Portland, Ore., a city that began crafting beer in the early 1980s, is now home to 58 breweries—more than any other city in the world—with new ones popping up every year. Add to that a calendar filled with beer-themed events and you can see why Portland is sometimes referred to as “Beervana.”
“Our immense variety of breweries gives planners the ability to find convenient meeting locations within proximity of the greater Portland package,” says Desiree Everett, CMP, CGMP, director of convention sales for Travel Portland. The following 5 downtown breweries also double as event venues:
McMenamins Crystal Ballroom has a large meeting space (about 7,500 sf) to accommodate larger groups. The brewery is housed in what originally was the Crystal Ballroom’s dance rehearsal studio. As such, the brew and fermentation tanks depict bits of the legendary ballroom’s history, including a stern portrait of Lola Baldwin, the conservative policewoman who made it her job to keep booze out of this building during Prohibition. One of McMenamins’ first brews—Crystal Ale—was named in honor of the ballroom before the property was acquired. The ale recipe was later refined in 1997 to coincide with McMenamins’ reopening of the ballroom. Located across the street from the 51-room Crystal Hotel, the ballroom and hotel combine to offer groups an authentic Portland experience.
Located in the heart of Portland’s Pearl District, Henry’s Tavern offers private dining in its Upstairs At Henry’s space. The space was once used to store hops for the old Henry Weinhard’s Brewery, but it has been transformed to feature high-end pool tables, a full bar and a large projector screen for groups up to 120 attendees. The Burnside Room, a private dining room for up to 40 attendees, and the Dining Room Mezzanine also provide space for attendees to sip beer and nosh on delicious starters such as the hand-seasoned waffle fries with gorgonzola crumbles and a gorgonzola sauce on top.
Said to be Portland’s oldest craft brewery, BridgePort Brewing Company features a wide variety of brews, including its award-winning IPA, which is blended with five hop varieties. The brewpub, located in a century-old brick and timber building, features the 1,930-sf Heritage Room for corporate events up to 115 attendees, as well as the Old Knucklehead Room for small group functions of up to 28 attendees. The variety of beers pairs well with the house-smoked prime rib or Alderwood-smoked wild Alaskan salmon—both of which are available on the Chef’s Specialty Dinner Buffet menu.
The Widmer brothers started brewing their own beer in 1979, when home brewing was legalized in Portland, and eventually opened a brewery in 1984. In 1988, it was one of three breweries (along with BridgePort Brewing Company and Portland Brewing Company) to launch the Oregon Brewer’s Festival, which today is the largest outdoor craft beer festival in the country, attracting more than 70,000 attendees from around the globe. Housed on the second floor on the historical Smithson-McKay Building, the brewery’s banquet facility features about 2,818 sf of meeting space, which can be divided into three rooms. Meeting planners can organize a personalized brewer’s dinner or include a private tour of the brewing facility along with the event.
Pyramid Brewing Co. has several taprooms up and down the West Coast—each of which serve more than 12 beers on draft year round. The Portland taproom is ideal for groups because it has three private rooms; however, meeting planners can also rent it in its entirety for up to 300 attendees. During the summer, the outdoor patio is the perfect spot to drink a cold beer while networking with about 50 colleagues.