Oregon banner


The Beaver State

The brewing history of Oregon begins back in 1852 with Liberty Brewing. Liberty Brewing was the first of many Oregon breweries to come, opened by German man Henry Saxer in Portland.

The German trend stuck around when shortly after Saxer got his start, another young German immigrant, Henry Weinhard entered the scene. These two agreed that the brewing scene in Oregon, but more specifically Portland, was the perfect combination of fresh ingredients and thirsty workers, which aided in their successes.

Weinhard became so successful, so quickly that he ended up overtaking Saxer, buying Liberty Brewing, and re-branding it as City Brewing. City Brewing took off, producing 40,000 barrels of Oregon beer each year as of 1875. With this new brewery, Weinhard also began exporting his beer to Asia.

In the 1960s and 1970s, large brewing companies began taking over, which resulted in the lowest amount of breweries in Oregon’s brewing history. However things started looking up for the smaller craft brewers by the end of the 1970s and start of the 80s, with the opening of the multi-tap Produce Row Café, and the first microbrewery, Cartwright Brewing.

In 1984, things really began taking off for Oregon craft beer, with the opening of what is now the oldest Oregon craft brewery that is still standing, BridgePort Brewing. Prior to being given the BridgePort Brewing name, the Oregon craft brewery was named Columbia River Brewing. Also in 1984, Widmer Brother’ Brewing was founded. This brewery became known for their American twist on the traditional version of a German Hefeweizen.

In 1985, beer sales on the property of which the beer is brewed became legal with the creation of the 1985 Brewpub Bill. The McMenamin brothers, who previously ran the Produce Row Café, were the ones to open the first brewpub, which they named Hillsdale Brewery and Pub. Today, they operate over 50 brewpubs, breweries, and more, 46 of which are in Oregon. On top of starting the first brewpub in 1985, they were also the first in the United States to brew ale with fruit, which had become legal that year!

Let’s take a second to talk about Portland, Oregon beer.

There are around 80 breweries in Portland, Oregon, which is more than any other town and more than some entire states! These statistics make the city of Portland quite the beer capital. In addition, the craft beers in Portland, Oregon alone have earned well over 100 GABF (Great American Beer Festival) awards since 1987.

Portland isn’t the only Oregon city to generate a lot of beer hype. Bend, Oregon breweries and breweries in Eugene, Oregon are also significant in Oregon’s beer success. The number of breweries in Bend, Oregon is over 22, making it the city with the highest microbrewery per capita in America.

As for Oregon beer laws that still exist, the biggest is: what time can you buy beer in Oregon? Oregon beer can be distributed between the hours of 7 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., seven days a week.

All across Oregon, there are great Oregon beer events and Oregon beer festivals that occur. A few of the many are: the Annual Oregon Brewers Festival, Portland Beer Week, the Portland Fresh Hops Beer Fest, the Cheers to Belgian Beers Festival, the Salmon-Safe IPA Festival, and the Bend Craft Beer Festival, along with plenty more.

With a surplus of some of the best breweries in Oregon, some of the top Oregon breweries to try are:
• Breakside Brewing
• Cascade Brewing
• The Commons Brewery
• Culmination Brewing
• Ex Novo Brewing
• Great Notion Brewing
• Hair of the Dog
• Hopworks Urban Brewery
• Upright Brewing,
• and so many more!

We have had the pleasure of featuring some of the best Oregon beers from some of the best craft breweries in Oregon, including:
Caldera Brewing Company
BridgePort Brewing Company
Wild Ride Brew Company
Gilgamesh Brewing
Double Mountain Brewery & Cidery

We are always looking for new Oregon craft breweries to add to our monthly craft beer club shipments, and hope to have more in the near future. Cheers!