20 Best Oregon Craft Beers, Ranked

When you think of great craft beer, it's impossible not to think about Oregon. The state's first brewery opened in 1854 (before Oregon even became a state!), and the scene has flourished since then. According to the Brewers Association, Oregon boasted over 300 breweries 2021, ranking seventh in the nation for breweries per capita. In fact, beer is so highly regarded that you can study fermentation science at Oregon State University or get a certificate in the business of craft beer from Portland State University.

You can imagine that narrowing down the best Oregon craft beers is a tall task. A list like this is obviously highly subjective, but we've tried to highlight the beers that have made an impression on us over the years. For the most part, these are all generally available (no one-offs), and we tried to cover most of the popular beers you can find at a brewery. That said, Oregon does wild fermentation, barrel-aged beers, lagers, and IPAs exceptionally well, so those beers tended to dominate our ranking.

20. Hell - Wayfinder Beer

While locals love hoppy IPAs as much as the next beer drinker, Portland is a big supporter of lager-centric breweries like Wayfinder Beer. The brewery opened in 2016 using a proprietary lager yeast that gives its beers a unique character. It dedicates almost all of its taps to lighter styles like pilsners and schwarzbiers but our favorite of the bunch is the heavenly Hell.

The Munich Helles-style beer impresses with a crisp, clean flavor and hop-forward, almost spicy nose. It's a real quencher on Portland's recent bout of higher-than-average temperatures, but it's equally refreshing when winter's gray, rainy days take over. It's no wonder this beer won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2019 and was named Oregon Beer of the Year at the New School Beer Awards that same year.

19. Ruby Ale - McMenamins

McMenamins is basically a household name in the Pacific Northwest. With 56 locations throughout Oregon and Washington, it has a bit of a love-it or hate-it vibe (we're the former, in case you're wondering). Brothers Mike and Brian McMenamins opened their first brewery in 1985, the same year the Oregon Legislature changed a law that allowed breweries to brew and sell beer at the same location. One year later, McMenamins brewed a light raspberry ale known as Ruby Ale, breaking more boundaries as the first Pacific Northwest brewery to use fruit in an ale legally.

Ruby Ale remains a flagship beer for the company. While some fruit beers get a bad rap for being overly sweet or chemical tasting (especially those made with fruit extracts or flavorings), Ruby is made with actual berries. Mcmenamins uses 42 pounds of Oregon-grown raspberry puree in every batch, creating a subtle flavoring that's beloved even by those who don't enjoy fruit beer. When they feel bold, those in the know ask for a Rubinator, a mixture of Ruby Ale and Terminator Stout that tastes like a raspberry cake.

18. Devil's Cuvée Kriek - Double Mountain Brewing

If you follow the Columbia River Gorge about 60 miles east of Portland, you'll land in the quaint town of Hood River. The town is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts (particularly windsurfing), but it's become well-known as home to some of the best craft breweries in the Pacific Northwest.

While Double Mountain has many incredible beers, we can never say no to a glass of the Devil's Cuvée Kriek. This Flanders Red sour ale is a barrel-aged version of the Devil's Kriek, an ale inoculated with Brettanomyces yeast and rested on cherries for over a year. The additional time in the French oak barrels takes an already complex ale and gives it rich fruit undertones, giving it an almost red wine-like finish. If you're into slowly sipping your beer, this bottle is one you won't want to pass up. 

17. RPM IPA - Boneyard Beer

It's impossible to think of the Central Oregon town of Bend without thinking of Deschutes Brewery, but you might think of Boneyard Beer first if you've tried RPM IPA. The brewery got its name when it opened in 2010 using old equipment obtained from 13 different breweries.

Boneyard brewed several beers during the early days, and RPM IPA was immediately a hit. While the beer was originally a hefty 7.5% ABV, brewmaster Tony Lawrence scaled back the alcohol volume to 6.7% in 2013 after being inspired by Firestone Walker Brewing Union's Jack IPA. The result is an IPA that's balanced: It has a punch of hoppy goodness from the use of five different Pacific Northwest hops, but the malt backbone provides a slight sweetness that makes it oh-so drinkable. We love its bright hop presence that celebrates piney and citrusy characteristics, making it perfect for IPA lovers that don't want the aggressive, lip-puckering bitter effect.

16. Tough Love - Crux Fermentation Project

Bend's Crux Fermentation Project has made waves since opening in 2012. The brewery produces styles ranging from IPAs and pilsners to a non-alcoholic line dubbed NØ MØ. Our favorite Crux offerings come from the [BANISHED] series. While some of the bottles in this line of barrel-aged beers are one-off releases, Tough Love is released every November.

This impressive imperial stout is bold — the 2022 version clocked in at a hefty 14% ABV. At that alcohol content, you can easily cellar the beer, saving a bottle of each annual release for a vertical tasting to compare the nuances from year to year. It's dark and rich, with the coffee and chocolate notes you come to expect from imperial stouts. The bourbon barrel aging gives it a sharp boozy nose but a smooth finish, revealing notes of dried fruits as it warms. It's perfect for a cold winter night and pairs exceptionally well with oysters.

15. Blueberry Muffin - Great Notion Brewing

This Portland brewery started as a neighborhood watering hole but has since expanded to six locations throughout the Pacific Northwest (including two in Washington). The brewery makes traditional styles like IPAs and stouts, but our favorite beers come from its sour program. These beers — like Blueberry Muffin — are often blended with Oregon-grown fruit, giving them a sweet-and-sour balance.

Blueberry Muffin is classified as a kettle sour, which is different from other types of sour beers. Instead of using yeasts like Brettanomyces, these beers use acid-producing bacteria like Lactobacillus. Lacto can achieve sour flavors in a significantly shorter time (24 to 48 hours instead of several weeks). In this case, the result is a sweet-tart ale that tastes almost exactly like a baked muffin. It has a strong fruit-forward nose and celebrates blueberry's jammy flavor when you take a sip. The sourness is not puckering, instead reminding us a little bit of yogurt. Put it all together, and this is almost sweet enough to be dessert but tangy enough to enjoy with a meal.

14. 3-Way IPA - Fort George Brewery

The Oregon coast has its fair share of stellar breweries, and Fort George in Astoria is one of them. The brewery gets its name from King George III, who named the town Fort George during the War of 1812. Over the years, Fort George Brewery has shown its dedication to supporting other craft brewers by choosing two other companies to collaborate on its 3-Way IPA.

Our favorite thing about this beer is that it changes every year. The two collaborators rotate, and in the past, it's featured well-known breweries like Modern Times or Pacific Northwest favorites like Portland's now-defunct Lompoc Brewing and Seattle's Holy Mountain Brewing. The process starts by testing several different recipes until the three breweries agree on a recipe that's "perfect." You never know what this year's batch will bring; the only thing you can be 100% sure of is that it's going to be hoppy and it's going to be delicious. 

13. Pils - Heater Allen Brewing

Like many breweries in the early 2000s, Heater Allen Brewing started with a homebrewer who had big aspirations. Former banker turned head brewer Rick Allen used his wife's maiden name (Heater) to form the business name and focused on traditional lagers instead of ales (most of the beers in the lineup are German and Czech-style beers).  

You can't go wrong with the flagship Pils which is brewed in the classic Bohemian style. Allen says he brewed 17 batches of this beer until he was happy with the result. You may recognize the clean and crisp flavor since the recipe is by Pilsner Urquell, which translates to mean the "original source" of pilsner. The combination of a malty backbone and a slight hop presence makes this beer easy to pair with food, too. Reach for it anytime you're cooking with cheese (like your favorite grilled cheese sandwich) or for seafood-heavy dishes.

12. Sticky Hands - Block 15 Brewing Company

Located in Corvallis, smack dab in the heart of the Willamette Valley, Block 15 is not only brewing fantastic beer but it's also committed to sustainability in many aspects of the business. Solar panels provide 40% of the brewery's power needs and it also utilizes regional ingredients whenever possible. When it's finished brewing, the spent grain goes to local farmers to be used as feed.

Block 15's imperial IPA Sticky Hands is not for the faint of heart. The hop presence in this beer can only be described as dank with a capital D. It has a bold flavor and aroma of citrus and resinous pine, and the malt backbone provides a velvety texture that helps it go down easy. It's also a heavy hitter when it comes to alcohol content. With most beers in the 8% ABV range, we expect to feel a certain alcoholic heat in the back of the throat, but Sticky Hands is surprisingly smooth. You'll want to take care not to overdo it when drinking this delicious IPA.

11. Mother of All Storms - Pelican Brewing Company

Anyone who has driven Highway 101 knows the beauty of the Oregon coast. It's rugged, it's rocky, and it's peppered with stunning beaches and lush coastal forests. In Pacific City, you'll find Pelican Brewing Company, which has been a staple beachfront property since 1996.

The Mother of All Storms is the perfect beer for a stormy day on the coast. You know, the kind of day where the fog is so thick you can barely see the water! This 14% ABV English-style barleywine is aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. It's strong enough to warm you from the inside out, and it delivers a burst of bourbon-like heat from the first sip. As it warms, the beer develops a pleasant malty richness and oaky vanilla flavor, ending sweet mixture of sugar and molasses mixed with dried fruit. We wouldn't call it an everyday sipper, but it is extremely enjoyable as a special occasion beer — even if that occasion is just watching the storm roll in.

10. Pallet Jack IPA - Barley Brown's Beer

Baker City is absolutely gorgeous, but this eastern Oregon landscape isn't exactly on the main highway. You probably won't find yourself there unless you happen to be going from Pendleton to Idaho. Of course, if you've had any of Barley Brown's beer, you may look for a reason to visit.

Pallet Jack IPA has won several gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival over the years, and it's one of those IPAs that we could drink day in and day out. It has one of the most pronounced citrus-forward hop presences we've ever tasted, blasting you with a grapefruit aroma from the moment you open the can. It has a strong hop bitterness that's counterbalanced with the sweet, toasted malt. If you're looking for a classic American IPA — without all that thick haze that has become popular in recent years — this is a good one to reach for.

9. Sahalie - Ale Apothecary

When Ale Apothecary started, it was little more than a beer club. We can remember driving towards Tumalo Falls outside Bend and wondering if we had gotten lost in a rural neighborhood! Operations are run by husband-and-wife team Paul and Staci Arney, who have since opened a taproom in downtown Bend. The Ale Club still exists, and members get first access to new beers.

The flagship brew is a wild ale called Sahalie. It's representative of all the beers made at Ale Apothecary — open-fermented, barrel-aged, and naturally carbonated in the bottle. Instead of using stainless steel vats, the brewery ferments Sahalie the old-fashioned way in open barrels before dry-hopping it (again, in an oak barrel). The result is a lightly sour beer that's somewhat reminiscent of cider, with strong apple and pear vibes. It has a lightly funky flavor and aroma that's reminiscent of the Central Oregon sage-and-pine terroir. It's a fantastic introduction to wild ales, if you've never tried one.

8. Special Herbs - Upright Brewing Company

Upright Brewing Company is something of a hidden gem in Portland. In the early years, the brewery was located in the basement of a professional building. You might wonder if you were lost as you entered what looks like someone's private brewing facility. The location has since changed — it's upstairs in a gorgeous jazz-inspired taproom now — but the vibe remains the same.

Upright is brewing some of Oregon's best French- and Belgian-inspired beers. Many of the labels are one-offs, but Special Herbs is a rotating seasonal ale that's available more often than not. Upright calls it a botanical saison, but it's technically a gruit, a beer that uses herbs instead of hops. The specific ingredients vary from year to year, generally boasting a sweet, fruit-forward flavor that's full of farmhouse funkiness. The herbal component could be from flowers, lemongrass, hyssop, Sichuan peppercorns, mint, or any other plants used when brewing. It's a unique tasting experience, and the beer is far more than just a mere novelty.  

7. Clever Weather IPA - Ruse Brewing

Portland's Ruse Brewing is a relative newcomer in the craft beer scene. The brewery opened in 2018 and the following year it was named Best New Brewery and Small Brewery of the Year at the Oregon Beer Awards.

The small, artisanal brewery produces several IPAs and hazy IPAs, but Clever Weather IPA is a step above. We're not quite sure how it ends up with such an exceptionally creamy texture, but it really does taste like a hop milkshake! Each sip is bursting with tropical hop flavor, and it manages to come away as simultaneously bitter, sweet, and floral. It's possible this beer might not stick around — they seem to come and go at Ruse — so try to get your hands on Clever Weather while you can.

6. Pilsner - pFriem Family Brewers

pFriem Family Brewers is another of our Hood River favorites. The brewery is located on the Hood River Waterfront Park, so you can enjoy some of the best beer in Oregon while watching the windsurfers and stand-up paddleboarders on the Columbia Gorge River.

Every beer we've tried from this brewery is very true to style. We can't say we've ever had a bad beer from pFriem, even as its portfolio has grown and expanded from a small family brewery to a large production facility. The Pilsner is a classic example of the style, with a light flavor that goes down easy. What we find particularly refreshing about this rendition is its grassy presence. It doesn't have an intense hop spiciness like other pilsners, but the earthy, almost herbal flavors make it one of our top anytime choices.

5. Touch of Brett - Alesong Brewing

Eugene is known for a great many things. It's the birthplace of Nike, home to the University of Oregon Ducks football team, a huge supporter of track and field, and — of course — a ton of fantastic craft beer. Unlike most breweries, local favorite Alesong doesn't just dabble in barrel aging: It only produces barrel-aged beer.

Touch of Brett is a hoppy farmhouse beer that pays homage to Brettanomyces, the strain of yeast that gives sour beers their distinct bite. It is the most award-winning beer in the Alesong lineup, winning several awards at the Great American Beer Festival and Oregon Beer Awards. We love this one because it's more fruity than funky, although Brett's characteristic barnyard presence is still notable. We also appreciate that it finishes dry, making it easy to drink as an everyday beer instead of a special occasion beer.

4. Rippin - Sunriver Brewing Company

Central Oregon has a strong presence on this list, but this time we'll go further south, past Bend to the resort community of Sunriver. Since opening in 2012, Sunriver Brewing Company has expanded and now has four pubs throughout Oregon.

Rippin NW pale ale has earned many awards over the years, and it's also won an exclusive spot as our "desert island beer." Truly, if we could only drink one beer for the rest of our lives, this would be the one. Pale ales differ from IPAs in their lower alcohol content and lighter hop presence, but Rippin succeeds in amping up the hop flavor, thanks to whirlpool and dry hop additions of citrus- and pine-forward hops. That keeps the bitterness low while still celebrating everything hopheads love about IPAs. It's aggressive in a way we love, and the balanced malt flavor rounds it out nicely.

3. Honey Ginger Lime - Cascade Brewing

One of the first sour beers we tried came from Cascade Brewing, so it has a special place in our heart. The brewery has been pioneering American-made sour beers since 2006, taking them beyond their traditional flavor profiles and giving them a Pacific NW spin. Some of these beers can be quite tart, pulling at the sides of your mouth as you drink them like a Sour Patch candy. They're not for everyone, which is why we love the Honey Ginger Lime so much.

This sour rye ale is affectionately known as HGL. It starts as a spicy rye beer that's aged in wine barrels for ten months with candied ginger, lime peel, and wildflower honey. The result is a beer that's not quite sweet but not quite tart. The spice from the rye base and ginger come through to create a complexity that we don't find in many beers. Because it's only 6% ABV, Honey Ginger Lime feels approachable as an anytime sipper, and it's perfectly quenching on a hot day.

2. The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Many of our friends have cellared beer over the years. Most of them started when Deschutes Brewery started its barrel-aging program in 2006 with The Abyss. We recommend picking up more than one bottle, which allows you to taste it now and again in a year. You'll notice that the flavor mellows out, with the sharp bourbon-forward notes smoothing out to incorporate more dried fruit essence.

The flavors that stand out in the Abyss are milky chocolate, licorice, and sweet molasses. Put that together with a chewy mouthfeel and a leathery aftertaste, and we can't get enough. In recent years, Deschutes has been aging The Abyss in different barrels, like port, sherry, rye, or tequila. Each of these iterations gives a fun spin to this Oregon classic.

1. The Qi - De Garde Brewing

De Garde Brewing truly offers a taste of Oregon. This Tillamook brewery cools its wort in a coolship, an open vessel that allows the naturally occurring wild yeast and bacteria to inoculate the beer. Then, the beers are transferred to oak barrels and age anywhere from six months to over five years.

Many of De Garde's beers are one-offs and not available year after year, but we hope to always see The Qi on the tap list. It's definitely a rare beer that is worth tracking down because of the use of aged tea leaves which add a level of depth and sophistication to the spontaneous wild ale. Different variations have been released but we were particularly blown away by Blend No. 1. Made with 46-year-old pu'er tea leaves, it smells and tastes herbal, with a little bit of grassy funkiness on the nose that's reminiscent of mushrooms. The flavor is tart and tannic enough to finish dry. All in all, it's as unique as it gets, and we can't wait to dive in for another sip.