Breweries and distilleries in Portland, OR?
August 17, 2011 10:05 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend some breweries and distilleries that we could visit in Portland OR, with a focus on those that give tours.

We will be in Portland, OR this coming weekend (4 day weekend, Friday-Monday) and would like to hit up some local breweries, though we have been advised that we shouldn't overlook the distilleries in the area. We would prefer to focus on places in either category that give tours and describe the brewing / distilling process, rather than just doing a series of tastings - we'd like to learn a little about how it all works. Places near public transit are preferred, though we do have one non-drinker who's willing to drive, so it's not strictly required.

I'm personally already familiar with a number of the Oregon beers that are distributed nationally (Deschutes, Full Sail, Rogue, Pyramid), so I'd be especially interested in hearing about some of the more local-focused beer places. Oh, and I have Googled a bit and found "Distillery Row," which I'd love to hear more about - how are their tours, for instance?

posted by rkent to Travel & Transportation around Portland, OR (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Widmer Brothers

Fridays at 3:00 pm
Saturdays at 11:00am & 12:30pm

Reservations required / group sizes are limited
Call 503-281-2437
posted by troll at 10:14 PM on August 17, 2011

Response by poster: Widmer! That's the one I meant I was familiar with, rather than Pyramid. I have not toured there, though - thanks!
posted by rkent at 10:26 PM on August 17, 2011

Best answer: I'm a huge fan of Upright's beers, especially the Number 6. Though I've never been to their tasting room, their web site does say you can tour the brewery if you go. It's definitely a very local brewery, but pretty well respected here. As a bonus, it's extremely convenient to public transportation as well, being within a couple blocks of the Rose Quarter MAX station, which is within the free rail zone (in other words, if you're staying at one of the downtown hotels, you can take the train there for free).

HUB (Hopworks Urban Brewery) also has some pretty damn drinkable beers, and they do tours at their SE Powell Blvd. location on, I think, Saturdays. No train there, but the #9 bus goes right up Powell from downtown.

Mostly, though, you probably want to hook up with these guys.

Oh, and one final thing: if you care about beer, stay the hell away from any of the McMenamins' establishments (Kennedy School, et al.) For some unknown reason some people seem to think they're pretty great, but although they do wonderful things with the physical spaces they rehab and move into, their beer runs the gamut from mediocre to uninteresting, and their food is genuinely bad.
posted by dersins at 10:57 PM on August 17, 2011

(in case you wanted an exhaustive list,
posted by fragmede at 11:11 PM on August 17, 2011

Best answer: House Spirits Distillery does tours and tastings and makes some excellent spirits.
posted by girlalex at 11:47 PM on August 17, 2011

Seconding Upright. Unless thing have changed in the last year, the reason that you can tour the brewery from the tasting room is that the tasting room consists of a few chairs and small tables *in* the brewery. As in the floor might be wet. Don't let that discourage you as you can get some really interesting very small batch stuff there.
posted by SandiBeech at 1:46 AM on August 18, 2011

I'm a big fan of Bridgeport, their Stumptown Tart series are among my favorite beers.

Also, Deschutes.
posted by matrushka at 8:19 AM on August 18, 2011

New Deal Distillery has a tasting room, so does the aforementioned House Spirits. I've spent time in several, and they're really not that exciting. This is kind of blasphemy, but you can get much better drinks at some of the bars around town that specialize in cocktails than you can at the actual distillery. Only upshot of the distillery is sometimes you can taste non-production line items.

I would call ahead, and talk to the dudes at Amnesia (sorry for the yelp link, they don't have a website) to see if you could do a quick tour there. They have a really small brewery, and they don't really distribute, and i've never seen their beers on tap anywhere but at their own shop. Probably my favorite brew-pub in the city.

The Widmere tour is pretty great.

2nding the sentiment that you should stay away from McMenimans...that shit is just...its just bad.
posted by furnace.heart at 2:38 PM on August 18, 2011

PDX Pedicab does distillery and brewery tours, for the full Portlandy experience. You can cover a lot of ground and someone on a bike will haul you there. House Spirits Distillery tends to get very in-depth with their tours, and the New Deal people will definitely get into the process if you ask, so it's more informative than just tasting.
posted by sally onion at 10:39 PM on August 21, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks all!

For posterity: due to various shenanigans, we missed all the scheduled Widmer tours. We stopped by Upright, and it was indeed a little tasting room on the side of their brewing facility, which we were able to wander about at will.

We also made the scheduled tour at House Spirits, which was quite comprehensive and interesting (and the gin was good) - very glad we made that one.

We did try beers from Cascade and HopWorks as well, though we weren't able to take a tour at either place.
posted by rkent at 12:33 PM on August 23, 2011

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