Best Local Brew Pubs in Beertown (Aka Portland)
By Meagan Shamy
Portland Local Expert
Brew pubs have long been a substantial and important part of Portland’s nightlife. The city currently has over 70 microbreweries and that number continues to rise. Portland is often considered to be the Beer Capitol of the World. Many of Portland’s breweries have become famous for their beers, shipping their beers all over the world. Each Portland brew pub is unique and has there own theme and dynamic. Portland’s brew pubs are almost always family friendly and many of them have play areas for children. All of the brew pubs serve food. Often the food is organic and locally sourced. Brew pubs tend to care about the food they serve just as much as the care about crafting the perfect beer. Frequenting brew pubs is a part of the Portland culture and a must for any visitor.
In addition to having more microbreweries then anyone else in the world Portland hosts huge beer festivals. Portland annually hosts the Oregon Brewers Festival, Spring Beer and Wine Festival, North American Organic Brewers Festival, the Portland International Beerfest, and the Holiday Ale Festival.
We've listed the top ten brew pubs in Portland based on their beer, food, atmosphere, and uniqueness. All of the brew pubs included are in downtown Portland or nearby. We've included the most environmentally considerate brew pub, Hopworks BikeBar and the most kid friendly brew pub, Laurelwood Brewery. We've included locals favorites Deschutes Brewery and Henry's 12th Street Tavern, both in the Pearl District.
Kells Brew Pub
Kells Irish Pub joined Portland's craft beer scene last year when they opened their own brewery, Kells Brew Pub. Their new relaxed location includes a on site brewery, a family friendly restaurant, and a bar. Currently they offer three of their own craft beers, Irish lager, IPA, and Irish Red Ale. They also serve Guinness. They continue the tradition of serving Irish/English food like Shepard's Pie, Fish and Chips, and Lamb Stew and some American favorites, like nachos. On the weekends they open early for breakfast. Happy hour is every day except Saturdays. It's not unusual for there to be live music. (503-719-7175)
Lucky Labrador Brew Pub
Started in 1994 by two friends that grew up here in Portland. Lucky Labrador brews their craft beers from solar thermal water heating and without carbon dioxide. This microbrewery, along with it's three other locations here in Portland, is a fun place to go for house-brewed beers and delicious sandwiches. The crowd tends to be the upwardly mobile young professionals ready to slake their seemingly endless thirst with tasty selections like Black Lab Stout, Stumptown Porter and Dog Day India Pale Ale. The pub occupies an old warehouse, sporting exposed wood beams, skylights and wood flooring. An outdoor patio is the ideal setting during warm weather months and it's pet friendly. (503-236-3555)
McMenamin's Kennedy School
Built in 1915, this architecturally beautiful structure served generations of students before being closed in 1980. Following a series of renovations by the McMenamin brothers, it reopened as a neighborhood entertainment facility. These days, it houses a bed and breakfast, restaurant, several bars and a gift shop. Have a bite to eat in the Courtyard Restaurant, sample your favorite vintage in the Cypress Room, or hang out in either the Honors Bar or the Detention Bar, depending on your attitude and inclination. Given the particular venue, you'll find local beers, single-malt scotches, espressos, and character galore. Hallways are filled with artwork, and the courtyard gains great appeal when the weather's nice. (503-249-3983, 888-249-3983)
Henry's 12th Street Tavern
Henry's 12th Street Tavern is a restaurant, bar, brew pub and billiards all rolled into one awesome place to eat and hangout. Henry's is located in the Pearl District inside their old brew house. They have over 100 mostly local and regional beers and hard ciders on tap. Downstairs they have a dining area and a large bar area. Upstairs is another large bar area and a billiards room with high end pool tables. You do not need a reservation to play pool. Henry's serves their full menu in the billiards room including happy hour. They have an extensive menu and all food is made from scratch daily. (5032275320)
Laurelwood NW Public House
Laurelwood Public House and Brewery, also known as Laurelwood Brewery is an enjoyable relaxed brew pub for anyone, including families. Not only is their food and micro beers delicious, but it's all certified organic and free range. Laurelwood brews their own organic beers and often offer unique seasonal beers. They always have ten of their beers on tap. For families Laurelwood Brewery has assorted play areas sprinkled throughout the restaurant that kids will love. Laurelwood offers a large happy hour menu daily from 3-6 PM and 9 PM - close. On the weekends Laurelwood opens at 10 AM for their delicious brunch. (503-282-0622)
In 2011 Hopworks Urban brewery expanded by opening another environmentally conscious brew pub, Hopworks Bikebar, a bicycle themed brew pub. They offer organic beer and fresh organic food in a family friendly atmosphere. Here you can sit in one of four sections, the family section with a play area, an outdoor beer garden, the bicycle bar, or the east section overlooking Williams. Hopworks BikeBar stays true to its name by offering 75 bike parking spaces, bike tools, take out specials for bikers, and two stationary bicycles in front of the restaurant that create energy to power the building when customers pedal them. (503-287-6258)
Deschutes Brewery brings the Scottish pub to the Northwest over in the Pearl District. They have 18 beers on tap which include Deschutes mainstays, experimental beers, and seasonal ales. Deschutes Brewery is best known for their Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Black Butte Porter. They take pride in not only offering good beers, but equally good food. The food is locally sourced, often organic, and prepared fresh daily. They offer interesting food like deviled eggs, elk burgers, apple red onion tart, and rootbeer braised pork belly. Deschutes Brewery has a good happy hour Monday - Friday from 4 to 6 PM. (503-296-4906)
Oregon Public House
Oregon Public House has successfully combined two of Oregonians favorite things good beer and supporting charitable causes. The Oregon Public House serves a variety of food including vegetarian options. On tap you will find 12 beers including gluten free beers. They have a rotating list of charities they support including the following: Friends of the Children, Friends of Trees, The Neo Fund, My Voice Music, Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, Black United Fund, Habitat for Humanity, and Compassion First. Customers will have a chance to decide where the proceeds of their food and drink purchase go to from a short list of local charities. ((503) 828-0884)
Rogue Distillery and Public House
Rogue brewery is located in the heart of Portland's Historic Brewing District in the Pearl, this location is the inside the former home of Portland Brewing and Bogart's, a long-time institution in Portland. They feature Rogue spirits and beers, distillery tours, outside seating, and pizza & beer delivery. They have 38 taps that include a selection of unique limited-release beers you can only find at at this Rogue pub. Dogs are allowed to hang out here with you and they even have their own menu and enjoy free water. The best part is they are always open, 365 days a year. ((503) 222-5910)
Oregon's oldest craft brewery, The Bridgeport brewpub is housed in one of Portland's oldest industrial buildings. Covered in ivy, the brick Cordage Company building was erected in 1886. Since 1984 it has been the home both of BridgePort's brewhouse and restaurant. Artisan pizzas made in wood-fired ovens are the perfect companion to BridgePort's signature draft beers. The food they serve is not your typical pub food. Their chili verde is the best in Portland. Whether you sit downstairs or upstairs there are televisions for you to watch sports on. Located in Portland's trendy Pearl District, the brewpub is a great destination after the First Thursday Art Walk. (503-241-3612)
About Meagan Shamy
Meagan Shamy is an Oregon resident by choice and thinks Portland is a tremendous city that everyone should visit. Originally a Texas girl. She has lived all around the United States, compliments of the US Air Force. After living in Texas, Mississippi, Oregon, Idaho, Florida, and Nevada, she chose to return to Portland, OR and make it home. Meagan graduated with a History and English degree from the University of Texas. Being a military wife has led her on adventures around the world, including two of her favorite places Honduras and Scotland. Her work can be found on several websites including 10Best.com and TravelingMom.com.
Read more about Meagan Shamy here.