The Pacific Wonderland of Beer

Not only is the Pacific Northwest known for its evergreen forests and abundant waterfalls but also delectable beer! Kate Ackerman explores the Greater Portland area of Oregon and the breweries which stand out.


The Pacific Northwest has long been known for its seemingly endless supply of breweries and delicious beers, and the greater Portland area is no exception. However, some breweries shine brighter than others in terms of craft, creativity, and accessibility. There are several particular names that are familiar not only among the natives but across the country.


One of the oldest microbreweries in the state, BridgePort’s history dates back to 1984 when several Portland natives came together after noticing the lack of variety and pizazz in mass-manufactured beer. Their mission? To handcraft creative, original brews in a sustainable fashion. Using fresh water straight from Mt. Hood with a vast array of malts and hops, it was to no one’s surprise that BridgePort became one of the nation’s leading craft beer producers. Despite its success, however, the brewery sticks with the tried and true—producing only ten different beers to fill their year-round, seasonal, and limited release lineups. The limited variety has not impeded on BridgePort’s popularity, though. Neither longtime lovers nor first-time tasters can deny that the company’s creations (especially their BridgePort IPA) are on par with the best.


A mere 150 miles south of the great city of Portland, tucked in the Cascade mountain range, Deschutes Brewery is the home of a long line of award-winning beers, including the famous Black Butte Porter, the Mirror Pond Pale Ale, and the Inversion IPA. Founded in 1988 and named after the Deschutes River, near which the original location stood, the brewery spent its first years catering to the needs of local businesses and beer enthusiasts. However, as more people fell in love with their creative brews, demand began to skyrocket and expansion was inevitable. Today, the Deschutes label can be found throughout the western half of the United States (as far east as Pennsylvania) and in parts of Canada. Despite their growing success, Deschutes remains loyal to the craft, claiming that they thrive off of “brewing a lineup of high-risk, high-reward beers” and “up[ping] the ante with bold, small batch experimentals like The Abyss, Hop Trip and The Dissident.” And up the ante they do; every sip, be it straight from the tap or right out of the bottle, makes it apparent why Deschutes Brewery is one of the nation’s leading brewers.


Picture a small coastal town in Oregon, circa 1989. Now cue the entrance of a fresh and moderately edgy brewing company. This is the origin of Rogue Ales. Freshly relocated from Ashland and barely a year old, the brewery and its founders dug their roots into the tiny town of Newport. With an emphasis on community involvement, a reliance on local growers, and a healthy dose of rebellion, the crafters were determined to take the world (or at least the PNW) by storm. And so they did. A few decades after its beginning, the once-quaint operation is thriving; with brewpubs in cities scattered throughout Washington, Oregon, and California, Rogue Ales is not only winning their revolution against generic, corporate beer, but they are expanding their reach into the realms of distilleries and farming. To this day, their focus lies in crafting high-quality and original beer, in using locally-grown ingredients, and in growing the revolution. And really, with names like Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale and New Crustacean Barleywineish Imperial IPA Sorta, how could they be anything but exciting?

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

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