamin’s Hammerhead. But if you do, they also have some seasonal mains and stuff.
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1. Migration Brewing2828 NE Glisan St, Portland
2. Hair of the Dog Brewery61 SE Yamhill St, Portland
3. Fire On The Mountain4225 N Interstate Ave, Portland
4. Burnside Brewing Co.701 E Burnside St, Portland
5. Hopworks Urban Brewery2944 SE Powell Blvd, Portland
6. Laurelwood SE Public House6716 SE Milwaukie Ave, Portland
7. Ecliptic Brewing825 N Cook St, Portland
8. Lucky Labrador Brew Pub915 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland
NE Glisan's Migration Brewing is the result of four friends taking their shared passion for beer and doing something about it. Since opening in the fall of 2008, MB has been guided by this initial passion and a strong community connection, serving customers their home-brewed beers on tap alongside delicious food dishes, which include pulled pork sandwiches, club sandwiches, and a number of pizza options.
Hair of the Dog works to obtain local ingredients for all of its brews, which is great for the community. It's also great for the people who drink their beers, with 8 on-tap selections to choose from at their taproom. Growler refills are available for 5 of them, in case you're the kind of person who likes to stock up for the winter.
The hot and spicy wings at this joint claim to be the best "this side of Buffalo" -- check 'em out for yourself and see if they're right.
Beers produced at Burnside Brewery are unfiltered and cleaned of particulates using a lagering process. In layman's terms, this means that the beer takes longer to make but tastes like liquid sunshine. The menu features a selection of cured meats and charcuterie that has been meticulously paired with the beers on offer.
This eco-brewpup makes organic beers in sustainably-built manufacturing facility.
They already had locations in other parts of the city, but the folks behind the Laurelwood Public House chain decided to open one up in the Westmoreland area of SE PDX. Despite a new location, they haven't messed with their winning formula of great beer ($10 for a sampler tray!) and awesome bar food that redefines bar food -- fish tacos, fried mozzarella, Greek lamb gyros, and Kobe beef burgers.
John Harris's newly opened spot has classic American bar eats like sandwiches, and starters and mains like sweet & spicy chicken drumsticks and fish & chips. Oh, and beer. They've got 4 of their own on tap right now, with seasonal rotations.
Sporting dark hardwood floors and beamed ceilings, plus a neighborly vibe, Lucky Lab’s digs are as warm and inviting as the breed after which it's named. You'll find yourself right at home as you munch on pub food and house-made brews like Black Lab Stout, Hawthorne's Best Bitter, and Dog Day IPA. You might've guessed, but all four locations, including this Hawthorne spot, are dog-friendly, so be sure to bring your pup with you (water bowls and photo-ops abound).