What’s Brewing in Portland, Oregon


Whether you’re a sour ale, natural wine or cold brew type, here’s where to sip in the city known for its libations.

Known for its bike paths, art scene, mountainous backdrop and green spaces (there is a forest within city limits), Portland is also home to a food and drink industry that’s constantly pushing the envelope.

This wouldn’t be an article about Portland without mention of the city’s many microbreweries and taprooms. With over 70 breweries and counting, there is no wonder why Portland has earned the nickname “Beervana.” The city hosts a number of festivals, including one of America’s most–loved craft beer festivals, the Oregon Brewers Festival, where thousands of beer and cider aficionados gather to sample libations from indie producers.

May 12, 2023

Great Notion Brewing, located in the Alberta Arts District, was founded by long–time friends and neighbours James Dugan, Andy Miller and Paul Reiter. Here you can find sour ales blended with Oregon fruit like pinot noir grapes, blueberries, strawberries and cherries. Freshly emptied bourbon barrels age their imperial stouts with ingredients like roasted coffee beans, vanilla beans, chocolate and maple syrup.

For German beer — all are imported from Germany — look no further than Prost!. While it’s no surprise that Prost! annually hosts an Oktoberfest, the space includes plenty of picnic tables, string lights and epicurean food carts for when hunger strikes.

Count on Culmination Brewing Co. for unconventional housemade beers, including Phaedrus IPA, with a malt profile; Sour Flower, made with strawberry, raspberry and plum; or Last Bite, which tastes like an upside–down cake, featuring notes of pineapple, cherry and vanilla.

For an intimate neighbourhood wine shop and wine bar, pop into Division Wines in the city’s southeast. With over 800 wines from the Oregon hills and beyond, knowledgeable owners Danyelle and Will Prouty will proudly pour you a glass as they poetically explain the origins, tasting notes and anecdotes of each wine. Sip by the glass or flight while enjoying small plates of charcuterie, smoked salmon dip or herbed Valencia almonds.

A glass of white wine next to its bottle from Les Caves
The sunny interior of Les Caves in Portland, Oregon
Les Caves.   Photos: Jeff Vejr

Just off Alberta Street, find the cozy 18–seat underground wine bar Les Caves. You will know you have arrived when you spot a heroic mural of a wine god gracefully snacking on grapes (from nearby Willamatte Valley). Looking to the menu, “not sweet” is commonly labelled across selections of natural wines, orange wines, biodynamic wines, organic wines, old vintage wines, local wines, low intervention wines, and wines made from uncommon grapes. Feeling explorative? Opt for the “winesmans’s pick” – an ever–rotating pour that you won’t find on the menu. No visit here is complete without an order of an ooey–gooey grilled cheese; the sweet and salty Oregonian, filled with Tillamook white cheddar and Hood River apple butter, is unforgettable.

A coffee service tray aboard the double-decker bus of Tov Coffee
Tov Coffee.   Photo: Tov Portland

For a coffee fix, head to the Hawthorne district and step inside a bright red London double–decker bus to discover Tov Coffee. The unorthodox café, with its brightly hued pillows and rugs, offers coffee just as unique as its interior: Baristas combine ingredients like espresso with rose essence, housemade mint syrup and chili sauce for surprisingly pleasant concoctions, all served in mugs imported from Turkey.

The chic interior of Proud Mary in Portant, Oregon
A Proud Mary diner taking a picture of her lunch and coffee
Proud Mary.   Photos: Proud Mary

With a roast scale moving from mild to curious and wild to deluxe, Proud Mary Coffee takes influence of Melbourne’s coffee cultural and blends it with the adventurous soul of Portland. The result is, as founding husband–and–wife duo Nolan and Shari Hirte say, “real deal outliers, the most rare and exotic coffees in the world,” all of which are roasted on–site and stand well on their own or paired with brunch. For a cold brew upgrade, order the Snap Chill, which is brewed hot to properly extract flavours, then rapidly chilled and charged with nitrogen for a velvety mouth feel.

The interior of Fly Awake Tea is decorated with wooden accents
Fly Awake Tea.   Photo: Fly Awake

Tucked into an alley off North Mississippi Avenue, Fly Awake Tea House serves Chinese teas in a peaceful, near–spiritual experience. In summer months, the sun fills the intimate space furnished with greenery, wooden stools and countertops. Choose from a selection of teas, such as the revitalizing Purple Beauty, a green tea made of purple leaves from the ancient trees of Jingmai Mountain, or the heart–opening Golden Buds of Joy, perfect for a mindful moment.

The Sapporo Lantern at the Portland Japanese Garden during the summer at dusk
Sapporo Lantern at the Portland Japanese Garden.   Photo: Roman Johnston

Said to be the “most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan” by former Japanese ambassador Nobuo Matsunaga, the Portland Japanese Garden has Umami Café, an airy space for enjoying traditional Jugetsudo Japanese tea. Floating hillside, with floor–to–ceiling windows providing views of the surrounding gardens, the café resembles the Kyoto Kiyomizu–dera Buddhist temple. Participate in wabi–cha (a traditional tea ceremony that engages all the senses) while sipping on matcha paired with local confections such as mochi and castella cake.

When You Go

Portland, Oregon


Planning to stay for the weekend? Lolo Pass is a stylish boutique hotel founded by sisters Lauren and Lee Gonzalez. The space includes a rooftop bar (with views of Mount Hood), a curated art gallery featuring local artists, café and full–service restaurant with an ever–changing wine list.

The Hawthorne Asylum food cart in Portland, Oregon
Hawthorne Asylum.   Photo: Celeste Noche, Travel Portland


Visit the food carts in the Hawthorne Asylum, the ultimate cultural melting pot, for a street food feast. Find everything from vegan Egyptian bowls, banh mi, Philly cheesesteaks and tacos.

If the mood calls for pizza, look no further than Lovely’s Fifty Fifty. The family owned restaurant uses produce exclusively from Oregon farms and tops its pies with fresh greens, foraged flowers, wild mushrooms and in–season vegetables. The pizza joint recently earned a feature on Netflix’s Chef’s Table.

A vegetarian pizza from Lovely’s Fifty Fifty
Lovely’s Fifty Fifty.   Photo: Lovely’s Fifty Fifty Pizza


Botanic kitchen Blendily is a zero–waste, women–led shop that crafts wellness products using locally foraged ingredients. Peruse a variety of scrubs, creams and oil blends made with camomile, gingko, ginger and lavender.

Wander with curiosity in the museum–like shop of Paxton Gate and find items like a life cycle of a frog inside an acrylic block, a large variety of crystals and books on medicinal plants, just to name a few natural science treasures that can be found within. With fascination for the natural world, all bizarre finds are ethically sourced and made by small artisan businesses.