By Ezra Johnson-Greenough
For the Oregon Beer Growler
The internet was supposed to make life easier and solve humanity’s problems, so who figured it would take an online bookstore more than two decades just to get beer deliveries to your home right? When Amazon rolled out its Prime Now service in late 2014, home beer and wine deliveries were discussed, but it wasn’t until August of 2017 that the service launched in Oregon. Amazon is famous for helping kill off local and big-box book retailers, and some are now concerned they could do the same to grocery stores and bottle shops.
Prime Now is an app for your phone or device that lets you order items you’d normally find at large grocers: food, household supplies and gadgets. To use this service, you must be an Amazon Prime member, which for $99 a year is easily worth it if you do any other online shopping or video/music streaming. Products are shipped through the company’s regional partners, and based on my zip code that would be New Seasons Market, Whole Foods Market or Amazon’s local product center.
Ordering from each incurs a separate delivery fee (typically about $5) that’s waived when the purchase amount reaches a certain threshold. Amazon then adds a suggested $5 tip for the driver, which can be edited. Users choose a two-hour arrival window and it can be scheduled days in advance. If you’re in a hurry, one-hour delivery is available for a fee ranging from $4.99-7.99. Prices are comparable, if not exactly the same, as what’s in stores. Another benefit is the option to have your package left on a safe porch without signature (though you must be present with identification if purchasing alcohol).
Amazon’s Prime Now store is the only outlet in my zip code to ship beer, cider and wine (none of the hard stuff). There is a “Cold Beer” section with subcategories for “Local and Craft Beer” along with domestics, imports and specific styles. At this point, your choices are limited to the lineup you might find at your local mini-mart, but I suspect that will change — especially if there’s demand.
Under “Local and Craft Beer,” some might quibble with listings for Not Your Father’s Root Beer, Blue Moon, Elysian, 10 Barrel and Hop Valley, but that’s neither here nor there. More important to most is the local beer selection, which includes new and classic — but safe — hits from Breakside, BridgePort, Crux, Full Sail, Deschutes, Ecliptic, Fort George, Ninkasi, Oakshire, Pyramid, Rogue, Widmer and Worthy. National/international players are even more basic, like Corona, Guinness, New Belgium, Pacifico, Stella and, interestingly, Schofferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen.
I have now ordered from Amazon’s Prime Now service five times, three of them specifically for beer, finding mostly good results. The delivery often arrives on the early side of the two-hour window, and they take care to put the beer in a thin, but still temperature-holding, Mylar bag along with an ice pack. I encountered one issue with my first purchase of two bottles of Breakside’s flagship IPA in 22-ounce bottles (well-priced at $4.29 each) and a six-pack of Pelican’s Beak Breaker Double IPA. Shortly after placing the order, I was notified via email that the Pelican beer wasn’t available. The rest of the items came as usual, and there was no charge for the six-pack — though it was still listed as being available more than a week later.
Polling the hive mind known as my social media connections, I came across one other interesting snag that I tested myself. When requesting a seasonal release, you may not end up with the beer you intend. For instance, one person discovered that an order placed for Fort George’s Suicide Squeeze IPA actually resulted in the brewery’s 3-Way IPA being delivered. I attempted to replicate this by ordering Suicide Squeeze along with Breakside’s Toro Red (the site actually pictured the brewery’s What Rough Beast beer). I ended up receiving the 3-Way as well and the India Golden Ale by Breakside. The lesson: beware of accuracy when it comes to ordering seasonals. On the plus-side, it’s nice to get a refund and still keep the beer by sending in a complaint. This, however, highlights areas where online beer delivery will most likely always fall short — in selection and depth of knowledge.
“Delivery works best for replenishing staples,” says Carl Singmaster, one of the proprietors of Belmont Station in Southeast Portland. “For the consumer that prefers to drink primarily one widely available brand consistently, it makes a lot of sense. But for those who are constantly exploring and learning, I think they'll prefer to shop at bricks and mortar.”
“When customers need friendly interaction, real opinions, industry gossip or tips, that's where we come in. There's nothing virtual about it,” says Sarah Pederson, owner of North Portland’s Saraveza tavern and bottle shop.
With Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods, there’s a lot of concern that the massive company could push out mom-and-pop grocery and beer retailers. While most bottle shop owners I talked to think that Prime Now is more of a threat to big-box stores, they are still considering the possible consequences.
“We may lose some sales,” says Sean Campbell (aka John Beermonger), owner of The BeerMongers bottle shop and bar in Southeast Portland, “but I feel that is always a threat either from grocery stores or big liquor stores. Knowledgeable staff, good prices and good atmosphere should help keep the little guys in business.”
Sarah Pederson agrees, “I think Amazon grocery will affect grocery stores in the beer departments more than small bottle shops such as Saraveza. I can't imagine that all the time, effort, devotion and education we put into our selection on a weekly basis could be mimicked by a ginormous online store.”
In addition to the selection and expert customer support, Prime Now doesn’t offer details consumers want, like where their beer is coming from.
“I have so many customers who are very conscientious of what brands they purchase in regards to the ownership of the brewery,” says Sarah Pederson. “I don't know if these people refuse to shop at Walmart or on Amazon, but I'm curious to hear from them.”
The area where Amazon really could hurt small businesses is pricing. “The biggest concern is that a company of the scale and with the cash on hand of an Amazon can subsidize their service to undercut other retailers. The other concern would be if producers and distributors give them outsized allocations of limited-release beers,” comments Singmaster.
Beermonger is more concerned about the beer itself. “I know not all beer is stored properly. I see it in big stores, but also specialty stores. If people get inferior product that was stored and shipped under less-than-ideal conditions, they may blame the brewery for making bad beer. This is a problem that often comes up and I see this new delivery system increasing the likelihood of beer that is ‘off.’”
Overall, these craft-centric retailers were interested in following this new wave of beer delivery, but didn’t seem overly worried about competition. In some cases, they were even encouraging.
“I am all for consumers having as many options and choices available to them as possible,” says Singmaster. “For those that prefer to have their groceries delivered rather than visiting stores in person, there is no reason they shouldn't be able to put beer and wine into the mix.”
“Convenience sells. This move by Amazon and Whole Foods is a sign of the times, and we shouldn't be surprised by it. In fact, we should be prepared for more of it. People are very emotional, and often fearful, about big business and how it takes over. It's not necessarily a bad thing for the craft beer movement, but it sure is an interesting twist in this ever-changing industry.”
One thing is for sure, now that there are more ways to get beer delivered, Amazon won’t be the only one to get into the business. Additional specialty retailers are likely on the way. We already have draft growler beer subscription services in companies like Hopsy and bottle subscription through Tavour, among others.
By Sam Wheeler
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Is there a better setting to drink Oregon craft beer than at a live college football game? There’s certainly an argument for it, and The Terrace at Reser Stadium in Corvallis is making a pretty good case.
Built as a part of an ongoing expansion and renovation of the Valley Football Center at Oregon State University, The Terrace offers fans a taste of Oregon’s vibrant craft beer, wine and culinary scenes.
The 13,000-square-foot space is about 50 feet behind and above the north end zone, making it the optimal location to watch OSU running back Ryan Nall ripping off a 54-yard touchdown against the Ducks at the end of November. Just don’t spill that $9 IPA.
“It’s authentic Oregon,” said Zack Lassiter, deputy athletic director for external operations at OSU. “We think it’s a fun way for people to experience Oregon State football. The vibe in the space is so different than anything you’ve ever seen before, but it’s such a huge part of who we are. People are really, really digging it.”
While you can buy membership and single-game VIP tickets for The Terrace, of which there are 600 available, about 1,000 Orange Passes are handed out — for free — to each game. An Orange Pass along with a game ticket allows patrons access to The Terrace. In addition to distributing the Passes at games, they’re going to be given away in the summer leading up to the season through social media channels and at the Corvallis Farmers’ Market.
“A lot of times in sports stadiums it’s all about maximizing revenue and other pieces, but we never really try to create an experience that’s unique to our community,” Lassiter said. “We’ve really wrapped ourselves around this whole authentic Oregon story, and the craft beer scene is a huge part of that. It’s one of those things that makes this state so cool.”
Nineteen breweries and 13 vintners are registered vendors at The Terrace, Lassiter said, and the list is growing.
“You need to be based in Oregon, you need to have ties to Oregon State, and then you also have to be good, because you can’t sacrifice quality of product,” Lassiter rattled off as guidelines for interested vendors.
A few of the businesses you’ll find on tap at The Terrace include: 10 Barrel Brewing Co., BridgePort Brewing Company, Deschutes Brewing, Hop Valley Brewing Co., Rogue Ales, Widmer Brothers Brewing and Worthy Brewing Co. There are several Corvallis staples in the lineup as well: 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Block 15 Brewing Co., Flat Tail Brewing and Sky High Brewing.
“We really allow each vendor to showcase what’s great for them,” Lassiter said. “A lot of them (vendors) went to school at Oregon State, or grew up going to games, and now they’ve graduated, went on to create their own business. Now they’re getting a chance to not only enjoy an Oregon State football game, but they’re able to showcase their business.”
Tickets in the VIP section of the The Terrace include in-seat food and merchandise service and complimentary tastings during the game.
The September grand opening of The Terrace coincided with the Beavers drubbing Idaho State 37-7, and I foresee a lot of happy Beav fans dancing above the north end zone come Nov. 26. It’d be the first Civil War win for the orange men since a double-overtime 38-31 victory in 2007 at Autzen Stadium.
How sweet that sounds.
By Andi Prewitt
Of the Oregon Beer Growler
Let’s face it, Portland State football fans — our team is never going to get the attention received by those two Pac-12 schools elsewhere in Oregon. Our playing field isn’t bark dust blasted with $100 bills from Uncle Phil Knight’s money vault like the University of Oregon (even though he taught at PSU before founding Nike). You won’t find ESPN sat trucks lining the blocks around Providence Park on game day or Viking shirts hanging from the racks at most national retailers.
It takes grit and heart to passionately follow a team nobody else gets excited about. But that’s what makes a PSU fan so remarkable. We manage to carve out a sense of community in the core of a bustling city with a non-traditional student body made up of people who primarily commute to campus while holding down jobs and raising families. Finding time to support the home team, while also juggling classes, can be a challenge, yet many do. Oh — but there’s one big thing that PSU fans have during games that no other team in Oregon does: access to craft beer. In the stadium. While watching the action.
While you don’t need to leave the venue to get a great drink, the following itinerary will help you make the most of your football experience on any given Saturday, both before kickoff and after the final seconds have slipped away on the play clock.
1717 SW Park Ave., 503-219-8000, rogue.com, 11 a.m. to midnight
There aren’t many colleges with a bar in the middle of campus, but not a lot of college campuses are as woven into the fabric of a city as PSU. Rogue Hall occupies the ground level of a multi-story apartment building towering over the South Park Blocks just across from Smith Memorial Student Union. While this space used to house an Italian-style bar and a greasy spoon (complete with rotating pie rack) featuring a speakeasy-style watering hole tucked in the back, the latest incarnation finally has a collegiate feel. Warm-toned wooden floors and ceiling beams are the perfect neutral backdrop for Rogue’s usual mashup of self-promoting banners, bottles and flags. But this location also recognizes its customer base and displays an impressive array of PSU swag.
Begin your day drinking at one of the tables cozied up to the indoor fire pit. You won’t miss any of the early college games since a TV behind the bar is still within sight. If it’s a crisp fall day, head to the back patio equipped with long picnic tables and heaters. Snack on juicy Kobe Blue Balls stuffed with cheese made at the Rogue Creamery. And since you’re on campus, complete your assignment by ordering a Rogue Portland State IPA.
PSU Football Urban Tailgate
2021 SW Morrison St., three hours before kickoff
Since Portland State plays its games at Providence Park, there’s no sprawling parking lot for tailgaters to spread out and set up camp. Hop Valley Brewing Co. helped remedy the lack of open pavement last year by hosting the first PSU Football Urban Tailgate. The party proved to be a hit because they brought it back this season, now before every home game. A stretch of Southwest Morrison Street between 20th Avenue and 20th Place is taken over by fans clad in green, black and silver for three hours leading up to game time.
Inside the gates you’ll find a one-stop-shopping experience that includes a beer garden; games ranging from cornhole to a giant inflatable Quarterback Toss in the shape of a football helmet; food vendors cooking up hot dogs and hamburgers; and even a booth selling shirts, hats and scarves so that you’re appropriately decked out for the matchup. River Pig Saloon’s beermobile is on site pouring $3 Bud Light and $4 Hop Valley Citrus Mistress IPA. Entry is free, but there’s a $5 suggested donation. If you’re not listening to live music or gazing at the TVs under tents, it’s actually entertaining to watch sleepy old men nurse beers at the nearby Kingston Sports Bar & Grill. They’re surely scowling at the riffraff who’ve invaded their Saturday routine.
If you prefer a DIY tailgate, there’s a plot of land across from the stadium for people who packed coolers and grills. You’ll be able to spot the sea of blue E-Z UPs in the space just behind The Cheerful Bullpen.
1844 SW Morrison St., providenceparkpdx.com, hours vary
Yes, the beers are $9.50. But there’s beer! On a rain-blowing-sideways, Pacific-Northwest-kind-of stormy day, you can remain in the comfort of Providence Park when grabbing your next brew rather than leaving the stadium and braving the elements to obtain a refill in a neighboring building (NCAA regulations, most stadiums). Widmer Brothers Brewing Replay IPA, at 4.5% ABV, is a beer that will get you through the entire game. If you’re a Bi-Mart member, bring your card to the box office for $10 general admission. The price break will help justify spending nearly $10 for 20-ounce pours inside. And if the Viks win, Coach Bruce Barnum will buy your next brew at Kingston.
The Civic Taproom & Bottle Shop
621 SW 19th Ave., 503-477-4621, thecivictaproom.com, noon to midnight
After the game, take a short walk to the next block and soak in some of the history associated with the venue where you just watched PSU play. The Civic Taproom & Bottle Shop’s name is a nod to Civic Stadium, one of many monikers given to the site before Providence Park. The business’s high ceiling creates plenty of space on the walls for black-and-white and sepia-toned photographs that documented life in and around the neighborhood. Some images are now iconic, like the player who crashed through the Flav-R-Pac wall trying to make a catch during a baseball game. Others reveal some fun bits about the city’s past that haven’t gotten as much recognition (see if you can find the picture of actor Kurt Russell when he played for the Portland Mavericks). Order a beer from one of the 22 taps before you examine the photos. Also feel free to explore the bottled selection behind seven cooler doors.
The Cheerful Bullpen
1730 SW Taylor St., 503-222-3063, cheerfulbullpen.com, 9 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
The neon markers of big domestic beer makers like Bud, Coors and Miller may rule this realm, but craft is on tap at the divey sports bar with a sister location across the street from one of PSU’s larger dorm buildings. The Cheerful Bullpen is the place to finish your night since it’s right on the MAX line. There’s also a pool table and pinball machine in the back of the bar, which will look like a good way to lighten yourself of any pocket change after drinking all day. And if you’re still watching any late football games, you’ll appreciate the unobstructed view from booths equipped with their own TVs. Regulars will look you in the eye and size you up when you walk in, but the service is as pleasant as Wilbur the smiling tortoise who greets you on the front door.
By Anthony St. Clair
For the Oregon Beer Growler
On July 29, Eugene/Springfield’s Hop Valley Brewing announced the sale of a majority stake in the company to Tenth and Blake Beer Company, the craft and import division of MillerCoors. During the third quarter, Tenth and Blake also announced agreements with Terrapin Beer Company of Georgia and Revolver Brewing of Texas.
Customer and industry reaction has been mixed. Eugene resident Sam Rutledge first discovered Hop Valley’s Vanilla Infused Porter back in the brewery’s early days, and was struck by the daring use of vanilla. “I will still probably buy Hop Valley beer if it’s on sale, if it looks like it might be good,” says Rutledge. “But I’m hesitant because my experience with national brands is they’re risk-averse. One of the things I’ve liked with Hop Valley’s beer is they take risks. I would not be surprised to find Hop Valley make blander, less-adventurous products now that it’s owned by a national conglomerate. I will be surprised to see anything new or really surprising.”
For Hop Valley co-founder and co-owner Chuck Hare, that won’t be a concern. “They’re not going to come in here and change recipes and make the beer cheaper and different. They’re not sending someone in to run our company or approve our brews,” says Hare. “We’re doing everything we were already doing.”
Hop Valley remains a separate business unit of Tenth and Blake. Current management and ownership are still in charge, says Hare, and no employees are expected to lose jobs due to the acquisition.
Prior to the Tenth and Blake agreement, Hop Valley heard offers from other individuals and entities. “We had opportunities to walk off, never work again. But that’s not what we wanted to do,” says Hare. “We still have a considerable equity interest in this company. If we didn’t, then there wouldn’t have been a deal.”
Hop Valley was founded in 2009 as a 15-barrel brewpub in Springfield. An expansion in 2013 brought a 60-barrel, 30,000-square-foot production brewery and public taproom online and helped Hop Valley grow from 6,700 barrels in 2013 to 38,500 barrels in 2015, according to the Brewers Association, making it the 82nd-largest craft brewery in the U.S. With a solid base in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California and some markets in Vermont, Hop Valley wanted to continue expanding distribution, but that’s where the problems began.
Assuming Hop Valley’s track record and Oregon’s prominence in the national industry would help open up markets in California, Hare and the team encountered very different reactions. “The farther you get away from home, the harder it is to sell beer.”
Back home, Hop Valley’s owners did some soul-searching. “We decided we wanted to scale up and get our beer in as many hands as possible,” explains Hare, but “we really needed to find safe waters with a business partner who would help us grow, protect us and help us get into major chains.”
The talks with Tenth and Blake showed Hop Valley a way forward — and brought something unique to Tenth and Blake. “We set trends here in the Northwest,” says Hare, “and Tenth and Blake was attracted to our hop-forward beers. We’re packaging five different IPAs right now, but each one is so distinctly different.”
Hop Valley expects to have other behind-the-scenes advantages, such as decreases in packaging costs and opportunities to visit with other Tenth and Blake breweries nationwide for collaborations and training. But providing a clear route to more tap handles and shelves nationwide is the primary benefit of the acquisition. “It’s tough to find a distributor who will take you,” says Hare. “That’s a problem we’ll never have to worry about again.”
The deal deserves the benefit of the doubt, says Amanda Martin-Tully, co-host of Portland-based The Brew Happy Show podcast. “When you see a homegrown brewery sell their majority share, it shakes the community,” she explains. “It's viewed as a betrayal, and that's a little harsh. We should be applauding our small business owners for creating a great product, and celebrate their success.”
Martin-Tully advises that Hop Valley fans watch and see. “Are they caring for their employees? Are they staying true to their mission statement? Is their beer still good? If you find these to no longer be true, then of course we should voice our disapproval and leave our pints empty. But just labeling them ‘sell outs’ and boycotting their beer? I'd like to think we're better than that,” says Martin-Tully. “Besides, that's a lot of good beer going to waste for no good reason.”
For Hare, the focus is simple. “There are lots of people in the country who haven’t had a good Northwest IPA yet,” he says. “I’m excited to get that to them.”
By Oregon Beer Growler Contributors
The summer of 2015 was a brutal one. There were 28 days where the city of Portland officially hit or exceeded the 90 degree mark. That’s nearly a month of sweating probably far more than you wanted to and cursing the fact that you still live in a place without air conditioning. It’s also 16 more days than we see on average. If we’re in for another scorching summer, and perhaps on our way to becoming the new Bakersfield, Calif. if that state’s drought continues to push north, at least we can celebrate our abundance of brewery patios with shade and quality beer. While we couldn’t include all of our favorites in this guide, here are some standouts from across the state during the past year:
825 N. Cook St., Portland, 503-265-8002, eclipticbrewing.com
Ecliptic’s patio has been evolving since it opened in 2013, but from the start the space offered a view of the West Hills — made spectacular as the sun sets —and I-405 as it spans the Willamette, adding a bit of schadenfreude spice to happy hour during rush hour. The umbrella-covered picnic tables provide refuge from the sun with foliage bordering two sides, breaking up the concrete parking lot and surrounding streets. Located in what is still a largely industrial area south of bustling Mississippi, the lack of nearby dining makes it feel like you’ve found an oasis as you sip beers named for the stars while gaining an astronomy lesson from the menu.
The kitchen is known to serve up some of the best brewpub food in town with a menu that rotates in accordance with the Old World calendar. For a price break, hit happy hour where popular items like Caesar salad, the classic burger and grilled salmon sandwich are a few bucks cheaper. However, don’t look past more unusual dishes like deviled eggs topped with boquerones or skip an indulgence like an ice cream float made with the Capella Porter. KRIS MCDOWELL
Fire on the Mountain
3443 NE 57th Ave., Portland, 503-894-8973, portlandwings.com
Fire on the Mountain is undoubtedly known more for its food — the wings in particular — than its beer. The restaurant had been making East Coast-inspired wings for six years when owners decided to get into the booming brewing business, adding a third family-friendly location that houses the brewery as well as pizza ovens that churn out a cross between New York-style and Neo-Neapolitan style pies.
During warm weather, the patio — which has a mix of standard four-person tables and larger picnic tables — is a hopping place to be. Sitting beneath the overhead covering can get a bit warm during the height of summer evenings but conversely, that same covering offers shelter from rain. An impressive mosaic outdoor fireplace brightens the decor and provides a coziness when the weather is cooler. All day on Mondays, beers are just $2.50. KRIS MCDOWELL
Laurelwood Public House & Brewery
5115 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland, 503-282-0622, laurelwoodbrewpub.com
Tucked out of sight, the patio atop Laurelwood Northeast (Did you even know there was an upstairs that includes an indoor “Brewers Den?”) feels like an oasis from the bustle on the main floor of the flagship location and traffic on Northeast Sandy Boulevard. While modest in size, they’ve made the most of the rooftop with bench seating — topped with flower boxes — around the perimeter that join with the two- and four-person tables. Raspberry vines and other foliage occupy another planter, helping to give the patio more of a backyard feel.
Nearly a dozen beers pour out of the taps along with a handful of guest ciders and the extensive menu offers plenty of options to accompany one’s drink of choice. Happy hour, with discounts on beer and food, gets even happier on Thursdays when they roll out Thirsty Thursdays. Each week the brewers select one keg of beer that goes for $2 a pint from 3 p.m. until the tap runs dry in the Brewers Den. Beers purchased in that area can be taken out to the patio. KRIS MCDOWELL
Montavilla Brew Works
7805 SE Stark St., Portland, 503-954-3440, montavillabrew.com
Occupying a corner on the west end of the business-filled portion of Southeast Stark Street in the Montavilla neighborhood, Montavilla Brew Works features a modest bar area that is open to the brewery itself with an adjacent patio that greatly increases the seating. It’s an adults-only place throughout (no minors, no furry friends) with a wide assortment of house beers. From the beginning, brewer/co-owner Michael Kora has put his brewing system through its paces to offer an impressive number of beers that range from summer patio staples like Stick and Frame Blonde Ale to heartier brews like Old Fellowship Barleywine. There are only minimal snacks onsite, but customers are welcome to bring in outside food like pizza from Flying Pie across the street.
The patio is fully enclosed, providing a buffer from the car and pedestrian traffic that is especially prevalent on warm, summer afternoons. Outfitted with umbrella-topped picnic tables, a cornhole game — an ideal one-handed activity to enjoy with a beer in the other — and the bar just steps away, it’s a setting that invites one to stay for a while and relax. KRIS MCDOWELL
Stickmen Brewing Company
40 N. State St., Lake Oswego, 503-4449, stickmenbeer.com
While Oswego Lake is largely inaccessible to the general public, particularly for recreational purposes, you can still drink and dine on the edge of the water and feel like you own a piece of it from the patio at Stickmen. The brewery, which opened in 2011, has a deck that extends over what’s officially called Lakewood Bay. You can spend hours entertaining yourself with nature — watching the blue sky turn purple and red at dusk or by tossing bits of French fry to giant bass and baby ducks. On a hot day, you can also sit back and watch stand-up paddle boarders find their balance or wealthy families taking a spin in their motorized vessels. If things really get crazy, the Lake Oswego boat cops will be on patrol. While the brewery no longer serves the skewers it once advertised in its name, the kitchen focuses on classic pub fare and thankfully F-Bomb IPA remains on tap. ANDI PREWITT
832 N. Beech St., Portland, 971-703-4516, stormbreakerbrewing.com
StormBreaker’s location on the corner of North Beech Street and Mississippi Avenue is surrounded by numerous bars, restaurants and retail shops that are frequently bustling with activity, making the patio a great place for taking it all in while enjoying the beers. Since the brewpub changed hands and names (formerly Amnesia Brewing) there have been numerous upgrades — to the interior, to the food and to the outside. What was once a utilitarian patio is now a space that has a permanent covering over a portion of the picnic tables — great whether one is trying to escape the sun or the rain — as well as a two fire pits with seating. If the fire pits are too crowded, there are also hanging heaters that provide year-round warmth when the patio is enclosed with detachable sides.
The beers can be enjoyed on their own or, for whiskey fans, StormBreaker provides eight shot pairings with half-pints. The food menu has a little something for everyone, including sharable plates for groups and selections for kids. KRIS MCDOWELL
Block 15 Brewery & Tap Room
3415 SW Deschutes St., Corvallis, 541-752-BEER, block15.com/brewery-tap-room#overview-2
A short eight-minute drive from its downtown location, Block 15’s Brewery & Tap Room offers more of a scenic setting, whether you’re seated inside or outside the building. The alluring view of Mary’s Peak — the highest peak in the Oregon Coast Range — is just the beginning of the appeal of this place. When you first pull into the parking lot, the outdoor patio draws you in right away. It’s airy, reasonably shaded, and decorated with a colorful array of flowers. With a dozen or so beers on tap (including the highly sought-after Sticky Hands IPA and the seasonal Mango Song IPA) it’s hard to pick just one — so your best bet is to start off with a taster tray. Once you’ve ordered, (carefully) carry your tray of beers outside and park yourself at one of the brewery’s picnic tables that surround the new fire pit. Then sit back, relax and enjoy your variety of brews that are “brewed feet from your seat.” Too hot outside? Venture indoors and doodle your way to happiness on one of their chalkboard tables next to a window. You’ll still get to enjoy the beautiful views — but with air conditioning. ERICA TIFFANY-BROWN
140 NE Hill St., Albany, 541-928-1931, calapooiabrewing.com
This Albany brewery recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary and it’s easy to see how Calapooia has stayed successful for so long. Between the wide range of beers, daily food specials and live local music every week, there’s always something new to enjoy. On a nice day, go up to their bar and order a refreshing summertime sipper like their Raspberry Wheat or turn up the heat even more with their award-winning Chili Beer, which features Anaheim, Serrano and Jalapeno peppers. Then, take a step outside. The leafy green foliage you’ll encounter once you enter their sheltered outdoor “forest” provides a nice retreat to hide from reality for a little while. Here you’ll find kegs that have been converted into planters, picnic tables and even an old church pew, which gives the space a unique charm. There’s also a barrel with a tabletop that reads, “This table has had other lives,” and goes on to say it was part of “a successful batch or 10 of bourbon and beer making.” Proof that what’s old is new again!
If you happen to be at the brewery on the first or third Wednesday of the month, imbibe in some liquid courage and take part in one of the Open Mic Nights, whether you might be a musician, poet or comedian. If your talents lie elsewhere, at the very least be sure to raise a glass and cheer on the brave souls willing to approach the stage! ERICA TIFFANY-BROWN
2065 Madrona Ave. SE, Salem, 503-584-1789, gilgameshbrewing.com
When you first approach the restaurant adjacent to this south Salem brewery, nicknamed “The Campus,” it’s hard to imagine it as a former office building for a grass seed warehouse. As you walk through the expansive (yet cozy) building, the beautiful woodwork and grand stone fireplace are a welcome introduction to the large back patio. You’ll discover there’s a fireplace out there, too — perfect for those cool summer nights. But the real star of the show is Pringle Creek, which runs alongside the patio. It’s a delightful complement to the light breeze that runs through the trees, providing a relaxing ambiance that can only be matched by the beer in your glass.
On the third Wednesday of each month, join former OBG cover girl Mikki Trowbridge for her ever-growing Yoga + Beer on Gilgamesh’s lush lawn next to the creek. After you detox, retox with a pint of the brewery’s DJ Jazzy Hef. The floral jasmine in the beer will take you one step further into becoming one with nature. ERICA TIFFANY-BROWN
Golden Valley Brewery & Restaurant
980 NE Fourth St., McMinnville, OR, 503472-2739, goldenvalleybrewery.com
McMinnville was a finalist in a Best Main Streets of America competition featuring more than 2,000 nominations. If you’ve ever strolled along Northeast Third and Fourth Streets, it’s no surprise that these stretches of pavement made for such a strong contender. Small, independent shops, restaurants and wine tasting rooms line the route. And, of course, no proverbial Main Street would be complete without a brewery. Well, Golden Valley stepped up to fill that void more than 20 years ago. It also happens to have one of the prettiest little patios in that area. The handful of tables are cocooned by vegetation — a wisteria tree does the bulk of the work by coiling up and over a planter in the middle of the space with a trellis that reaches toward the sky. The result is a ceiling of small leaves and branches with just enough natural skylights here and there for the sun to peek through. A fountain bubbles away in one corner above a carpet of small pink flowers and emerald ferns. It feels like you’ve stumbled into a hidden Main Street garden that only former mayors and head of the Chamber of Commerce get access to. ANDI PREWITT
Grain Station Brew Works
755 NE Alpine Ave., McMinnville, 503-687-2739, grainstation.com
If McMinnville’s quaint old town core is the city’s Main Street, then the Granary District might just have become the Entertainment Hub. The blocks of land haven’t shed their rural/industrial identity — large structures covered with corrugated galvanized steel dominate the area. Some are still stamped with the names of their former occupants (like the McDaniel Fertilizer Company), even though most have been transformed into winery tasting rooms and restaurants. At the heart of it all lies Grain Station, a rustic, brown barn with a sprawling patio that butts up against the parking lot. There’s a variety of seating — umbrella-topped picnic tables and plastic chairs pulled up to oversized wooden spools. But plenty of people are just fine with standing — it makes it easier to start dancing when moved by a band playing in the wood-roofed amphitheater. By next year, Grain Station will get a softer carpet of grass in its outdoor living room and even a cover. ANDI PREWITT
McMenamins Hotel Oregon
310 NE Evans St., McMinnville, 503-472-8427, mcmenamins.com/hoteloregon/location
You might not expect that a mere five stories up would feel like the top of the world. That’s how high McMenamins Hotel Oregon rises, and its Rooftop Bar offers surprisingly expansive views of Yamhill Valley’s wine country. Black, wrought-iron tables and chairs wrap around the building before spiraling higher, creating a layered view. Swaths of beige cloth are stretched across portions of the patio for shade, crisscrossing with string lights from the center building to exterior posts. Looking out at the city below you, the trees actually seem to outnumber the buildings and the Coast Range rises gently on the horizon. Because it’s McMenamins, you’re ordering Cajun tots. And while they still have it on tap, drink an Alienator IPA. The beer’s name is a nod to the city’s famous UFO sighting in 1950, the photos of which are said to be some of the most credible to date. ANDI PREWITT
Sky High Brewing & Pub
160 NW Jackson Ave., Corvallis, 541-207-3277, skyhighbrewing.com
It would be remiss to list off some of the best brewery patios in Oregon and not include Sky High Brewing. Nestled on top of the brewery’s renovated four-story building, this rooftop oasis offers some of the best views in Corvallis. While it may only be open seasonally (an often short window for Oregon’s rain-prone climate) and from 4 p.m. to closing time, it’s well worth the wait. At the top of the four-story renovated building, you can enjoy snacks, the brewery’s full tap lineup, and a full service bar. If you’ve had a couple pints and are feeling lively, there are several cornhole stations. Or, if you’re wanting to just take a load off and enjoy the sunset, there are plenty of tables shaded with big blue umbrellas for your ultimate comfort.
On a hot day, it’s nearly impossible to say no to something cold and refreshing. Luckily for you, the brewery offers Handys — which, despite what you may think, are drinks mixed with their Handlebeer wheat ale. You can choose from The Shandy (lemonade), The Randy (Reed’s ginger beer) or The Bandy (soda water — aka Banquet Beer). The Shandy is especially thirst-quenching on a summer day. ERICA TIFFANY-BROWN
Seaside Brewing Company
851 Broadway St., Seaside, 503-717-5451, seasidebrewery.com
The 102-year-old brick building that once held this coastal city’s drunkards and other lawbreakers, is one of the highlights of visiting Seaside Brewing. Since opening in 2012, the owners have slowly, but unrelentingly, worked on renovations while leaving the character of the rustic building intact. Take a seat at the bar and you can see metal rails still covering a small window that doubles as a liquor shelf. Taps sprout from the chipped brick wall of a cell, now holding kegs serving sentences of life with the likelihood of parole once they’re dry. But the exterior has gotten a makeover to match the coziness and hard-scrabble beach city charm that defines the inside. Deck seating now exists on two levels and the ground floor space is more prominently defined by the instillation of a canopy made with reclaimed wood that looks like it’s weathered many a storm near the sea. Strands of lights arc down from the trellis of beams, \creating a soft glow that’s matched by a brick-and-glass enclosed, gas-powered fire pit. From a picnic table seat, you can watch tourists make their way to the Promenade on a street choked with families struggling to control tandem bicycles or packed cars constantly slowed by the stream of pedestrians. On one of those rare summer days when Seaside breaks the 80 degree mark, the brewery kitchen’s chipotle fish tacos are a light dining option. Sweet mango salsa complements the lightly fried crunch of the fresh cod. A citrusy Lockup IPA won’t overwhelm the fish and its name is a reminder to appreciate the fact that you weren’t paying this jail a visit a century ago. ANDI PREWITT
Pelican Pub & Brewery
33180 Cape Kiwanda Drive, Pacific City, 503-965-7007
Like many beach traditions — scouring the same tide pools for signs of life, spending too much money at your favorite outlet mall or returning to the candy shop for the saltwater taffy and caramel corn you think is best — sipping beers in front of Haystack Rock at Pelican is a ritual you’ll never grow tired of. As soon as you round the corner of Cape Kiwanda Drive in Pacific City, it’s inevitable that the wind-swept parking lot will be packed with family vans toting sand buckets and Subarus sporting surfboards on the roof. After a day in the water or running up and down the nearby giant sand dune, Pelican is right there to help you rest and refuel just as it has been for 20 years. If you can manage to wait for a table on the patch of concrete out back, watching the sun slowly descend into the shimmering Pacific is all the payoff you’ll need for your patience. Rich, hearty fare is the menu’s strength, including fish and chips breaded with Kiwanda Cream Ale and a sweet, tangy slaw that’s actually not just a plate filler; mac and cheese made with Tillamook smoked cheddar; and a bleu cheese burger featuring Doryman’s Ale pork belly confit. And if a seagull with good aim happens to poop on your shoulder while you’re on the patio (it occasionally happens), chalk it up to life on the coast and order an Umbrella IPA in the hope that it will provide a symbolic shield next time. ANDI PREWITT
THE GORGE/MOUNT HOOD
4945 Baseline Road, Parkdale, 541-352-5500, facebook.com/Solera-Brewery-155875804519628
While sitting on the back lawn of Solera, you might expect a gun-toting farmer to pop out of the trees at any moment to confront you about trespassing on his property if you hadn’t just bought a pint inside. The long, narrow patch of grass that belongs to the brewery is corralled by a rope fence that stretches toward acres of orchards. In the distance sits a dark red barn with a slightly sagging roof next to rust-colored equipment. Majestically jutting out into the sky is the North Face of Mount Hood — the best view you’ll get of the peak from any Oregon brewery. The picnic table seating is basic and unadorned, but you don’t need furniture upstaging scenery this grand. In the decades-old building that houses the 7-barrel brewery and bar, beer flows from a stained glass-style portrait of three grinning skulls. You’ll find ever-popular styles like IPA, but Solera specializes in saison/farmhouse ales. Order something you’ve never tried before the live music gets going, turning this little patch of rural Hood River County into a party that’s wilder than a square dance after a barn raising. ANDI PREWITT
Thunder Island Brewing Co.
515 SW Portage Road, Cascade Locks, 971-231-4599, thunderislandbrewing.com
This is about as close as you’ll get to the Columbia River, as it surges and churns through the Gorge, from the patio of Thunder Island Brewing. The business was named after the feature that engineers created by carving into the mainland in 1890, allowing for the construction of the Cascade Locks and canal. A skinny strip of jagged grey rock topped with grass and trees is the tip of Thunder Island that’s most visible from picnic tables lining a guard rail on the property. The owners seem to upgrade their outdoor playground nearly every year. The space that started with minimal seating now has bench-style wooden booths, a metal fire pit emblazoned with the brewery’s logo, blue-and-white umbrellas, string lights and a brand-new beer bar that will provide some line relief during busy summer weekends. The faster you can get back to your seat, the better because the setting never bores. Not only can you watch barges meander back and forth along the water, you might even spot the Sternwheeler docking next door. This is also the only brewery where you might run into a Pacific Crest Trail-through hiker since Cascade Locks is the sole city along the route in Oregon. Should you run into any shaggy, trail-dust coated people hauling small homes on their backs, buy them a pint of liquid relief. ANDI PREWITT
Elk Horn Brewery
686 E. Broadway St., Eugene, 541-505-8356, elkhornbrewery.com
The campus haven. With seating for 50 at a dozen black wrought-iron tables, the thing about Elk Horn’s patio is how quickly you forget that you are sitting at the corner of two busy streets and are a stone’s throw from the University of Oregon. Founded in 2014 by the folks behind Eugene’s popular Delacata food cart, Elk Horn seeks to bridge the gap between beer, cider and wine, while providing guests with Southern-inspired food made in a kitchen that doesn’t cut any corners. First, order some frickles (yes, fried pickles). Then, sip your pint of Ducks Blue Ribbon Kolsch, Redic Dry Cider, Velvet Antler Red Ale (or any of the 24 beers, ciders and sodas on tap — not to mention the extensive whiskey list). Start drooling thanks to a menu of shrimp and grits, catfish, and chicken and waffles. Before you order, though, cast your gaze to the blaze burning at the far end: the recently added wood-burning oven is cranking out “beerizzas,” or pizza made with a stout crust. ANTHONY ST. CLAIR
Falling Sky Pour House & Delicatessen
790 Blair Blvd., Eugene, 541-653-9167, fallingskybrewing.com
While Falling Sky’s Oak Alley brewpub has a nice outdoor area, the Pour House & Delicatessen offers a spacious covered patio with raised counter and table settings. In addition to local accolades, including “Best Bar Grub,” “Best Burger” and “Best Place to Drink in the Sun,” Falling Sky has made a mark with its ability to brew diverse beverages and present quality charcuterie, breads, pickles and more. The deli also takes the prize for having the most family-friendly patio. The covered, enclosed space forgoes a fire pit and instead has a sand pit, complete with a selection of toys. There’s no better brewery patio in Eugene for kids to play while moms and dads take a breather over a pint of Blue Balloon Belgian Pale Ale or Dual Hearted IPA. If you want a little privacy while outdoors, fear not. Off in one corner, sectioned off from the rest of the space, there’s a secret table with room for four. From latkes to beef-pastrami sliders or other pastramis made of duck, lamb and beef, be sure to arrive with an empty stomach, because you certainly won’t leave with one. ANTHONY ST. CLAIR
Hop Valley Tasting Room
990 W. First Ave., Eugene, 541-484-2337, hopvalleybrewing.com
On your way west down First Avenue, traveling away from iconic Skinner Butte, when you pass the homebrew shop, auto repair place and various industrial businesses, you might at first wonder how in the world there’s a brewery to be found in this area. But you are indeed in prime Eugene beer country, so just look for the giant hop cone. When Hop Valley named the brewery and designed a logo in honor of the Willamette Valley’s hop-growing history, the founders knew that hops must be central to everything they do. The first thing you’ll see as you approach the long, narrow patio lining the side of the building? Hop vines making their way up trellises. Be sure to pardon Hop Valley’s dust — already with seating for 175 (and room for 260 people total), Hop Valley is currently further expanding the patio. Dip inside and peek through the large windows that let you see the brewing side of things. Then relax in the soothing presence of the plants that bring such bitter joy to the 18 beers on tap, such as Citrus Mistress IPA, Double-D Blonde Ale or Light Me Up Lager. The tasting in tasting room isn’t just for the beer. Check out an Irish take on the steak nachos, a spicy smoked andouille sandwich or a Mediterranean panini for some satisfying outdoor summer eats. Coming in the evening? A large rectangular fire pit provides a prime warm-up spot. ANTHONY ST. CLAIR
McMenamins North Bank
22 Club Road, Eugene, 541-343-5622, mcmenamins.com/NorthBank
When the folks at McMenamins opened their third Eugene location in 2000, they must have had summer on their minds. After all, where better to enjoy a pub burger and a pint of Summer Berry Stout (on nitro, no less), Copper Moon Summer Pale Ale or iconic Ruby, than on a patio next to the gently flowing Willamette River? Take in the sunset or watch the traffic roll over the nearby Ferry Street Bridge. And don’t feel guilty about noshing on the elk Bolognese, ale-battered fish and chips or pork shank osso buco. North Bank is not only riverside, it also borders part of Eugene’s vast network of bike paths, so order what you want and ride it off later. ANTHONY ST. CLAIR
Ninkasi Brewing Company
272 Van Buren St., Eugene, 541-344-2739, ninkasibrewing.com
Eugene’s largest brewery also has the largest beer patio, with room for up to around 300 beer fans. Located in the heart of the Whiteaker, Ninkasi’s tasting room is a walled garden of beery delights. A dozen tables are spaced throughout to give convenient seating, but it’s still easy to wander or hold up a patch of wall. Off near one corner, a large fire pit — filled with pale green, blue and pink rocks — gives you a chance to soak up some warmth when the sun finally fades on lingering summer evenings. In case of rain, a large canopy provides cover for part of the patio, or you can duck inside the tasting room. Hungry? Food carts can usually be found either in front of the brewery or just inside the patio, and it’s okay to bring in food from the outside. Once you arrive, first stop at the bar to order up your pint of Helles Belles Lager, Total Domination IPA, or Dawn of the Red India Red Ale. This summer provides another reason to raise a glass to a brewery named for the ancient Sumerian goddess: Ninkasi turns 10 this year. ANTHONY ST. CLAIR
Oakshire Brewing Public House
207 Madison St., Eugene, 541-654-5520, oakbrew.com
Oakshire is also celebrating its first decade this year, and their Whiteaker-area Public House has become an area favorite. The reason is apparent: when it comes to enjoying a fine craft beer on an Oregon summer evening, where better than a simple picnic table on a west-facing open patio? It’s a fine way to soak up every last ray of sunlight from the days that are, alas, already getting shorter. Take your pick of 14 picnic tables. The patio has no frills, but it’s good, simple outdoor seating, perfect for enjoying a bite from a food cart along with your pint of Watershed IPA, Sun Made Cucumber Berliner Weisse or Line Dry Rye IPA. ANTHONY ST. CLAIR
495 NE Bellevue Drive, Bend, 541-639-4776, worthybrewing.com
Worthy Brewing built a massive, 26,000-square-foot brewery outside of the downtown core for a reason — the plots of land east of Pilot Butte were much larger than anything west of Highway 97. While a large portion of that land was allocated for beer production, the location was begging for a place for customers enjoy the westward view. Enter Worthy’s patio, one of the largest outdoor restaurant spaces in Bend. Worthy is one of the better places to start your night out, considering its distance from downtown and its famous wood-stone oven bedazzled in shimmering, colorful tiles. Build a drinking base with an Oregon-inspired duck and fig pizza or blackened steelhead tacos and pair those with Worthy’s award-winning Easy Day Kolsch or Farm Out Saison. If you’ve already gone through the brewery’s year-rounds, try an experimental-hop IPA or coconut lime gose from the Heart and Soul Series. A large expansion on the restaurant and patio is underway, which will provide more seating, an outdoor bar and an observatory. In the meantime, round up the kids and set them loose on Worthy’s lower lawn while you relax and watch the sun set over Pilot Butte. BRANDEN ANDERSEN
10 Barrel Brewing
1135 NW Galveston Ave., Bend, 541-678-5228, 10barrel.com
There are few places within city limits that capture the stereotypical Bend vibe as well 10 Barrel’s Pub. Located in the heart of the west side, the patio is often filled with a capacity crowd surrounding a raging fire pit or mobbing the outdoor bar. While the location draws people from all walks of life, the majority are young adults in some sort of outdoor gear as they just finished a bike ride, mountain hike or long river float. And it’s not just the ambiance that draws them in. Some of the city’s tastiest (and best-funded) brews come out of these taps, including the staples and R&D batches. For instance, the now-famous Joe IPA was a pub exclusive long before it was distributed in six-packs. Keep an eye out for anything from Tonya Cornett, 10 Barrel’s celebrated sour brewer. BRANDEN ANDERSEN
Crux Fermentation Project
50 SW Division St., Bend, 541-385-3333, cruxfermentation.com
If you spend even a few of Bend’s 300 days of sunshine on Crux’s lawn, then you’re doing it right. The largest outdoor patio in town features lawn games, a large fire pit and some of the state’s best beers. While the restaurant’s menu is limited, there are two consistent food carts, including the cult-darling El Sancho Taco, that make hearty meals that can stand up to Crux’s barrel-aged beauties and heavy IPAs. The brewery is also loved by locals and tourist alike because of the “Sundowner” special. Thirty minutes before and after the sun sinks behind the Three Sisters, drinks are discounted. And you can’t beat the sky show. BRANDEN ANDERSEN
Bend Brewing Company
1019 NW Brooks St., Bend, 541-383-1599, bendbrewingco.com
Bend Brewing has been making some of the city’s best beers for 21 years, although it’s been overshadowed by Deschutes’ largeness as well as the feisty up-and-comers. But locals have known about Bend Brewing for years. It’s where Tonya Cornett got her start before Ian Larkin seamlessly took over. Upscale pub fare and a wide array of beer styles await those who enter the unassuming house in the downtown area. The Elk Lake IPA is there for those who need a hop fix, but the seasonals should not be ignored. Look for the Black Diamond Dark Lager, which refreshes despite its rich complexity. And bring a pink-hued Ching Ching American Sour onto the back patio that overlooks the famous Mirror Pond. While Bend Brewing was a hidden gem for years, its growing fame can make it tough to find a seat on the weekend, so plan accordingly. BRANDEN ANDERSEN
GoodLife Brewing Company
70 SW Century Drive, Bend, 541-728-0749, goodlifebrewing.com
GoodLife Brewing Company is nearly synonymous with its flagship beer, Sweet As Pacific Ale. While it’s a popular brew to crush while floating on rivers and lakes across the state, you could argue that one of the best spots to consume it is on the lawn next to the brewery. That space is large enough for two bocce ball courts, two sets of cornhole boards, a fire pit, a food cart and plenty of tables — yet still has plenty of empty grass for people to lay down and soak up the sun with beer in hand. The spot is tucked away in the Century Center, so it can sometimes be easier to find a seat here than at other, more tourist-driven breweries. Besides Sweet As, GoodLife’s bread and butter is the consistency of delicious, hoppier brews like Descender IPA. BRANDEN ANDERSEN
Sunriver Brewing Company
1005 NW Galveston Ave., Bend, 541-408-9377, sunriverbrewingcompany.com
When Sunriver Brewing announced it would be taking over the space that housed the Oblivion Brewing Company Pub on Northwest Galveston, many people shook their heads, citing immense competition on the west side of town. But with Sunriver’s solid menu and beers that are quickly racking up medals in national competitions, the move turned out to be a safe bet. The addition of the patio behind the pub has been a big draw, with several outdoor tables and a barn-like structure that will help provide shelter from the cold during winter months. The brewery makes beers that are great for all seasons. The award-winning Fuzztail Hefeweizen is refreshing and bright for summer days while Cocoa Cow Chocolate Milk Stout (when available) will be a warm, liquid dessert once the temperatures drop. BRANDEN ANDERSEN
Wild Ride Brew
332 SW Fifth St., Redmond, 541-516-8544, wildridebrew.com
Redmond is Bend’s little brother that’s quickly growing up. With more affordable housing and plenty of space to grow, more people are moving to Redmond to save on rent even while working in Bend. Wild Ride arrived at the perfect time, then. A huge patio greets you as soon as you drive up along with a small food cart pod with three to five trucks. Most days, the brewery door is rolled up and you can spot Paul Bergeman running around inside creating flagships like Hopperhead IPA and Whoopty Whoop Wheat or crafting styles outside the norm such as a hibiscus golden ale or a peanut butter porter. Enjoy any of these options on the concrete patio filled with giant wooden spools that have been turned into tables or high-tops covered by wide, white umbrellas. In addition to hikers relaxing with dogs, post-trek, you may even spot a regular who likes to bring his giant lizard with him to the brewery. BRANDEN ANDERSEN
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.