Don's Top Picks

Don lives in Portland and write extensively about beer in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. You can follow him on twitter as @pdxbeerguide or read his twitter feed below

Note that we regularly update what constitutes a top pick so places can be relegated from the list if their beer range dips or there are other significant changes.


Originally a small beer specialty shop located on SE Belmont St very near the Horse Brass, Belmont Station moved and expanded to the current SE Stark location several years ago, increasing the selection and adding a beer café. Widely considered to be one of the best of its kind in Portland.


The pub that brought Portland's emergence in the sour-beer world into sharp focus. Fans of sour beer - particularly beers inspired by Belgium's Flanders reds and browns - should consider this a must-visit.


COVID-19 update: taproom closed, off-premise sales only. Current plans call for careful re-opening as vaccinations proceed.

More than two and a half decades in, Hair of the Dog's beers have gained recognition far beyond Portland, but production remains deliberately small-scale, and the brewery's own tasting room is the best place to find and enjoy the exceptional range of house beers on offer. Food is good, too.


This is the OG pub of the Portland beer scene, a British-style pub that transcends mere imitation with a wider selection on tap than you'll find in any pub in the UK, and a huge proportion of what's on tap is Oregon brewed. The Horse Brass is an institution, and a mandatory stop on any Portland beer itinerary.


Pub and bottle shop, well-stocked selection and well-chosen drafts.

COVID-19 restrictions mean outdoor tables only, masks worn while ordering at the bar or choosing beers from the coolers. For the time being, service is pay-as-you-go.


Wayfinder Beer A Don top pick  Full menu available. WiFi available Brewpub. New entry in the Guide in 2016 Specializes in German Beer and German Styles

COVID-19 Update: limited opening days and hours, and outdoor operation only on deck and streetside "parklet." Reduced menu, but plenty of good beer.

The buzz building up in anticipation of Wayfinder's opening built up to a roar in Portland, right up to its opening day on October 1, 2016. The buzz hasn't subsided. The brewery is focused on lagers, with equipment available to do decoction mashing. The menu is all about good pub food. The expansive outdoor deck is a must on a fine day. Put this one on your short list of must-visit Portland brewpubs.

2017 Update: in June 2017, Wayfinder's house brewed beers made their debut. Brewer Kevin Davey is turning out the kinds of beers that will quickly develop an avid following.


Honorable Mention

APEX  Don Honorable Mention WiFi available

Cash-only bar with generous beer patio. Like San Francisco's Toronado, this is something of a love-it-or-hate-it place, but the beer selection is usually first-rate. No kitchen, but take-out from neighboring Gordito's or occasional food trucks parked in front is always acceptable. Just don't climb over the fence!


Former location of Lompoc Brewing's Hedge House, now pouring some of the region's best farmhouse-style and mixed-fermentation beers. Do not miss this one.


As of January 2019, Portland's newest brewery and taproom for at least a few weeks. Just a few years ago, there were no breweries in this part of Portland; now there are two, with Montavilla Brewing just around the corner. Threshold features a roomy, open taproom space, including seats at the bar. Early days have seen three beers on tap: a grisette, a hazy IPA, and a hazy double IPA. Bring your own food. This part of Montavilla now has four decent beer venues, making for a good pub crawl.


Tulip Shop Tavern  Don Honorable Mention Full menu available. WiFi available New entry in the Guide in 2019 Has an unusual or regional beer on tap.

Revamped former dive bar, now with a modest but very good tap selection, canned beers, classic cocktails, and good pub food.


Don's Twitter Feed