The Classic Brewpub: Ancestry Brewing
Southeast Portland’s Sellwood neighborhood can feel something like Northwest Portland circa 2005: low-key, but with signs of imminent growth everywhere you look. Opened last summer in the ground floor of a newish condo building, Ancestry embraces all these qualities. On weekday afternoons the Tualatin-based brewery’s second site is decidedly “Sunday Funday,” with locals leafing through newspapers while sipping on one of the pub’s 23 draughts or digging into a heaping burger, while unleashed dogs sprawl in the sunshine on the sidewalk. 8268 SE 13th Ave
MUST DRINK: The Legion Session IPA, a bright, easy-drinking vision of Portland’s signature style —MP
The Science Lab: Labrewatory
Taste something you love at Labrewatory? Too bad—it’s never coming back. The North Portland spot, a project from brewing equipment maker Portland Kettle Works, stocks its taps with experimental one-offs, made in collaboration with brewers from near and far. And, somewhat stunningly, the approach succeeds more often than it flops: a recent visit yielded a well-balanced farmhouse saison; a slightly spicy stout pepped up with Mexican chocolate and cinnamon, and a lovely, low-ABV yuzu sour. The décor is modern farmhouse dungeon: lots of salvaged wood and steel, with a few nods to science, including metal-ringed Edison bulbs that recall atomic particles (or, according to a friend, “bondage orbs”). 670 N Russell St
MUST DRINK: The taplist is always changing, so order whatever looks weird—say, a blond sour aged in tequila barrels and finished with Sencha green tea—and cross your fingers. —RJ
The Slabtown Surveyor: Breakside Northwest
A city gets what it needs when it needs it; right now we need a perch to watch Slabtown transform. Breakside’s high-ceilinged, glossy-finished new outpost rallies this Northwest pocket’s rapidly growing population of residents and workers: when the sun shines, the garage doors swing up, bar-side talk turns to real estate, and the surrounding construction sites just seem like scenery. Meanwhile, sparkling seasonals flow—the piquant, muscular Rhymes With Blood Orange IPA, for example, packs a zip code full of citrus. 1570 NW 22nd Ave
MUST DRINK: The IPA-heavy list rarely disappoints. If it’s still on tap, try June’s Rainbows & Unicorns, a session IPA that glimmers and shimmers with pineapple and peach. —ZD
The Wheatless Walk-Up: Moonshrimp Brewing
Convenience has never been a hallmark of Portland craft. But scoring a bottle of Moonshrimp is not easy even by local standards. Opened last April, the tiny two-barrel operation sells 22 oz bottles from its walk-up window on the side of a lime-green building in Southwest and only on Tuesdays. (You can also find Moonshrimp at a few select bottle shops in town.) In his defense, owner Dan McIntosh-Tolle says he likes to “see things differently.” Where others see a man in the moon, he sees a shrimp. (Hence the name.) After being diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008, McIntosh-Tolle whipped up an addictive, adaptable gluten-free recipe using water, vegan beet sugar, and millet, yielding fruity, wine-like “ales” similar to brettanomyces—“Brett”—beers. 8428 SW 22nd Ave
MUST DRINK: The Starlight White Ale, a crisp, dry ale with slightly tangy, orange notes. —MN
The Industrial Outpost: Sasquatch Brewery and Taproom
Owner and brewer Tom Sims has been pouring classic Northwest ales at his Hillsdale brewpub since 2011. But after opening this 4,000-square-foot, 15-barrel, 22-tap expansion in industrial Northwest this spring, Sims and head brewer Mike Paladino plan a renewed assault on Portland’s beer scene, sallying forth with lagered beers, barrel-aged ales and ciders, and, soon, bottles. Clean white tiles and dark woods bestow a lively modern vibe on the space, with an outdoor patio in the works. Local artist Chris Bigalke painted a bright, wall-size mural to honor the tasting room’s best feature: its location. With the Aspen and Wild Cherry trailheads just minutes away, Sasquatch hopes to become the post-hike destination for thirsty Forest Parkers. 2531 NW 30th Ave
MUST DRINK: The Grapefruit IPA, a tart citrus spin on the Northwest classic, signaling Sasquatch’s experimental mood. —MP
The Drive-By Surprise: Ross Island Brewing
In the scrum of rush hour, car commuters flow past the drab cinderblock structure just southeast of the Powell Boulevard bridgehead. That’s fine; brewmaster Carston Haney (formerly of Alameda Brewing) seems to be banking instead on Brooklyn neighborhood foot traffic. Varied locals sip his remarkably well-balanced British styles in a five-month-old taproom awash in quirk: all vintage frontiersman accoutrements and air plants. Do the mounted wooden paddles presage a coming flood of interest? 730 SE Powell Blvd
MUST DRINK With notes of chocolate and coffee, Ben’s Porter is a can’t miss. —RD
The Northern Reaches: Royale Brewing & Garrison Tap Room
Hard by the train tracks down a dead-end street north of NE Lombard, in a ramshackle building that also includes a metal workshop and a theater, Royale Brewing’s industrial-feel tasting room sits snug against its 15-barrel brewhouse. Hours change with the day and the season, but Mondays can bring a flock of pedalers headed to or from the bike races at nearby PIR, with numbered racers enjoying a discount on pints of Royale’s dependable classics (a Bavarian-style pilsner, a golden Fat Unicorn pale). Five miles away, Royale’s Garrison Tap Room, abutting the Sudra and 87th and Meatballs on the main drag of St. Johns, is an indoor-outdoor spread with picnic tables and a clear-roofed patio (kids allowed outside only), the garage door–style windows open for a clear view of the sportsball on the TV and projector screen inside. 55 NE Farragut St (brewery), 8773 N Lombard St (Garrison)
MUST DRINK: The citrusy seasonal Willamette Stone Summer Ale, a cloudy wheat number with Meridian hops and just the right amount of tang —MS
The Patio of Dreams: Wayfinder Beer
Crowds already flock to this Central Eastside brew complex from Double Mountain cofounder Charlie Devereux and the dudes behind Sizzle Pie and Podnah’s Pit—with nary a sip of house suds on tap. From the brawny tap hall’s huge, crazy-angled cedar deck and hearty roster of wood-fire-grilled comfort grub to 16 taps of German-inspired brews—it’s a hoppy pleasure palace. But by summer, Wayfinder brewmaster Kevin Davey (Gordon Biersch, Firestone Walker) finally gets to show off his own beers, primarily clean German- and Czech-style lagers as well as IPAs to start. (A pale lager and IPA dropped in early June.) “I trained in Germany ... I’ve got lager street cred,” laughs the brewer, who ran the popular lager operation Chuckanut Brewery in Bellingham, Washington. “Expect to see some great traditional beers. It’ll be like a trip back to Europe.” 304 SE Second Ave
MUST DRINK: For now, guzzle a Snufflefluffagus, the brewery’s hop-dizzy “Dank IPA” collaboration with Zoiglhaus. —KC
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Perusing online real estate listings can be nothing less than addictive. We’ve all spent time scouring the internet, ogling homes for sale that we don’t intend—or can’t afford—to buy. Because it’s fun!
But would you ever hop in the car and go look at a house in person, even if you’re not at all ready to make an offer?
“After weeks of checking out other homes, when we started looking for real, we could visit houses and jump in with an offer without a ton of deliberation,” she says.
Sure, it might seem nosy at first—and we’re certainly not encouraging you to be a straight-up looky-loo. But regardless of whether buying or selling is in your near or distant future, there are many benefits to going to an open house.
Like what? We’re glad you asked! Here are six solid reasons to hit up an open house next weekend.
Reason No. 1: Learn more about what you can afford
What you want to buy and what you can afford to buy are often two very different things.
Unfortunately, you don’t always figure that out until you’re deep in the process of house hunting, perhaps with your heart set on a dream home that will drain your finances and make you house-poor.
“Many first-time home buyers ask me to find them something that doesn’t exist,” says Melissa Colabella, licensed real estate salesperson with Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty, in Irvington, NY. “They are often shocked to learn that single-family homes do not even exist in their price range in their preferred neighborhoods.”
Attending open houses lets you get a grip on what you can realistically expect to find in your budget. Sure, you can enter a price range online on realtor.com®—but remember that perusing online listings is only the first step of the process. Often, actual homes look quite different from their online photos, which can be focused on or touched up to show only the best parts of the property.
Reason No. 2: See the agent in action
Even if you don’t find your dream home, you might meet your dream agent. What better way to interview the candidates who could represent you on either side of the transaction than by seeing them in action, points out Realtor® Patrick Madigan, owner of Madigan Realty, in Raleigh, NC.
While most sellers interview multiple agents to find the best fit, he finds buyers rarely do—which can be a mistake.
“Open houses present a great opportunity to get multiple face-to-face appointments with potential agents, without having to set up a formal appointment to interview them,” he says.
Be alert to whether the agent engages you when you first come in or is too busy to acknowledge and help you. And come armed with a few insightful questions about the local market to see if the agent seems knowledgeable about more than just that one open house, Madigan suggests.
Reason No. 3: Check out the competition
Traffic at an open house can be a gauge for whether the sellers have found a sweet spot with their price, since a new listing should be attracting multiple visitors when priced correctly.
If you’re a buyer, the number of visitors can indicate how quickly you might need to pounce when you decide you’re ready. (And it can tell you how to price your own home to move fast if you’re selling.)
“Some markets will allow for you to have a few days to mull over your decision, but an open house with 34 visitors can indicate your offer needs to be submitted right away,” Colabella says.
You’ll also get a face-to-face look at your competition. If you listen carefully, you might pick up some intel about the kind of buyer the seller is looking for. Even if you don’t intend to buy this house, the info might come in handy down the road.
Reason No. 4: Get a feel for the neighborhood
If you’re looking in a new, largely unfamiliar community, browsing for a few months can tell you a lot about your potential neighbors. You’ll get a sense for who primarily lives there (e.g., families, retirees, or singles), whether the neighborhood is abuzz with block parties and other events, or if it’s mostly quiet. Plus, you’ll get the chance to meet other prospective buyers, and learn where they’re relocating from and what they’re looking for in their new community.
“Of course buyers come in every demographic, but sometimes the patterns are surprising,” Colabella says.
Reason No. 5: Learn more about your needs
“As first-time homeowners, we weren’t sure yet what we were looking for exactly beyond the number of bedrooms and bathrooms,” McGrath says. “The open houses helped us learn more about layouts and amenities we liked.”
In fact, you might be surprised by what you gravitate toward when you really look around, Colabella notes.
“Often buyers think they want charming, older homes but then decide newer construction better fits their needs,” she says. “Or they start with houses and then switch to townhomes or condos after losing sleep over the concept of homeownership maintenance.”
Reason No. 6: Do some design recon
Wouldn’t you love to have someone give that designer touch to your house? Many homes for sale have been professionally staged or recently fixed up, so an open house can give you insight into the latest design trends. And since they’re often done on a budget, it can get those creative juices flowing for how you could incorporate wallet-friendly tricks to spruce up your space (like opening up your space with strategically placed mirrors).
And, if you’re preparing to sell your house, you can use open houses to pick up some staging tips of your own. Notice what you pay attention to and how little touches—such as fresh towels and empty closets—can make a big difference.
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• Take a salsa-making class at SE Portland restaurant Xico
• Sign up for an art class at Carter and Rose
• Visit Washington Park’s International Rose Garden