Local Favorites: Portland Microbreweries

Microbreweries are the antidote to every anemic, unsatisfying generic beer you’ve ever tasted. With a focus on quality and flavor, craft beer makers keep brewing traditions alive while constantly innovating and experimenting in their quest for the perfect taste.

Portland, Oregon, is the epicenter of an American craft beer revolution, which began to take off in the 1980s.

The city has more than 50 microbreweries, many of them started by families or groups of friends who shared a love of beer, a passion for brewing, and a desire to prove that beer, when made right, can be just as sophisticated on the palate as wine.

“Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world because of our great water, close access to ingredients, and consumers who really support local products,” says Alan Sprints, brewmaster of the town’s Hair of the Dog Brewing Company.

> What to Expect:

Craft beers are usually subtle and complex. These handcrafted brews tend to have a richer flavor and higher alcohol content than their mass-market counterparts, which means they are perfect for pairing with food and nibbles (or just drinking on their own). Most brewpubs pour sample-size servings so you can try a wide range of beers, which sometimes number in the hundreds.

> Local Favorites:

The BridgePort Brewery and Brewpub based in Portland’s Pearl District crafts a wide range of beers and sells them directly to the public to enjoy on site. Start with the rich, malty Blue Heron pale ale before moving on to a seasonal beer such as Ebenezer Ale, or one of their Indian Pale Ales, such as Hop Czar, which have a hoppier, more bitter flavor.

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Upright Brewing takes inspiration from classic European beers. Try their Engelberg Pilsener: It’s the equal of anything served at a Bavarian bierhaus.

Hair of the Dog specializes in high-alcohol beers. Its 10 percent ABV “Adam” (a dark, rich brew with notes of chocolate) packs a punch.

This article appears in the National Geographic book Where the Locals Go: More Than 300 Places Around the World to Eat, Play, Shop, Celebrate, and Relax.

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