Portland , a.k.a. Beervana, is the epicenter of the craft brewing revival in North America, boasting more breweries than any other city in the world—46 were in operation at press time, and more are certainly in the works (by the way, that number doesn’t count separate brewpubs owned by the same company; in other words, McMenamins counts as one brewery).
It’s a statewide phenomenon: Oregonians consume around 310,000 barrels of beer per year from over 90 individual breweries, making it the largest craft beer market in the United States; 41 percent of all draft beer consumed in Oregon is brewed in Oregon.
All brewpubs are required to serve food, and many double as restaurants. This means that in almost all cases, families are welcome in brewpubs within dining hours and sometimes in designated nonbar areas.
Portland brewpubs come in all shapes and sizes, from garden tents to converted warehouses to funeral chapels. Locally brewed beer is one of the pillars of Portland life—cheers!
The Widmer Brewery and Gasthaus (929 N. Russell St., 503/281-3333) is revered by beer lovers throughout the country as the birthplace of Oregon’s most popular microbrew, Widmer Hefeweizen, distributed nationally in bottles. The Gasthaus is the place to enjoy this cloudy wheat beer straight from the tap. The elegant back bar and a mix of wood and brick throughout the restaurant impart a feeling of warmth that complements home-style German cooking.
Portland ’s first microbrewery started out in a warehouse in the then-derelict Pearl District  that became the Bridgeport Brew Pub (1313 NW Marshall St., 503/241-3612). The company then opened another operation, the Bridgeport Ale House (3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503/233-6540), across the river on trendy Hawthorne Boulevard. Their Blue Heron Ale is one of the marvels of local brewing, especially when poured fresh at the brewpub.
A favorite of the Southeast Portland  crowds is Lucky Labrador Brewing Company, whose original brewpub is at 915 SE Hawthorne Boulevard (503/236-3555). This former sheet-metal warehouse is a very comfortable and unpretentious place—slip on your flip-flops, bring your dog, and head down to the large shady patio for some very tasty brews. A Northwest Portland  location, the Lucky Labrador Beer Hall (1945 NW Quimby St., 503/517-4352) opened in 2006.
Roots Organic Brewing (1520 SE 7th Ave., 503/235-7668) is Oregon’s first all-organic brewery. The Island Red is a fearsomely rich and delicious red stout, while Burghead Heather Ale is brewed with heather instead of hops. The Woody Indian Pale Ale (IPA) is the most fun to order: “Give me a Woody!”
If a pub named New Old Lompoc (1616 NW 23rd Ave., 503/255-1855) seems like a mental tongue twister, just imagine how it will seem after a couple of pints of fine LSD! That’s Lompoc Strong Draft in these parts, a delicious ale with smoked malt and plenty of hops. Other locations are in Southeast Portland (3412 SE Division St., 503/235-2215) and in Northeast Portland (3901 N. Williams Ave., 503/288-3996).
If your local pub has a children’s play area, you know you must be in Portland . Laurelwood Public House & Brewery (5115 NE Sandy Blvd., 503/282-0622) is a family-friendly brewpub with restaurant-quality food in the heart of Northeast Portland’s Hollywood District. While the Space Stout (say that twice quickly) may look like a pint of pure opaque chocolate, it’s not for the children. Instead, it’s an award-winning stout and Portland’s version of Guinness. A second location, Laurelwood NW Public House (2327 NW Kearney St., 503/228-5553), is in Northwest Portland.
In the Pearl District  is The Rogue Public House (1339 NW Flanders St., 503/222-5910), a Portland outlet of Rogue Brewing in Newport . This is some of Oregon’s best beer: Most of the elixirs here are wonderful, but check out the Maibock-style Dead Guy Ale and St. Rogue Red.
Up in far Northeast Portland  is Alameda Brewhouse (4765 NE Fremont St., 503/460-9025), with an ambitious menu, a sleekly stylish dining room, and appreciative crowds for both the food and the ales. Klickitat Pale Ale is the highlight, though some prefer the Juniper Porter, a darker beer brewed with eastern Oregon juniper berries.
Although its headquarters are in Bend , in central Oregon, Deschutes Brewery (210 NW 11th Ave., 503/296-4906, www.deschutesbrewery.com ) has long made some of Portland’s favorite beers, Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Black Butte Porter. Their Portland pub in the midst of the Pearl District  is massive, incorporating a quarter-block’s worth of a former auto-body shop. While much of the space is dedicated to restaurant service, there’s also a large bar area for worship of the brewing gods.
You can’t get much more casual than Amnesia Brewing (832 N. Beech St., 503/281-7708). Along busy North Mississippi Avenue , the brewery and the serving area are in a small converted metal shop, but you’ll drink and dine outdoors at picnic tables underneath a huge tent. Obviously, this is a great place to come in summer when afternoons drift by in picnic mode; dogs aren’t just allowed, they are encouraged. In winter, some of the tables move indoors and space heaters warm the beer garden. The beer is rich and full-flavored, and it is considered by many to be among Portland’s best.
Unfortunately, one of Portland ’s most famous breweries—Hair of the Dog Brewing Company—doesn’t have a brewpub. This outfit, famous for its commitment to unusual and high-alcohol beers that are meant to be aged and drunk like fine wines, makes most of its beer for bottling, as they require time in the cellar to reach their full flavor. However, most pubs carry the properly aged bottles, and a few pubs carry the limited production of the brewery’s draft beer.
The best place to sample Hair of the Dog brews on tap is at the Horse Brass Pub (4534 SE Belmont St., 503/232-2202), one of the most authentic British-style pubs in the city; with over 50 brews on tap it’s also a great place to sample the rest of the local talent.