Brewing culture is hopping in the state of Oregon. With the booming success of Deschutes Brewery, one of the first craft breweries in central Oregon, the way was paved for other unique and unquestionably brilliant breweries to pop up in the area.
Given that Oregon ranks No. 1 in the percentage of dollars spent on craft beer in the US and No. 2 for breweries per capita, it wouldn’t be hard to find somewhere to quench your thirst. What better way to explore this region full of natural wonders than to follow your love for craft beer through some of the most innovative and successful craft breweries in the country?
Here are six of the best breweries Portland has to offer:
Tucked in the Old Mill District beer lovers will find Crux Fermentation Project, a joint venture between three men, including Larry Sidor, the longtime head brewer of Deschutes Brewery. Sidor has made it his goal to create bold, full-flavoured beers that you won’t find anywhere else. Bringing in grains and malts from around the world, and mixing different strains of yeast using an open fermentation brewing method, has led to beers that will literally knock your socks off. The Tasting Room, situated smack dab in the middle of the brewery, allows beer lovers to watch the brewing process.
This brewery takes pride in its commitment to brewing green, and believes it’s the only responsible way to brew. McMenamins uses second-hand equipment, recycles and reuses materials, and makes sure to give all waste to farmers for further use. This green outlook hasn’t taken away from producing incredible beers such as Hammerhead, Ruby, and the Terminator Stout, a full bodied ale that boasts an array of chocolate, nutty and coffee flavours. There are 17 breweries throughout Oregon based in historic buildings, lighthouses, old schools, and other creative places, and it’s easy to see why this brewery is so well-loved.
One of the first craft breweries in central Oregon, Deschutes is now the sixth largest craft brewery in the US. Expanding into such a large brewery hasn’t stopped them from creating incredible award-winning beers and welcoming brewpubs. The downtown location in Bend is a favourite, with an eclectic mix of people trying out one of the 19 taps that constantly change. The motto at Deschutes Brewery has always been “Do your best and next time do it better.” The beers here speak for themselves – don’t miss out on award-winners such as Black Butte and Mirror Pond (available in Alberta).
A stop at this brewery is a must for any trailblazer in Oregon. Silver Moon started as a brew shop but has evolved into a local brewery and tasting room that features live music and holds amazing events. The array of beers is simply overwhelming, at times with 16 taps featuring favourites such as Voodoo Dog, Snake Bite and Mango Daze. Head brewer Jeff Schauland is the genius behind these beers, trained in Chicago and Germany. Besides being known for amazing beer, make sure to try the nachos at the brewpub, hailed as being the best in town.
Head Brewer Brett Thomas brews some of the best small-batch beers around town using the crystal clear water of the nearby Cascade Mountain Range. The family-friendly atmosphere here includes a mix of skiers and those who flock to the breathtaking village of Sunriver. Make sure to give the Chalk Rock Amber Ale a try at the brewpub, as it’s only available there. A kid’s zone provides a place for the wee ones to play while you adults enjoy wonderful food, fantastic beer, and a breathtaking setting.
This neighbourhood brewery is hailed as being one of the best in central Oregon. Despite its small stature with a simple tasting room and growler fill station, the beer makes up for its size. It is rare to find a brewery that makes excellent beers in all categories – until you find your way to Boneyard. On-tap beers change daily, but their two IPA’s (RPM IPA and Hop Venom, their double IPA) are two of the most popular taps, even for those who don’t generally drink a typical IPA. The tasting room is full of vintage and antique cans and bottles, along with some of the friendliest staff around. For now, visiting the small tasting room and getting a growler is the only way to get your hands on these amazing beers.