What’s on Tap

’Twas ol’ Ben Franklin who took a break from his kite-flying to observe that “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” And nothing makes a lager lover more ecstatic than a profound assortment of taps—preferably from exotically named brewers he’s never heard of, poured in the company of other equally obsessed suds fanatics. Cascade Lakes Monkey Face Porter? Make it two!


TOP SHELF


THE HORSE BRASS PUB
What you’re drinking: Hair of the Dog Blue Dot IPA
Having spent the lion’s share of our three-week English holidays powering down on pints of really bitter ale in a succession of pubs from Brighton to Tunbridge Wells, we can attest to the Anglo authenticity of the Horse Brass. Thick with smoke and chatter—not to mention darts enthusiasts grumbling into their (legitimate, not cheater) pint glasses—the 31-year-old rough-hewn pub delivers a hearty slap on the back to expats and soccer hooligans alike. They, in turn, cheerfully coexist with the beer snobs in the corner booth carefully considering the malty merits of their doppelbocks. The guy with the long white beard, chain-smoking and drinking at the end of the bar, is not Edgar Winter or a malnourished Santa Claus, by the way, but owner Don Younger. No autographs, please. (4534 SE Belmont St, 503-232-2202)


THE GREEN DRAGON
What you’re drinking: Read the chalkboard, dummy!
Beer dilettantes and fern-bar regulars will likely not be enchanted by the stark industrial interior, which resembles an auto-parts warehouse with a bar sprouting up from its center. But a constantly rotating cast of 19 taps ensures that there’s always a spanking new IPA from some remote artisan brewery in the hinterlands of Pennsylvania to get acquainted with. (928 SE Ninth Ave, 503-517-0660)


HIGGINS RESTAURANT & BAR
What you’re drinking: Delirium Tremens Belgian ale
The mating rituals of the herd of suit-and-tie squares here are not a pretty sight. Fortunately, a beer menu that seemingly stretches to infinity, loaded with far-flung entries like Grotten Brown Cave-Aged Ale, more than compensates for the yahoo factor and the often standing-room-only crowds at this smart but snug backroom bar that plays second fiddle to the formal bistro up front. Rumor has it that Trappist monks occasionally abandon their prayers to swing by for a sublime Higgins sirloin burger and a seasonal tap. (1239 SW Broadway, 503-222-9070)

 

HENRY’S 12TH STREET TAVERN
What you’re drinking: Hopworks Organic IPA
Why is the bar in this multileveled, shiplike behemoth full of grinning office drones at 2 p.m. on a Friday? Looks like the three-martini lunch has been replaced by the two-pint afternoon bailout. No wonder America can no longer compete in the worldwide market. But we have to admit, it’s pretty amusing to order a Sea Dog Blue Paw Wild Blueberry Wheat or some other esoteric offering and then watch the beer-tender wander among more than 100 taps, searching for the proper pull. Considering most drinkers here are still on the clock, no one seems to mind the wait. (10 NW 12th Ave, 503-227-5320)