Friday, March 6, 2015

Oregon, Spring 2015, Part 6: Portland Brewing Company

After Occidental, we headed around to the Portland Brewing Taproom, located in a rather gritty industrial section of the city.

Portland Brewing, founded in 1984, has been the focus of numerous buy-outs, corporate consolidations, and rebranding schemes. In 2004 it was sold to Pyramid Breweries, and the Portland brewery was renamed MacTarnahan's Brewing Company. In 2008 Pyramid itself was acquired by Magic Hat Brewing Company, which was in turn bought by North American Breweries in 2010. In 2012 Florida Ice & Farm Co. bought the whole group. Then in 2013 the Portland facility regained its original name. Whew! What could be next? 

Currently, the brewery produces beers under three labels: Portland, MacTarnahan’s, and Pyramid.

For Zwickelmania, the staff was conducting a blind tasting quiz. We had to sample four different Pyramid beers and identify each one. We were able to identify .... only two. Quite a humbling experience for three guys who think they know beer.

We had not planned on taking the tour, but they offered a $10 discount on lunch to tour participants and off we went. The tour was a bit long, and the tour guide perhaps overly chatty, but the samples we received at the end were something of a revelation. 

Earlier, the three of us agreed that, when beer shopping, we tend to walk right past bottles of Portland, MacTarnahans’s or Pyramid – and instead search for newer and perhaps more credworthy beers. (I think the last time I had a Pyramid beer was at a Seattle Mariners game several years ago.) But these Portland samples were all fairly tasty brews. Perhaps it was their freshness, or perhaps we were simply thirsty, but it was clear that these beers deserve another chance.

The restaurant/tap room had 16 taps on, including the Pyramid regulars, four seasonals, and two special featured brews. Samplers were available. Since it was rare sunny day, we ate lunch in a pleasant outside space. And talked about how it’s not just the newer guys on the block who can make decent beer.

2730 NW 31st Avenue
Portland, Oregon United States 97210
503 228 5269

Mon: 11-9pm
Tu-Thu: 11-10pm
Fri: 11-11pm
Sat: 12-11pm
Sun: 12-9pm


  1. Nevitt, I've already started picking up bottles at the supermarket -- good house beers.

  2. Red, Next time around I'll have to try some of those overlooked brews, too.