I am lucky enough to live in Beervana (Portland, Oregon), the home of more microbreweries than anywhere else in America. I would go so far as to say Portland is right there with Germany in terms of quality and quantity of beer. I tend to prefer big, bold beers like Imperial Stouts and very hoppy ales with at least 7% alcohol. These beers pack the most punch and send the taste-buds into a frenzy from the first sip.

If you’ve never been to Portland for a beer, go directly to The Horse Brass Pub on SE Belmont when you arrive. This is beer drinker’s heaven. From the moment you walk in the door you feel like you’ve been sent back in time to an authentic old London Pub. So many rotating beers on tap, great English food, darts, and no television. You will find a new second home. Don Younger, the owner of the bar, is a Portland legend and is famous in the beer world. It is really all about the beer at his establishment. Make sure you ask what’s on the nitro tap.

Also, when in town, I encourage you to visit smaller breweries like The New Old Lompoc and The Lucky Labrador to find the best big & complex Portland beers that are not mass produced. Try the C-Note at the Lompoc. Hop deliciousness to the extreme.

As far as my favorite well known local beers, here are a few:

Full Sail Amber Ale:

This was the first beer I really fell in love with. It slides down your throat like a silky waterfall and caramel malt envelops your senses like an explosion of goodness. I’ll never forget my first sip.. it was like a first kiss.

Black Butte Porter:

A big, bold beer out of the Deschutes Brewery in Bend. The coffee and chocolate notes really stand out. I could drink this beer for breakfast. In fact, tomorrow, I might.

Bridgeport IPA:

The sheer amount of hops in this beer will have you raising your eyebrows and taking a step back. It’s that shocking at first. There is almost a grapefruit taste to it but if you love hops you will love this beer.

Mirror Pond Pale Ale:

The most drinkable ale. Period. Sweet floral notes complement the malt and hops and meet in your mouth for a disco flavor party. In my bartending days I had a Mirror Pond attached to my hand at all times. It made sleeping difficult.

Shakespeare Stout:

This is brewed by the Rogue Brewery and is an incredible beer. Complex and very dark with sweet chocolate aftertaste will have you coming back for more of this glorious stout.

Hammerhead Ale:

My favorite beer at McMinnimen’s (the best chain of NW tavern’s EVER). It’s crisp and hoppy but has the savory taste of malt complementing the heavy hops. Try the Terminator Stout too though, as this one is not to be missed. The Ruby Ale (brewed with raspberries) is also a crowd favorite, especially for the ladies.

Try some of these when you come out west where the beer is the best!


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