Bailey's Taproom

213 SW Broadway
Hours: Mon-Sat, 4 pm - Midnight

Here is the dilemma: you have friends coming in from out of town, and they want to sample from the feast that is Beervana. They instinctively want to go to a brewpub, but you know that this will limit the feast--no matter how good Roots Coconut Porter may be, you can't get a Ninkasi Believer or Hair of the Dog Blue Dot there.

Options have heretofore included 80% solutions, workable, but provisional: The Henry, with an amazing selection but cheater pints and yuppie atmosphere; the Horse Brass, good selection but a haze of cigarette smoke; Higgins, with a great selection of international beers, but modest locals. And so on.

Fortunately, Portland now has a 100% solution with the newly-opened Bailey's Taproom, just across Ankeny from the Tugboat downtown. It is smoke-free, centrally-located, has a great list of taps, and serves beer in 20-ounce imperial glasses. That's the superfecta of taprooms!

But the accolades don't stop there. This is a place that's all about beer, and it has the best selection in the city--period. The website is updated regularly, so check back to see what's pouring. As an example, here are some of the beers pouring today--many rare enough that you'll find them at only a handful of places, if at all:
  • Deschutes Green Lakes
  • Raccoon Lodge Tempter Tripel
  • Hair of the Dog Greg
  • Full Sail Vesuvious
  • Ninkasi Ceridwen Harvest Lager
  • Double Mountain Pale Ale
The bottle list features mainly out-of-staters, but includes some beers that have garnered national attention, like Ommegang Three Philosophers (NY), North Coast Brother Thelonius (CA), and Allagash Grand Cru (ME). They also have a well-selected, if small offering of Oregon wine, so you can take non-beery types. Food is limited, cafe-style, to cheese and chocolate, but these both go beautifully with wine and beer. Tres continental.

But don't be put off--it's not as upscale in feel as the menu suggests. There is a living-room area for lounging, and cafe tables for discussion and food. It actually has a bit of a coffeehouse feel, and with the free wi-fi, you can end your day in front of a computer with a more suitable beverage. When I was there, just after work last Friday, the four groups of people who came in were serious beer folk, downscale in jeans and flannel.

I see why--this is mecca for a beer geek.