If you take a look at the beer map, you will notice that in SE Portland there are a lot of breweries clustered together.
View Portland Breweries in a larger map
My friend Ben and I decided to do a holiday pub crawl and check out a few of these breweries.
We started out at Commons Brewery. Commons is one of a handful of new breweries that has opened up in the last year.
Unbeknownst to us Commons turned out to be a craft brewery that makes Belgian style beers. I had mixed feelings about this because generally I am not a fan of Belgian beers. However much to my surprise the beer was quite good.
I tried the Farmhouse Ale, which was a very pleasant beer to drink. It did not have that overwhelming Belgian yeast flavor that I associate with most Belgian style beers. Commons is in a nondescript little warehouse in SE Portland that I bet most people who live in the neighborhood probably don’t even know exist. Which would be a shame because they make some pretty good beer. In fact the Portland Tribune named the Farmhouse Ale the best Portland beer of 2012. I’m not sure if I would go that far, but it is pretty darn good.
Our next stop was Base Camp Brewing.
The pub is brand spanking new and had only been open for about 7 weeks at the time we visited. For a Thursday evening the place was also packed. And in hindsight I am not sure why, because every beer I tried sucked.
There was not a single beer here that I liked and I am not that picky when it comes to beer. Ben and I both agreed that almost every beer lacked flavor. I did not know it was possible to make craft beer as bland as Base Camp’s. For your next pub crawl I suggest skipping this place. However, make sure you visit our next stop where the beer was phenomenal.
Cascade Brewing Barrel House may have some of the best beer in Portland, it was that good. They have your typical beer fare with IPAs, Porters, Ambers, etc… But their specialty is sour beer. I have never tried a sour beer and I was shocked at how much I enjoyed it. This may be because I had just tried some beers with no flavor which enhanced my appreciation for beer with flavor, but I don’t think that is the case. Cascade Brewing can really open your eyes and your palate to the wide range of possibilities with beer.
Our last stop was just across the street at the Green Dragon. The Green Dragon is not a brewery, it is a pub that has an insane amount of craft beers on tap. If you don’t feel like doing all the walking necessary for a good pub crawl, you could just come here and enjoy the 62 beers they have on tap.by