beer friends

Posted by guest blogger Hanna Laney

Our fair city is noted as one of the greatest beer cities in the world. Rivaling Marzen-soaked Munich, delightfully style-diverse Denver or super-hopped San Diego, Portland holds a special place in a beer lover’s heart. With a plethora of places destined to make a seasoned zymurgist proud, those who find themselves at the other end of the beer spectrum—or even those with moderate brew knowledge—may be overwhelmed with all the beerific choices awaiting them in the Rose City. Here’s a definitive guide for beer aficionados, neophytes and anyone in between.

Horse Brass Pub: This legendary haunt was made so by a man of equally legendary reputation. Don Younger, the late inimitable publican, founded the pub with his brother under hazy circumstances in 1976. Slowly building his pub into the English-style beervana it is today, he grew the taps and the bar’s status grew, too. Though Younger has since passed, his beloved bar remains a testament to his forward thinking, the meteoric rise of American craft beer and the undeniable importance of the craft beer community. Horse Brass is located at 4534 SE Belmont Street.

The Commons Brewery: Mike Wright and Sean Burke’s beer brainchild is a lesser-known delight. In their words, their beers “are geared to be session-able and therefore enable or enhance social interaction. For consumers, the focus should be on friends and family they are sharing time with…” Who can argue with that? Plus, it’s not just their feel-good philosophy that makes them a hit, they have been lauded with both a Great American Beer Festival medal and a World Beer Cup award, two of brewing’s highest honors. Visit their SE Portland tasting room Thursday-Saturday to enjoy one of their Belgian beauties at 1810 SE 10th Avenue.

Upright Brewing: Alex Ganum brings open fermentation to Portland in his Belgian-inspired brewhouse and tasting room. Though some of Upright’s beers have somewhat intimidating numerical names to an uninitiated Upright beer drinker, their Engelberg Pilsener is a perfect introduction to the sort of nuanced, subtle, balanced brewing Upright is known for. The tasting room often boasts an around-the-block line for their bottle releases but don’t miss their Four, Five, Six and Seven if you see them around town. Visit Upright at 240 N Broadway in the basement of the Left Bank Building.

John’s Market: If you’re looking to quaff a brew at home or are looking for the perfect bottle to bring to your next dinner party, John’s Market in Multnomah Village is your one-stop-shop. With a dizzying array of craft beer from here and abroad, John’s Market is a gem. Additionally, their website boasts an extremely helpful archive of what they have on hand ( Looking for that obscure Cantillon you had while you backpacked through Europe? It’s there. Hoping to snag a bottle of Hair Of The Dog’s famed Adam? It’s there. Go global or pick a beer from Portland’s backyard at 3535 SW Multnomah Boulevard.

Oregon Brewers Festival: Every July, Waterfront Park transforms into one of the best beer festivals in the nation. Expanding to five beer-soaked days in 2013, this fest features some seriously sought-after taps and is a veritable who’s who of craft brewing. If you want a crazy, raucous festival environment, try the Saturday session. If you’re looking for a more relaxed tasting, try the festival on Wednesday, before the crowds really swell. Find more information about this year’s fest as summer nears 2013 dates are Wednesday, July 24 to Sunday, July 28.

For beer lovers, living in Portland is like being a kid in a proverbial candy store. But, if you’re new to the beer scene, don’t let the city’s storied reputation scare you away. The Rose City boasts some of the most well-reputed, knowledgeable, and friendly members of the craft beer community. Beer is meant to be shared; grab your friends and head out for a pint!