Tin Bucket Growler Station and Taphouse

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The Tin Bucket, a new taphouse, bottleshop, and growler fill station, is opening on North Williams Ave today with 40 taps and 10 Pegas CrafTap fillers. Growlers have become all the rage in other parts of the country the past few years, yet Oregonians seem to have relegated them to use only for special large gatherings. With the recent opening of NW Growlers on SW Macadam, popular and trendsetting spot The Growler Guys in Bend, and now the Tin Bucket, it looks like we are going to be seeing a lot more of them.

Though I am not sure Oregonians–or more specifically, Portlanders–really want more growlers (they have their issues), there is no doubt in my mind that Tin Bucket will do well. Co-owner John Plutshack comes from Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, and so knows a bit about the business and has chosen possibly the most ideal location for Tin Bucket (though, ironically, TB cannot sell Logsdon beers because of the 3-tier system). North Williams Ave is said to be the busiest bicycle corridor in the city, and a spot to waylay and pick up beer for home after work is just too tempting.

Tin Bucket is small but packs a lot of beer into its space. The science fiction-looking glowing pods behind the bar are Pegas CrafTap fillers and are perhaps the best technology available for filling growlers. Instead of simply pouring beer straight from the tap into a vessel–letting enormous amounts of oxygen in during the process–the CrafTap purges the vessel with CO2 before filling and gives another blast at the finish to keep carbonation. These are basically the same steps brewers take when bottling their beer. Those 10 CrafTap fillers are the most I have ever seen together; actually, I had yet to see any in Oregon.

The New School and Behind The Pint produced this short video on the Pegas CrafTap at the 2012 Craft Brewers Conference and Brew Expo.

Hanging above the bar and the growler fillers are 2 flat screen TVs, but they are not for watching sports; instead, they display the very impressive 40 rotating taps at Tin Bucket. Each line goes back to the nearby cooler and has its own regulator to control the beer for a better pour.

A small slab of a tree makes up the bar top that seats about 4, along with a large picnic table in the middle of the room, a smaller standing table in the back, and a few seats in the window constitute the only seating in the space. That’s OK, though; because the emphasis is on to-go beers.

Tin Bucket is not just limited to growlers tough; it has 6 cooler doors full of very carefully selected bottles. I wish all bottleshops paid this much attention with their selections (I am thinking of you, my neighborhood Montavilla bottleshop). Tin Bucket’s choices vary from Portland faves and newbies like Breakside, Burnside, Ninkasi, and Widmer, to cans of Oakshire and Hop Valley, and even some room for Belgian, German, and other imports. In the back of the room, a selection of full size growlers (64oz) and growlettes (32oz) sits with extra caps so if you forget yours or simply break it on the sidewalk there is always a cheap new one to fill.

Tin Bucket offers no food, so customers can bring in grub from other neighboring businesses, of which there are plenty–from Pizza A-Go-Go to EAT oyster bar and Lincoln Restaurant. Although the Tin Bucket name unusually does not associate itself with beer, and the fact it’s a growler filling station is not made obvious, either, the 40 taps pouring make this a taphouse of the highest order. I can’t think of a comparable beer selection in NE Portland. At the end of the year we may even see the Tin Bucket making those year end lists of the best taphouses and vying for a spot on Beer Advocate and Draft Magazine’s best taphouses in the country.

Tin Bucket can be found on Facebook at:

Opening hours are Noon – 10pm on Sunday through Thursday and Noon – 11pm Friday and Saturday

Tin Bucket
3520 N. Williams
Portland, OR
(503) 477-7689

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: [email protected]


  1. Doug S.

    May 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Any idea when The Growler Guys on SE 33rd and Hawthorne is slated to open?

    • Samurai Artist

      May 14, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      on a recent check no work had yet begun on The Growler Guys location, but stay tuned for an update on that and a number of other growler stations, bottleshops and taphouses opening soon

  2. Anonymous

    May 14, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    What’s the pricing like on growler fills?

    • TMQPDX

      May 15, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      I got Block 15 cuvee rouge and it was $13 for a 32oz and $24 for a 64oz. Many brews were cheaper but I couldn’t pass up the Block 15.

  3. Dave

    May 15, 2013 at 3:00 am

    Growlers back in the day were supposedly galvanized metal pails, so that’s where I’m guessing the name Tin Bucket comes from.

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