Portland beats Denver as a beer city, hands down

Categories: Beer Man

Portland's Hopworks Urban Brewing does it city-style.
Portland is a better beer town than Denver. As a Denver native, it pains me to say that, but after having visited Beervana for the first, time, there is no getting around it.

While Denver brewers consistently make better beer than those in Portland, there are more than three times as many breweries in the Rose City than there are in the Mile High.

Still, Portland's dominance doesn't have to do with quantity or quality. No, it's the little things in between, the culture, that makes the difference. And while Denver has made significant strides in that area over the past year, we still have a ways to go.

Here's why:

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Lucky Labrador Brewing in Portland.
Neighborhood Pubs
There are three to four dozen breweries in Portland -- depending on where and what you are counting -- and while not all of them are stellar, they are strewn throughout the city so that different neighborhoods can each claim at least one as their own. Ask twenty people in Portland where to go for a pint and you'll get twenty different answers, depending on where that person hangs out.

Like Portland, Denver has fantastic, distinct, walkable neighborhoods, but most of our breweries are clustered in one place. Imagine if Park Hill, Highland, Washington Park and Virginia Vale each had a place that locals could walk to and drink ales brewed just blocks from their homes.

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Beer Bars
In the past year, Denver's beer scene has changed immensely as more than a dozen bars have opened with a huge lineup -- ten, twenty or more -- of microbrews on tap.

By the end of 2010, more than 350 news craft beer taps will have been added in the city. But in Portland, the scene has looked like this for years. Even dive bars and Irish pubs have a least a couple of handles pouring Deschutes or Ninkasi or Rogue.

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So Portland beats Denver as a Beertown in all aspects except . . . the beer?! Are you the same guy who thinks the Cubs are the best team in baseball. Well, except for their offense and defense and pitching and coaching, but what a great place to see a ballgame!

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