To better inform your voting in CHOW’s monthlong Best Brewpub in America Bracket, we’re throwing a daily spotlight on individual matchups, like excerpts from a voters pamphlet—a particularly beer-soaked, burger-stained voters pamphlet. Cheers!
Portland, Oregon’s been dubbed Beervana, and for good reason: The city is home to dozens of small breweries, more than any metro area in the United States. One of the best is Cascade Brewing Barrel House, which launched in 1998. The guy responsible for Cascade is Art Larrance, a founding father of Portland’s craft brewing culture. Larrance enlisted brewmaster Ron Gansberg, a wine industry refugee; the two have made Cascade a destination for exceptional sour beers, from fresh cherry kriek to gose brewed with chamomile, lavender, and salt.
Cascade’s opponent to the north: Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen in Bellingham, Washington. Since 2008, the plaid-shirt beardos loyal to the Chuckanut have sucked down brewmaster Will Kemper’s German-style pilsners, Vienna lagers, altbiers, and more. Though Chuckanut’s beers take their cues from Europe, they pair seriously well with the brewery's self-styled "Locavore" menu, which draws ingredients from the surrounding landscape.
Ladies and gentlemen, cast your votes. Remember: You can vote once a day in this first round, which ends April 23. So don’t forget to come back often to give your thumbs-up for your favorite brewpub. And may the best brewhouse win!
Top photo by Jennifer Yin / SF Beer Week