2015 New Portland-area Breweries in Review and a Preview of 2016

Last August of 2015 we reported on A Dozen More New Breweries Scheduled to Open in Portland this Year and there were both already a few new openings and some in the works we missed. The new brewery boom has not slowed down, but we are seeing more in the suburbs and even a few that have failed, like Brannon’s Brewery in Beaverton, Fire Cirkl in White City, OR, Laht Neppur’s short lived Oregon brewery, and The Mash Tun in NE Portland. With 2015 wrapping up, we thought we would check in with the new Portland-area breweries that opened in 2015 and the many that have been delayed to 2016.

2015’s New Portland-area Breweries

Back Pedal Brewing kegs

BackPedal Brewing

One of Portland’s strangest breweries is next door to 10 Barrel Brewing PDX and in the back of a bicycle pub crawl tour company. In November 2013 the owners of Brewcycle Pedal Tours decided to put a taproom and kitchen into the building they store and launch their group pedal pub tours from. That did not do so well, so they pulled out the kitchen and put in a 4 barrel brewhouse from Portland Kettle Works and called it BackPedal Brewing. In the beginning a guy from Bridgeport Brewing was putting in some reps in the brewhouse. The brewery is now just getting rolling  under owner Chris Lins and new brewer Greg Passmore, a homebrewing friend of his.

So far some of the new beers under Greg are Wildwood Witch (a brown IPA) , a Blood Orange Blonde, and Cruiser (a cream ale), and coming soon are a Session IPA and an English IPA. The guys want to focus on sessionable beers, including lagers. In 2016 the brewery plans to self distribute more and will be trying out new styles and micro malts from Mecca Grade Malt out of Madras, Oregon.

coin toss logo color

Coin Toss Brewing

These guys released their first beers last Spring at the Spring Beer and Wine Festival but have only recently began trying to brew on their own system. The original brews were made at the Lucky Lab Brewpub and not at the brewery’s Oregon City location. Owner/brewer Tim Hohl reports his crew is now brewing on its own 10bbl brewhouse as of this month. Look for semi-rare appearances of Coin Toss Brewing’s flagship beer, Black Hohl CDA, and more beers around town with, Coin Toss’s tasting room to open in January. 14214 Fir St, Ste H Oregon City, Oregon http://www.cointossbrewing.com/

Culmination Brewing logo

Culmination Brewing

Recently declared the Best New Oregon Brewery of 2015 by The New School’s beer pro and expert voting, Culmination Brewing is now rolling after 3 years of delays. Owner Tomas Sluiter is creative, experimental and generous by lending his hand to make everything from sake to vinegar and even other people’s brews. Ruse Brewing is now producing farmhouse ales and hoppy beers out of Culmination’s facility, with its own tanks in place. Culmination beers are all over the board, from saisons and brett beers to more NW styles like CDAs. The tasting room is getting busy and a small kitchen puts out BBQ. Culmination Brewing just released its first beers in bottles through General Distributors. Look for more bottles, sake, and barrel-aged beers and wild ales in 2016. 2117 NE Oregon St, Portland, OR 97232 (971) 258-2808  http://culminationbrewing.com

Bent Shovel Brewing

Bent Shovel

A new brewery we reported on in November also in Oregon City is brewing out of a barn among rural farms alongside the Clackamas River in the Portland suburbs. Co-owner Rick Strauss is making his own ales on a 5bbl brewhouse in a very cool setting with weekend tasting room hours. He is part of a quickly growing beer scene in the OC and worth checking out, at least for the location. 21678 S Latourette Road, Oregon City

Drinking Horse Brewing banner logo

Drinking Horse Brewing

We first wrote about this new brewery in Clackamas in December 2014. It is now open, churning out beers on a 7bbl system and operating a small off-the-radar tasting room off Highway 212. This group of friends and entrepreneurs have hit the ground running, though, and have gotten beers out to a number of bars and restaurants. The brewery’s first beers include an IPA, saison, kolsch, CDA and a new Chocolate Stout. You will be seeing a full writeup on what Drinking Horse is up to very soon. 11517 SE Highway 212 Clackamas, Oregon (503) 564-8165 http://www.drinkinghorsebeer.com 

The taps behind the bar at The Labrewatory

The taps behind the bar at The Labrewatory

The Labrewatory

We have now covered The Labrewatory twice since our story last August. The new brewery opened its doors for business in October and finally began producing its own beers and crazy concoctions. The slick tasting room and experimental beer space is full of brushed and polished steel, tile, and salvaged wood, and is a project of Portland Kettle Works. Good to see these guys managed to get open just before the year is finished, after planning to open last summer. 664 N Russell St Portland, Oregon (503) 236-4500 http://thelabrewatory.com/

Leikam Brewing

Leikam Brewing

One of the more buzzed-about but tiny openings of 2015 was Oregon’s first certified Kosher Jewish brewery in Leikam Brewing. This brewery was built behind the owners’ family home in a separate building constructed from the ground-up to hold a slightly larger than nano 5 barrel brewhouse. Because it’s a residential area, there are no tasting room hours, but the Community Supported Brewery (CSB) program allows its members to come once a month to fill their growler.

Co-founder and co-owner Sonia Marie-Leikam, one half of the married couple behind Leikam, says “the last 6 months have been a ride! Getting accounts, getting to know our system and figuring out the best way for us to bottle has been what we have been focused on in 2015.” Her husband Theo will be leaving his day job in February to take the reins on the brewery full time, so we should be seeing more of Leikam’s beers on tap and even bottles. http://leikambrewing.com


Montavilla Brew Works

Montavilla Brew Works

After over a year in delays, Montavilla Brew Works opened on SE Stark in Portland in a refurbished auto repair building. The build-out is beautiful, the space intimate but comfortable, including an outdoor patio that will become well-used in warmer weather. Michael Kora’s MBW opened mid summer and got a couple months of nice weather for their patio, with solid word-of-mouth and beers that are just getting better, the brewery has earned a regular crowd at the tasting room. The spot was just voted by our expert critics the Runner-Up for Best New Oregon Brewery of 2015. 7805 SE Stark St Portland, Oregon (503) 954-3440 http://www.montavillabrew.com/

Splash Bar Brewing

Splash Brewing

The oddest new brewery opening of 2015 was without a doubt Splash Bar and Brewing, a nightclub in downtown Portland that specializes in a Hawaiian theme. With the opening of its own brewery inside the nightclub, the brewery has skewed towards a New Zealand theme, since the company and brewer installed the brewhouse is from there and owner Chris Lenahan is a big fan. The crew is brewing on basically fully automated system that just requires the operator to inject malt extract and add the spicing. This enables the beers to be priced at only $2 a pint, and they are not undrinkable. 904 NW Couch St. Portland, OR 97209 (503)893-5551 http://www.splashbarpdx.com/

Rosenstadt Brewery logo


This little brewery is now successfully putting out beers in the German-style vein since October. It began releasing beers not long after our initial article, beginning with a Kolsch and now a German-style pale ale and soon an Altbier. The two man operation is actually brewing at Max’s Fanno Creek brewpub in Tigard, but with its own recipes, kegs, etc. Co-owner Nick Greiner said, “Since September, we have quadrupled our cooperage, and are currently being served at over thirty locations around Portland.” The 2 guys behind Rosenstadt are investing more time to R & D’ing a weizen and Helles, and even discussing a real brick and mortar taproom of their own. So far the beers have been very solid, and I have seen them popping up at a lot of taprooms across town. Will be fun to see what happens in the future!  http://www.rosenstadtbrewery.com/

10 Barrel Brewing Portland exterior

10 Barrel Brewing – Portland

When Bend’s 10 Barrel Brewing announced it was going to open a Portland brewpub in 2014, the expectations could not have been higher. Then it was announced that Whitney Burnside would be the head brewer and things got even more exciting. And later still, as the place grew closer to finishing construction, 10 Barrel Brewing sold out to Anheuser-Busch Inbev. Suddenly the excitement and goodwill crumbled.

However, Whitney’s great work at the brewpub developing the flagship Pearl IPA and phenomenal one-offs like a Blueberry Lemon Gose have earned her raves, and even haters are wanting to try her beer. The crowd in NW Portland and the Pearl District certainly don’t mind, either, as the pub is packed most of the time. “It’s hard to believe that exactly one year ago today I was working feverishly to get everything ordered and put in place to get my system fully operational,” said Head Brewer Whitney Burnside, who continued, “in 2016 we’re releasing the new Brew Pub Series and opening the long-anticipated roof top deck in the Pearl. I hope to see more of my fellow brewers in the industry in the pub next year. Happy Brew Year!”

Zoiglhaus exterior of building


I am not sure if we can officially declare Zoiglhaus open and brewing before the end of 2015. Yes, the pub and large restaurant are now open and the business has even already celebrated its grand opening, but the brewery is not actually making beer yet. Due to circumstances out of owner/brewer Alan Taylor’s control, the brewhouse was delayed and still has not been delivered yet. Still, Alan and his team are putting out some great beers from the company’s other place, Pints Brewing in Old Town Portland, and I am digging the German-style fare at the brewpub in the Lents neighborhood, which really needed a boost. Looking forward to trying the beers from the house system, hopefully in just a few more months.

2016’s upcoming Portland-area Breweries

Ancestry Brewing anchor logo

Ancestry Brewing

This ambitious startup was first reported by The New School in August of 2015 and the Tualatin-based brewer is now very close to releasing its first beers. The company will operate a production brewery and tasting room out of Tualatin, but is also planning a taproom in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland and perhaps even a 3rd location. The brewery is up and running now but has yet to release any beers to the public. I suspect we will be hearing a lot more from Ancestry shortly. 20585 SW 115th Ave, Tualatin, OR 97062 http://www.ancestrybrewing.com

New Breakside Brewery brewpub NW Portland

Breakside Brewery Northwest

A 3rd Breakside Brewery location will be opening with a full restaurant, patio and 10 bbl brewery in NW Portland hopefully by Summer 2016. Go here for the full story.

Brewed by Gnomes banner

Brewed by Gnomes

This garden, herb, spiced, organic, gruit-inspired brewery was for a time planning to be right by Apex and The Beermongers on SE Division in Portland. Since then owner/brewer Shay Hosseinion has decided to pull back, reassess, and open a smaller, less ambitious operation to start off. He is beginning to plan for gypsy brewing operations, brewing beers on guest systems until he is ready to open his own place. Shay is pretty secretive in this regard, referring to the brewery he will be using as the “secret gnome brewing facility.” My bet is on Lucky Lab or Pints Brewing, the only breweries that seem to have space and bother with small contract brewing. Look forward to trying Brewed by Gnomes’ first beers in 2016. http://www.brewedbygnomes.com

Wayfinder Beer TBA Charlie Devereux Brewery

*Updated 1/13/2016 Wayfinder Beer is an ambitious new brewery project from Charlie Devereux (co-founder of Double Mountain Brewery) with partners from Sizzle Pie and Podnah’s Pit. Read the full story on Wayfinder Beer here.

I know more than I can say about this project, which I predict will make the biggest splash of any on this list. It is much delayed, but I keep hearing the announcement is imminent. I can say it’s a brewpub that will feature a way above average restaurant menu developed by a top name chef, a full liquor bar, and house brews from a well-respected Washington brewer. Hoping to have the full scoop on this one soon, and while it definitely will not be open or brewing before the end of the year, I expect to see it open with beer available in February or March.

Great Notion Brewing logo

Great Notion Brewing

Already well covered on The New School, the new Great Notion Brewing is technically open now in the old The Mash Tun space on NE Alberta. However, the brewery does not have its own beer available yet, so I won’t count it for 2015. When the house beers begin to roll out over the next few months, they will be hoppy, bold, wild, and often times use special ingredients like fruit and maple syrup. I am pretty stoked about this operation. Mark your calendars for January 21st, the official soft opening party, and there should be some house beers by then. 2204 NE Alberta St, # 101 Portland, Oregon (503) 548-4491 http://www.greatnotionpdx.com/

Grixsen Brewing crest avatar logo Grixsen Brewing banner logo

Grixsen Brewing (formerly One Nation Brewing)

This much-delayed and troubled project came under light fire early on for the similarity in naming to Portland’s other Natian Brewing. Now the business has changed its name and is finally operational. The brewery tapped its first beers at Caps n’ Taps in Camas, Washington, a few weeks ago, but I haven’t seen any of them released elsewhere to the public, and the tasting room is not yet open. Checking in with owner Scott Petersen, he says, “I’m thinking the first part of the year we will hit some self distribution as well as hooking up with one of the local distributors. ” He estimates the tasting room will open in February. 1001 SE Division St, #1 Portland, Oregon http://www.grixsen.com

Mt. Tabor Brewing's new Portland tasting room under construction

Mt. Tabor Brewing’s new Portland tasting room under construction

Mt. Tabor Brewing

The story of Mt. Tabor Brewing has been a strange one. It originally opened as a 2 man nano brewing team in Montavilla neighborhood of Portland. Local bar Vintage Cocktail Lounge was used as a taproom, and the beers started popping up at beer bars across town. Then the owners split up and Eric Surface took control, moved the brewery to Vancouver, and scaled up the brewhouse and tasting room. The brewery has been operating out of Vancouver since October 2011. For the last year Eric Surface has been building out a new warehouse he took control of in SE Portland just blocks from Burnside Brewing and Base Camp Brewing that will house a new full size production brewery and tasting room, bringing Mt. Tabor Brewing back to Portland. http://www.mttaborbrewing.com/

Ross Island Brewing logo

Ross Island Brewing

This is another one of my most anticipated new breweries that was originally hoping to open before the end of 2015. Ross Island Brewing is a small production brewery and tasting room opened by Carston Haney, former Brewmaster at Alameda Brewing, where he created great beers like Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA. “A wise man once said, ‘all good things in all good time,’ and that is where Ross Island Brewing is at,” said Carston when reached for comment on how the brewery was coming along. Ross Island Brewing and tasting room is opening right by its namesake bridge and within a block of a strip club and a marijuana dispensary, so it’s Portland as fuck. Carston recently picked up the old 7bbl brewhouse from Golden Valley in McMinnville and has been building out the space himself. “Looking forward to brewing some great beer again, it’s been the longest time in 8 years I haven’t brewed…” says Carston Haney (Owner/Brewer). We are all all looking forward to balanced English/Northwest style ales and clean European lagers in the near future. Tasting room will be open with beer and snacks, displaying interesting artifacts of all sorts. Hope to see you soon!” continued Carston. 730 SE Powell Blvd. Portland, Oregon https://www.facebook.com/RossIslandBrewingCo/

Indio Spirits/Splash Brewery

This supposed planned brewery would be a production space for Indio Spirits to make its own beer and whiskey washes and the new downtown Splash Brewery to do larger batches with more flexibility. It’s said to be on the east side with large tasting room and beer garden setup so food carts can park around it. The location has not been revealed, but it was supposed to be announced a while back and when I checked in with Splash Bar and Brewery’s Chris Lenahan, he said he had been so busy with Splash that he had not been in contact with the Indio Spirits guys “for a while.” So who knows what’s going on here.

Ruse logo

Ruse Brewing

Shaun Kalis is brewing at Culmination Brewing putting out his own line of IPAs, saisons, and mixed culture wild fermentation and funky barrel-aged beers. The first batches have rolled out and been tapped at Culmination and fellow-new startup Great Notion Brewing. Look for a lot more beers and bottles from Ruse in 2016. We will have much more coverage of the place soon. http://www.rusebrewing.com

TBA Dan Peterson Brewery

From pFriem Family Brewers former Head Brewer this is supposed to be a production brewery formed by some restauranteur magnates. Little else is known about this startup.

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

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: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com


  • Warren
    Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:32 PM

    Excellent update Ezra, thanks! Any update on Wolves & People?

    • Lisa
      Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:45 PM

      I know that Wolves and People brewed their first batch at the beginning of last week. They had a bunch of delays getting their licensing which is why it has taken so long. I’m not sure when the first beers will be ready, but they are trying to get stuff out there as soon as possible without rushing anything.

      • Warren
        Wed Dec 30, 2015 8:05 PM

        Cool! Thanks for the update Lisa 🙂

      • DonS
        Wed Dec 30, 2015 8:40 PM

        W&P has received its brewing permits and all and first brews are being readied. If all goes according to plan, W&P beers will be featured at an Oregon Truffle Festival dinner on 23 January at the Barlow Room in Dayton. More news will certainly be forthcoming!

      • Jeff Alworth
        Jeff Alworth
        Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:16 PM


        • Dylan VanDetta
          Dylan VanDetta
          Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:43 PM

          Great article! Thanks for keeping us up to date! I was wondering if you’ve heard anything from Short Snout or when the new Double Mountain is opening in Woodstock?

          • Samurai Artist
            Samurai Artist
            Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:01 PM

            Last I heard Short Snout was going to start brewing again but clearly he has not. I think its too early to know about Double Mountain.

          • Stuart Ellis
            Stuart Ellis
            Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:26 PM

            You forgot “the most anticipated brewery of 2015”: Wolves & People – who are still not open…

            • Samurai Artist
              Samurai Artist
              Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:00 PM

              Wolves & People is NOT a Portland-area brewery. But as Lisa Allen noted they are now brewing and as Don noted, their beer will be at the Truffle Festival. I dont think we will be seeing a release party for them until early February though from my talks with Christian.