The Local: Oregon, US

Beer, it loves you too

Traditionally, the neighborhood pub has been a place to gather to socialize, have a pint after work, and maybe get some dinner. The nearest pub therefore is simply referred to as “The Local”. In this series, I’ll be giving a review of my favorite “locals” by region and my favorite brews to have there.

The US Pacific Northwest is generally known these days for three things: trees, rain, and microbrews. And in Oregon, you can pretty much drink a different microbrew each day and go for over a month before you start having to drink commercial labels.

Obviously, Oregon being my home state, I’m going be rather biased, but it also means I’ve spent some serious time finding my favorites. So, without further ado, here’s some of my favorite Oregon beers and my favorite spots to drink them.


The Brews

Deschutes Brewery – This is a natural, since it’s one of the biggest and most widely-distributed breweries in Oregon. My first regular beer after I hit drinking age was Black Butte Porter, which means I have lots of very good and very bad memories of it. Other favorites are Cascade Ale and Mirror Pond Pale Ale.

Cascade Lakes Brewery – Many an evening has been spent on my part after thrashing myself climbing with a Cascade Lakes beer in my battered hand, downing a Rooster Tail Ale or a 20″ Brown. If you go to a Cascade Lakes brewpub, the Angus MacDougals is a must.

Rogue Brewery – Another of Oregon’s most famous brewers. They have a huge catalog to sample, but it’s hard to beat their Dead Guy Ale or the Shakespeare Stout.

Ninkasi Brewing Co – Founded just 3 years ago in my hometown, Ninkasi has hit the ground running, and has quickly become a favorite anywhere it’s sold. The Quantum Pale Ale has been a regular at many occasions.

Terminal Gravity Brewing – When you know someone in the biz, you have to pimp them out a bit, and it helps when they make a damn fine product. Terminal Gravity has sponsored many a drunken night at basecamp, and makes a great IPA.


Where To Raise A Glass

McMenamins – Scattered throughout Oregon and Washington, McMenamins has made a business out of taking elegant older locations and refurbishing them into fantastic pubs, eateries, hotels, movie theaters, and concert venues, often all in one. Among my favorites include North Bank in Eugene, St Francis School in Bend, and Kennedy School and Baghdad Theater in Portland. Be warned though, go there to have a leisurely meal or pint, as their service tends to move at the speed of pitch on a pine tree.

The Bier Stein (Eugene) – If you’re in Eugene and just can’t quite decide what kind of beer you want, head to The Stein and prepare to spend a good half hour being indecisive. With over 1000 beers in stock, odds are, if you know it, they have it. They also make an outstanding turkey, gouda, and pesto sandwich.

The Thirsty Lion (Portland) – Located right in downtown Portland, The Thirsty Lion combines English pub and Oregon brewpub styles, and is one of the few places I know to get a proper scotch egg. However, if one of the local rugby clubs stops in, be prepared to make some new friends and not go anywhere for a while.

Have a favorite local beer or brewpub in Oregon? Let everyone else know, leave a comment!

2 Responses

  1. Hmm…

    I’d add:

    Roots Organic Brewing in Portland (brews my favorite stout made in Oregon)
    Belmont Station (for the Portland alternative to Beer Stein)
    The Horsebrass Pub (a much better NW style English Pub than the Thirsty Lion imho)

    • Horsebrass came to mind when doing the list, but I honestly haven’t been there in years, certainly not since the smoking ban, so I couldn’t truthfully say I knew what it was like anymore. Never been to Belmont Station though, I’ll have to check it out.

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