Laurelwood and Other Underrated Breweries

Just working through a backlog of emails here, and I see that Laurelwood is planning an event to celebrate their tenth anniversary. Ten--wow! I still consider Laurelwood a relatively new brewery (which of course underscores the fact that I am a relatively old man). They're having a party in a couple weeks (March 18), and I'll try to remember to flag it beforehand.

It got me thinking. Laurelwood is one of my regular haunts. It has four things I admire in a brewery: proximity (17%), good food (9%), televisions for watching Blazers/Red Sox/Packers (13%), and reliably above-average beer with the occasional homer (61%). Over the years, I've had several beers there of such surpassing quality that they readily spring through my clogged memory of beers past. In short, I consider it easily one of the best breweries in Portland.

Strangely, you don't hear all that much about it among beer geeks. It's a family hangout, and Chad Kennedy doesn't dial up habenero-dandelion saisons or barrel-aged beers. I therefore declare it one of Beervana's Most Underrated Breweries (TM). That, in turn, makes me wonder which others are underrated, which in turn makes me think it's time for a poll.

So here goes, the "most underrated breweries" poll. The idea here is to identify those breweries that don't get their due credit for producing great beers. Media darlings like Upright and Block 15, which in other contexts would be considered underrated, here are not. As the host of the poll, I get to create the list, but I'll leave you a slot to overrule me.