beer tugboat

Tiny-but-cozy Tugboat Brewing Co.

Mighty Mite:
Tugboat Brewing Co

711 SW Ankeny St; 503-226-2508
Family-owned since 1992, the tiny Tugboat, which produces only a miniscule 120 gallons at a time, resembles your funky uncle’s study with a DIY bar in the back. Head brewer Terry Nelson doesn’t market his half-dozen beers any further than the Tug’s snug walls. But make no mistake—this is one vessel worth signing aboard. Unfiltered and aggressively hoppy, offerings like the brawny doppelbock and the mega-potent Chernobyl Stout (13 percent ABV!) might grow you a third arm. And if you’re just getting your sea legs, try the golden ale, whose crisp, unpolished bite will have you charting a speedy return voyage. —John Chandler

Also try: The Mash Tun Brewpub

Best Brewery Tour: Portland Brewbus

503-647-0021; brewbus.com
Launched in 1996 by beer enthusiast and avid city historian Jim Long, this Tour de Brews loads passengers up to visit as many as four area breweries every Saturday. With stops ranging from full-scale operations like Full Sail Brewery in Hood River to more intimate environs like Hair of the Dog, you’ll get sips galore and score yourself a diploma from Long’s own “College of Brew Knowledge”—not to mention a designated driver. —Rachel Ritchie

Also try: Widmer Brothers

 

beer upright brewing

Alex Ganum

Best Newcomer: Upright Brewing

240 N Broadway, Suite 2; 503-735-5337; uprightbrewing.com
Upright’s only been open since last summer, but brewmaster Alex Ganum is making considerable headway against the hoppy hegemony so prevalent in Portland with his Euro-inspired “farmhouse” ales. They are uniformly hearty, yeasty, and laced with exotic fruit-and-spice flavors. Beer geeks with adventurous palates have been flocking to Upright’s tasting room on the weekends bearing growlers, jars, buckets, and anything else that will hold a sample. —JC

Also try: Hair of the Dog’s new taproom