You can gauge the maturity of a craft beer culture by the tap rooms and beer bars, and in the last few years Oregon has had dozens of them opening across the state. While the growler fill station is the latest craze, business owners have learned it’s most profitable to pour your customer a pint and offer a wide selection. Now you can find a good tap house or beer bar in nearly every city, and here are eleven of the best new beer bars to open within the last year–some have barely been open a month.
Beergarden – Eugene, Oregon
Part taproom, part beer garden, and part food cart pod, Eugene’s Beergarden is another huge successful new endeavour by the owners of the nearby Tap & Growler. New School friend and ex-Belmont Station bier cafe manager Holly Emery-Walen helps head up the knowledgeable team and great rotating taplist and bottle selection indoors. It’s already good enough to have recently been voted the 3rd best taplist in town behind The Bier Stein and the previously mentioned Tap & Growler. Out back you find a covered deck with tables, TVs, and a walk-up bar window, and another step down is a gravel lot circled by food carts with a clear covered canopy and heaters. Indoors you can choose from 42 taps and hundreds of bottles, indoor seating and another television. The food cart options are tasty–I sampled some terrific spicy Asian skewers, southern Cajun, and Mexican options. 777 W 6th Ave, Eugene, OR 97402
(541) 505-9432 www.beergardenme.com/
Gustav’s pubs and the Rheinlander German restaurant have been in Oregon for more than 50 years, but in April of 2015 the company opened a new concept called Gustav’s Bargarten outside of Salem. While Gustav’s and Rheinlander are Oregon German-style classics that have that old world feel, the new Bargarten is in concept a “Modern Bavarian Social House.” The food and drink still skews towards German, but the aesthetic and space are more modern glass and steel with a few food and drink concessions to the craft beer revolution and modern Americana gastopub fare. The menu has lots of updated takes on German dishes, like Pretzel Nachos and Bratwurst and Fondue Fritters. Even a Chicken Strip/Schnitzel hybrid is served with Sriracha aioli and cranberry compote. This ain’t your grandfather’s traditional jaegerschnitzel! The Bargarten serves brunch on the weekends, has a full liquor bar, and a happy hour food and drink menu. How about the beer? The taplist is rife with Hacker-Pschorr, Paulander, Hofbrau, and Ayinger imports, and many more. The American concessions are a regular Breakside IPA tap handle, along with Atlas Cider and Portland Cider taps. On Monday and Tuesday there’s an offer for $5 off growler fills. About the namesake–yes, there is a big outdoor beer garden that is covered and has rolling glass doors that can come down to insulate the space and keep you warm. 6045 Keizer Station Blvd. Keizer, OR 503-967-1819.
Big Eddy Taphouse – Tualatin, Oregon
Though the Grand Opening was less than a month ago on October 10th, the Big Eddy Taphouse in downtown Tualatin has already been featured in USA Today. This tap house may rank among a few other bars as the most taps in the state at 48 rotators, but the taps are not all beer; 1 cold pressed coffee, 8 sodas & ginger brew, 11 kombuchas, 4 wines, 3 meads, and 18 beer taps. So there truly is something for almost anybody. The Big Eddy Taphouse has more going for it than just the amount of taps, though; there are also about 80 bottles and cans and a full food menu. They kitchen makes pizzas in house and also offers pub grub and German fare like beer battered fries, soup, hummus plate, bratwursts and salad. You’re also still welcome to bring in outside food like ice cream, Vietnamese, or Mexican from neighboring eateries. There is room for 26 seated inside and outside seating for 8, while maintaining a family friendly atmosphere that makes it all-ages all day with board games, dominoes, and cornhole to keep kids occupied. Keep up to date with the Big Eddy on Facebook for special events and the launch of a new happy hour. 7642 SW Nyberg St. Tualatin, Oregon (503) 826-5951 http://www.bigeddytaphouse.com
Altabira City Tavern – Portland, Oregon
Rooftop city-wide views, outdoor gas fire pits, upscale pub food, and gastro cuisine and a fine and varied draft list of local favorites and a bottle selection that skews Belgian. That’s what you can expect at perhaps Portland’s fanciest beer bar, perched upon the roof of the recently remodeled and relaunched Hotel Eastlund in the Lloyd district of Portland, overlooking the convention center. Even the buns on the fantastic pub burger–one of our Top 10 in Portland–are baked in-house. Read our full review of Altabira here. 1021 NE Grand Avenue #600, Portland, OR 97232 (503) 963-3600
64 Taphouse & Growler Station – Hood River, Oregon
It’s no secret that Hood River is a great small beer city rife with great breweries like Double Mountain and pFriem, but there has not been much in the way of taprooms. Except for the Volcanic Bottleshop, it could be hard to find a wide selection of brews even in the downtown area until the new 64 Taphouse & Growler Station opened up recently, with 30 rotating taps all viewable on its website or facebook page. Among the 30 taps you will often find 3 ciders and currently even a mead to round out the other 26 taps of beer. The taproom holds 35 seated with affordable growlers to go, occasional live music on weekends, and pretzels and chips and salsa to snack on. 64 Taphouse & Growler Station is open M-TH 3:00 – 10:00 Friday & Saturday 3:00-11:00 Sunday 1:00 – 9:00. 110 3rd St. Hood River, Oregon (541) 436-4677
La Moule – Portland, Oregon
Belgian beer and local Belgian-esque beer meets upscale mussels, frites and Belgian street food at affordable prices in the new La Moule restaurant & bar in inner southeast Portland. Opened by acclaimed local chef Aaron Barnett (St. Jack) and well-known mixologist Tommy Klus (Multnomah Whiskey Library), this smallish intimate space is separated into two rooms, one with an open kitchen and the other the bar. The taplist rotates favorites from Upright Brewing and Dupont, the bottles include Rochefort and Orval and there are six different types of Mussels on the menu as well as a pub burger. Check out our full opening first look at La Moule here. 2500 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR 97202 (971) 339-2822
Bridge City Taproom – outer southeast Portland, Oregon
Outwardly, the Bridge City Taproom looks like your standard suburban sports bar, with flat screens everywhere, even a projector screen, pool tables and shuffleboard. But if the name is not a dead giveaway, then just take a look at the impressive draft list. They already had made me a big fan once I realized they had both Breakside IPA and Upright Engelberg Pils on draft, but add to that pFriem Dank IPA, Boneyard Hop Venom IIPA, Barley Browns Pallet Jack IPA, and more from Caldera, Deschutes, Alameda, Double Mountain, and others and it’s pretty astounding. Craft brew pints are typically $4.50, but the 4-7pm happy hour 7 days a week drops them to $3.50 along with an extensive HH food menu. Speaking of the food, it’s mostly American pub grub but seems to take itself very seriously with no fewer than 5 different burgers, 6 different salads, 4 gourmet hot dogs, fajitas, burritos, wraps, fish & chips, and tacos. There are even some unique appetizers like “Salmon Candy” (fresh cut bite size Cajun-seared salmon with Asian BBQ sauce). Couple that with 22 TVs, 3 projector screens, a back patio and 9am weekend brunch, and I may have a new favorite weekend sports (and beer) bar. 620 SE 122nd Ave. Portland, Oregon (971) 202-7267.
White Water Taphouse – Bend, Oregon
A new addition to downtown Bend is shaking up the local scene. With dozens of local breweries in a small city, Bend is not surprisingly based around the hometown breweries, with most bars devoting their taps to them. White Water Taphouse opened across the street from Deschutes Brewery’s original pub and has no loyalty to any one brewery, instead rotating all 30 taps and focusing on regional breweries instead of just local. The space is also hosting events like local chefs nights who come in and create special one night menus. Read our full article on White Water Taphouse here. 1043 NW Bond St, Bend, OR 97701 (541) 797-2178
Loyal Legion – Portland, Oregon
Thousands of words have already been spilled about the most significant new Portland taproom opening in the last year in Kurt Huffman’s The Loyal Legion an Oregon beer hall. Much has been made about the 99 taps of all Oregon beer and cider, plus the half dozen extra cold taps. The long narrow bar, tiny and extra sized leather booths and slightly updated vintage prohibition style of the space is welcoming and different from the other beer bars. The food menu is made up of brauts and other German fare with fries and burger options, almost all the meats from Olympia Provisions. Bar manager Herb Apon has done a good job scheduling massive brewery takeovers and special private events, but the biggest buzz has come from the bar’s “no tipping” policy. Most beers are $6 and range from 18oz to 10oz all with the tip included. Just remember to bring cash as they don’t take cards but do have ATMs. 710 SE 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97214 (503) 235-8272 loyallegionpdx.com/
Hop n’ Cork – Lake Oswego, Oregon
Recently opened in a tiny unassuming business park, Hop n’ Cork is a little bit of downtown Portland’s Pearl District in quiet Lake O. One of Hop n’ Cork’s founders spent time at Portland Brewing and The Growlerie in Progress Ridge, and brings business knowledge and a craft beer acumen to the tap list and extensive bottle selection. The bar rotates 45 taps, which include 26 beer taps, an adult root beer tap, 2 cider taps, 1 purely gluten free beer tap, a Crater Lake root beer Tap, 4 Kombucha taps, and a light and a dark nitro tap in addition to 10 wine taps and 44 wine bottle choices by the glass or bottle sales. With 75 seats and a full farm-to-table menu that keeps it simple with soups and sandwiches, live music on Saturday’s Hop n’ Cork has already become a very popular destination. Pop in and check it out for yourself, children are welcome 11am until 10pm. 17450 Lower Boones Ferry Rd. Lake Oswego, OR 97035. 503-305-5903 http://www.hopncork.com
Bit House Saloon – Portland, Oregon
Only a block away from the Loyal Legion beer hall also on this list, the Bit House Saloon has only been open 3 months but is already an acclaimed joint named by The Oregonian as the Bar of the Year. Bit House Saloon is not really a beer bar, but it is devoted to excellence in its drink program, which ranges from an extensive liquor and wine list to masterful cocktails and well chosen drafts. The beer list is elevated not by the selection but how the Bit House Saloon owners are collaborating with local brewers to make special barrel-aged versions of their beers. For example, a whiskey barrel-aged with Cherries version of Everybody’s Brewing Imperial Stout was recently on tap at the Bit House. Also props for the beer geek cred by naming a cocktail “Lady Shiva” after a little-known DC Comic Book character. Like a good restaurant, though, these drinks are seasonal, so you might miss a favorite but come back and stumble upon something new. 727 SE Grand Ave. Portland, Oregon http://bithousesaloon.com/