Beer Me 

A Beer Drinker's Guide

Most of the country is a vast beer wasteland compared to this place—I've never missed Portland more than when I paid $5 for a Heineken in Washington, DC. While you can get a Full Sail Amber or Mirror Pond in just about every dive bar in town, there are a few establishments that stand out even by P-town standards for their sheer number of taps and commitment to providing rotating seasonals, unusual imports, and hard-to-find brews.

Produce Row

204 SE Oak, 232-8355

Produce Row has garnered the reputation of being something of a middle-aged hippie bar. And maybe it is, but it's also a damn fine place to grab a meal and a pint or two. Boasting 29 taps and over 200 bottled beers, Produce Row offers McMenamin's-style pub grub and a similar casual atmosphere without being, you know, McMenamin's. Check out the specials board for $2 pints—on my visit, the special was Oregon Trail Brewing's Ginseng Porter, a dense, satisfying brew that tasted more like coffee than herbs, making it the perfect sipping pint on a cold winter's afternoon. I'll be back to try the Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout, and to work my way through the seasonals, from Great Divide's Hibernation Ale to Cascade's Defroster.

Concordia Ale House

3276 NE Killingsworth, 287-3929

The Concordia Ale House is relatively young compared to the rest of the pubs on this list, which is perhaps why the atmosphere feels a bit strained and contrived—though the walls are painted in "warm" tones, burnt umber is no substitute for lived-in and loved. That said, the service is friendly and the beer list does impress (20-odd taps and at least 100 more by the bottle). Look for the selection of strong ales and barley wines, which includes Terminal Gravity's barley wine, Scaldus Noel and Golden Carolus Noel from Belgium, and Hair of the Dog's Doggie Claws.

The Dublin Pub

6821 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale, 297-2889

The Dublin Pub sure does have a lot of taps. Like, tons. More than 50. Seasonals, imports, domestics. I didn't get to try any of them, though, because there was a band playing on the night I stopped by, and I couldn't bring myself to pay $5 to hear chubby middle-aged people playing Gin Blossoms covers (yes, I'm serious). The door guy said I could take a free look around if I didn't drink, so I walked in, checked out the huge seating area crammed with tables, the bar packed with cruising yuppies, the cozy-looking fireplace, the admittedly impressive beer selection, and walked out. The Dublin does do one thing that's wonderful: They sell kegs from any brewery that they distribute, including Caldera, Terminal Gravity, Dogfish, and so many more.

The Horse Brass

4534 SE Belmont, 232-2202

It's no coincidence that the Horse Brass is the favorite bar of those of my friends most committed to alcoholism (and where I was fatefully introduced to Hair of the Dog's Fred). Over 50 beers on draught, including cask conditioned and imports, English-style pub grub (including some of the best bread pudding in town), and darts. If you drink beer, you know about this place. You might not know, though, that as of January 4, Belmont Station (AKA the beer specialty store adjacent to the Horse Brass) will be moving down the street to 45th & Stark and opening a "bier café," where their entire, outlandishly large selection of bottled beers will be available for consumption, along with a few special taps.

Pub at the End of the Universe

4107 SE 28th, 238-9355

The Pub at the End of the Universe is a comfy, rambling little joint with funky decorations and slightly sketchy shag carpeting. Hanging out there is a lot like hanging out in your hippie uncle's rec room, if your hippie uncle had an impressive selection of taps and the ability to whip up basic pub grub. It's a little grubby, and its proximity to a certain liberal arts college means there's always the danger of being trapped into conversation with a bearded philosophy major who won't shut up about his thesis, but otherwise the Pub is a comfy, laid-back spot to grab a pint.

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