Pleasure by the pint
Portal's cozy corner taproom inside the historic Medford fire station building downtown has 14 beers on tap and delectable grub. All but one of taproom's beer faucets flow with a selection of the more than 20 beers brewer/owner Mike Dimon has concocted under the Portal banner.
If you had to try just one — although who can try just one? — go with a pint of the award-winning Tub Springs American Pale Ale.
Portal's taproom is at 100 E. Sixth St., Medford, at the corner of Sixth and Front streets. The taproom is open from 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday and noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
See www.portalbrewingco.com or call 541-499-0804.
Swing Tree owner Brandon Overstreet wants just one thing out of his brewery — good beer — and he's getting it.
Swing Tree operates on a half-barrel system out of a commercial business park in Ashland. The taproom is simple but as tasteful as Swing Tree's handcrafted brews.
Swing Tree has four options: Porch Swing Pale, "an easy-to-drink American pale ale;" Obligatory IPA, "A big beer, hopped to the gills;" Lonely Trike Red Ale, "a little more malty;" and Two Shilling Brown Ale, "complex, fruity, rich in flavor ... and carbonated a little lighter," in Overstreet's words.
Try the Porch Swing Ale. It's a summertime-special type of beer and goes down easy with a fruity touch.
Swing Tree, 300 E. Hersey St., No. 7, is open 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
See www.swingtreebrewing.com or call 541-591-8584.
The downtown Medford brewery's lively Barrel House, located on the other side of the wall from its brewery, offers beer drinkers a dose of old-school, saloon style with its fine selection of handcrafted brews.
If you like them strong, try the double IPA Ore-Gunslinger. Its potent 9.1 percent ABV (alcohol percentage by volume) will stagger your taste buds, and probably your walk, with its hoppy-citrus goodness.
The brewery and restaurant, at 44 S. Central Ave., is open from 2 to 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. See www.bricktownebeer.com or call 541-973-2377.
You may have known Opposition Brewing as Apocalypse Brewing before Bend-based 10 Barrel Brewing Co. threw a tiff — legally speaking, "expressed disagreement" and then threatened to sue — over the similarity between Apocalypse's name and the label of its flagship brew Apocalypse IPA.
After first opposing 10 Barrel, Apocalypse owner Nick Ellis eventually threw in the towel and asked his loyal customers to help come up with a new name. Opposition Brewing seemed fitting.
The beer is certainly worth it, but don't expect anything too cushy if you're going to the source for a sip of Opposition brew. The brewery and its bunker of a taproom are in a warehouse, encircled by the industrial surroundings of northwest Medford.
But you came for the beer, not the scenery, so try Opposition's top-selling, signature brew, The Sixth Seal, an ultra-hoppy Northwest Pale Ale.
Opposition Brewing, 545 Rossanley Drive, Suite 106, is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, noon to 9 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 7 p.m. Sundays.
During the NFL football season only, the brewery is open 5 to 8 p.m. Mondays. See www.apocalypsebrewing.com or call 541-210-8550.
Now that you've been introduced to the newcomers, don't miss the breweries that helped kick off the Rogue Valley's blossoming craft beer scene.
- Established in Medford in 1997, Walkabout Brewing Co., 921 Mason Way, Medford, is open 3 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 2 to 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 to 6 p.m. Sundays. Call 541-734-4677.
- Established in Central Point in 2007, Southern Oregon Brewing Co., 1922 United Way, Medford, is open from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday. See www.sobrewing.com for details or call 541-776-9898.
- Established in Ashland in 1997, Standing Stone Brewing Co., 101 Oak St., Ashland, is open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight. See www.standingstonebrewing.com for details or call 541-482-2448.
- Established in Ashland in 1997, Caldera Brewing Co., 590 Clover Lane, Ashland, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The brewery's downtown tap house, 31 Water St., Ashland, opens daily at 2 p.m. and closes as business slows. See www.calderabrewing.com for details or call 541-482-4677. The tap house phone is 541-482-7468.
- Established in Cave Junction in 1975 and tagged with its current name in 1994, Wild River Brewing & Pizza Co. has three locations in Josephine County, one in Brookings and one in Medford, at 2684 N. Pacific Highway. The Medford pub and restaurant is open 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays. See www.wildriverbrewing.com or call 541-773-7487.