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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Sun–Mon 11:00am–10:00pm
Tue–Thu 11:00am–11:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:00am–midnight

Features Date-friendly, outdoor dining
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted


Pearl District
210 NW 11th Ave.
Portland, OR
(503) 296-4906
Deschutes Brewery
Okay food, better vibes, and better beer still at one of Portland’s iconic local brewpubs

Deschutes Brewery has been a staple of Oregon’s craft beer scene for two decades, growing in that time to the 12th largest brewery in the country and the Pacific Northwest’s third largest craft brewery. Their flagship beers—Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Black Butte Porter—are easily spotted on taplists up and down the West Coast. The brewery operates a pair of pubs in Oregon, one in hometown Bend, and one in the Pearl District of Northwest Portland (two blocks north of Powell’s Books).

The space is large and open, given mostly to dining tables, with a modestly sized bar area. Above the bar are windows that give diners a peek into the state-of-the-art, fully automated brewhouse, with gleaming copper kettles and shining stainless pipes. The exposed beams of the old building compete for visual attention, perplexingly, with a grid of heavy pine beams set like a series of open-sided boxes over most of the dining area. The large open area makes for acoustic challenges, as well; when the space is full, conversation can be difficult.

But for those drawn to the beer Deschutes offers, these details are of little consequence. The Deschutes Portland Brewpub offers 18 taps of craft beer heaven: six permanent taps representing the regular production line of Deschutes’ bottled beers, and a dozen taps of seasonals (the lightly spiced winter seasonal, Jubelale, is a local favorite), experimental beers, and pub-only offerings.

The food menu is competent, self-impressed, and moderately overpriced. A natural elk burger with gruyère and shallot-thyme aïoli makes an interesting departure from the more typical beef alternative of buffalo. Avocado-tomatillo salsa doesn’t prevent a house-made veggie burger from coming off as mushy and bland. In the end, however, the beer’s the thing, and this pub has that in pints as well as bottles to go.

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