Dylan Goldberger

Though it’s removed from the action of Portland’s closer-in neighborhoods, St. Johns has a surprising number of spots for beer drinking. Our first stop, the Fixin’ To, isn’t exactly swimming in beer options—in fact, it only has four taps, but it’s included here for a few good reasons: It’s both a honky-tonk bar and a venue, with live music, karaoke, and DJs nearly every night of the week. The partially covered patio is great for both late-night revelry and solitary happy-hour reading. And the small selection of beers they do have on tap is surprisingly worthwhile; I recently tried Oblivion Brewing’s Oblivious Blonde, and though the name is annoying, the beer itself was mild and a little citrusy—perfect for summertime sippin’. The Fixin’ To, 8218 N Lombard, 3 pm–2 am daily, thefixinto.com

With 10 taps (along with cider and wine), to-go growlers, and a wall of bottles and cans of varying styles and price points, Hoplandia is ground zero for St. Johns’ largest craft-beer selection (it’s like a smaller-scale version of Belmont Station). I recently opted for Ruse Brewing’s pucker-inducing (but seriously delicious) Kriek, a pinot barrel-aged sour ale with Oregon Bing cherries, which kind of made my mouth hurt from the tanginess, but it was worth every sip. I also tried a can of Perennial Artisan Ales’ light and mellow Hopfentea, a Berliner Weisse with house-made tropical tea made from mango, papaya, hibiscus, and lemongrass. Hoplandia’s not exactly someplace I’d want to hang out—there’s no food available, though you’re allowed to bring in your own or order a pie from Pizza Nostra next door. The interior is kind of dark, save for the fluorescent glow of refrigerators, and the limited outdoor seating is right on the busy intersection of North Ivanhoe and Philadelphia. But it serves a distinct purpose in the neighborhood—just pick from its library of craft beer and imbibe elsewhere. Hoplandia, 8600 N Ivanhoe, Sun-Thurs noon-10 pm, Fri & Sat noon-midnight, hoplandiabeer.com

Located beneath the St. Johns Bridge, Occidental Brewing’s complex includes an open-air taproom and the Wursthaus restaurant across the courtyard. The taproom’s patio is super dog-friendly, to the point that I recently witnessed an older, grizzled Harrison Ford look-alike bike up, pluck his tiny dog out of its booster seat, and let it roam around the premises—the vibe is exceedingly chill. Occidental specializes in German-style beers, so you’ll find taps of Kölsch, hefeweizen, altbier, and dunkel (my favorite is the smooth, slightly bitter Kellerbier). The Wursthaus’ menu is similarly continental, with everything from Swiss fondue to spätzle to a bountiful variety of weenies. Occidental Brewing, 6635 N Baltimore #102; Wed & Thurs 4-9 pm, Fri 3-9 pm, Sat 2-9 pm, Sun noon-7 pm, occidentalbrewing.com

Surrounded by food carts of vastly different cuisines, the St. Johns Beer Porch is low-key and typically pretty busy. Helmed by Jackie McGrory (who’s got a thick Scottish brogue), the covered porch has booths, couches, and periodic live music in the sunny months—it’s a good place to go with a group, due to the ample space and breadth of options. On a recent visit, there were 11 beers available on tap from Oregon breweries like Ex Novo and pFriem (along with three ciders), and growlers to go. I’d already tried a few of the beers on offer, like Fort George’s Suicide Squeeze IPA and pFriem’s Super Saison. Although sour beers are my favorite, the name of Stickmen Brewery’s Kissed by Melons sour ale was too repulsive of a mental image (I pictured a cantaloupe with lips), so I decided to go with Clown Shoes’ Mango Kölsch, because somehow that sounded more palatable. It was not great—the mango and hoppy flavors did not blend harmoniously. But the Beer Porch’s reasonable prices and wide selection means that an unsatisfying choice can easily be redeemed by another pint. St. Johns Beer Porch, 7316 N Lombard, noon-10 pm daily


Still Thirsty?

There’s plenty more to drink in the St. Johns neighborhood, and there’s even a program called the St. Johns Ale Trail (stjohnsaletrail.com) that provides free passports for anyone daring to hit every destination on its map. These include some of the places mentioned on this page, along with:

48 North (8801 N Lombard)
Garrison Taproom (8773 N Lombard)
45th Parallel (8527 N Lombard)
Tap Haus (7538 N Lombard)
Lombard House (7337 N Lombard)
Chill N Fill (5215 N Lombard)

If you get stamped at all 10 locations, you get a free pint glass!