Tugboat Brewing Company
Active Beers: 5
Beer Ratings: 21
Beer Avg: 3.59
Taps: 15 / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 33 | Reviews: 32 | Show All Ratings:
3.98/5 rDev +22.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $
A hole in the wall with good food and good beer. The ambiance is just right, dark and cozy, with a lamp at my booth to read a book. The cheese ravioli in marinara sauce was perfect comfort food, and the coffee brown ale was on point--modest, drinkable, tasty--and I don't even like brown ales generally.
I'm not sure what other reviewers are expecting, but a hole in the wall with house-brewed beer is great in my book, there are enough overpriced fancy beer places that take themselves too seriously back home.
09-18-2008 16:01:22 | More by akahn
3.91/5 rDev +20.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4
A very cool bar, right in the heart of downtown, but on a side street that is somewhat secluded. A homey, dark room with books lining the walls and a small stage in the corner. The service is friendly and excellent. You WILL be greeted and welcomed by the bartender, if not engaged in full-blown conversation. There are usually 4-5 of the brewpub's own varied brews on tap, and they don't repeat their batches so there's something new each time. One of their brews is served via handpump (often a porter or stout), in addition to 8 or so other excellent draft micros available. In fact, everything about this place is so wonderful that it seems almost cruel to mention that the on-premise beer is not very good. It's not awful, but definitely sub-par for Portland, the beeriest of cities, and not much better than average homebrew. Still, it's drinkable and the setting is perfect. They do offer Chernobyl Stout which they claim is 13% alcohol, so big beer lovers will certainly want to check that out. Food selection is very limited, mostly Tex-Mex with a selection of nachos and a couple other things including pasta. It's very affordable, but I've heard it's not particularly good, so I haven't indulged. This place is a perfect stop if you're heading downtown to catch a band at one of the numerous venues in the area (Dante's, Berbati's, Roseland, Ash St, etc.).
02-04-2004 03:25:14 | More by Thrasher
3.9/5 rDev +20.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 2
Definately a place you won't go to for a great meal! The food selection is very limited and anything but gormet, but what would you expect from a place located on a wee alley right next to a strip club?
However, what Tugboat lacks in vittles, it more than makes up for in atmosphere. Very simply, Tugboat embodies what Portland Oregon is all about - a tiny micro-brewery (actually, closer to femto-brewery) that serves tasty beers in what could only be described as a very laid back setting. The bartender is also the brewer is also the owener, and is only to happy to chat up his beers. The room itself (and that's all it is, one room with seating for about 50) has a library-ish feel, and has a stage at one end where the do live music every once in a while. And open mike night too, evey once in a while.
Located downtown Portland - blocks from some pretty high class places - Tugboat is a neighborhood bar not located terribly near any neighborhood. If you want to find out what Portland is all about, and want to meet some very real people, treat yourself to a night at Tugboat!
04-30-2003 21:31:57 | More by weefisheads
3.88/5 rDev +19.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $
I really like this little place. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, an old library with good beer, or a casual, co-ed, slightly funky/shabby version of how you'd picture a gentlemen's club on Pall Mall in the 1890's. The Anti-Bailey's. Selection was half their brews, half guests, maybe a dozen in total. I really liked their own Flower Power Pale. It reminded me of ruby port, which insight rather surprised the proprietor. Maybe it's just me. A jazz trio was playing for tips in the corner, and there were a great many old books and board games and quiet conversations in a youngish crowd. I asked the barman to fetch me a few pepperoncini from a big jar I spotted high on a shelf, to have with my popcorn (free and fresh), and he very pleasantly obliged. He was very good alike with irritable beer snobs and novices who would probably would have asked for a Bud Light in other circumstances. Really a nice experience.
01-14-2010 05:52:57 | More by egospoon
3.84/5 rDev +18.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $
This laid back little place is right across the street from Bailey's Taproom.
It's like a small old library in an old woman's estate. Wood shingles, bookshelves, small lamps on the tables. Cozy. The bar is tiny - seating for only 4 or 5 people. They had 6 on tap brewed by them, plus 13 others, mostly from Oregon. Decent selection.
The bartender was friendly and sometimes talkative, but seemed somewhat disinterested. He didn't really know too much about the beers they had available.
Very cheap happy hour beer - $3 pints of anything.
Nice stop, especially when combined with Bailey's.
07-03-2010 13:45:32 | More by shivtim
3.76/5 rDev +16%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4
Tugboat Brewing is a cozy, one room pub with a bohemian air. It sits off a tiny back street in a neighborhood that bears the ironic circumstance of being a haven for itinerant street life while just two blocks from the major downtown hotels. Welcome to Portland.
Books line the walls. People sit and play a variety of games (chess, cards, scrabble), and a small jazz combo is likely to be on stage most nights. No cover charge, no TV, no pool. Tugboat has nine house taps and nine guest taps, though on my most recent visit only two house beers were available. They are of varying quality, potency and style. A beer engine occasionally pours a cask-conditioned brown ale described by the bartender as, "An English beer served warm and flat."
Tugboat is eclectic and cool. It's real dark -- mostly candle lit -- and so small, the band never needs amplification. The tables are varnished park benches with small floral cuttings in empty French pop bottles. Food is limited to nachos, pasta, or a burrito, each prepared in several different ways. Guest taps represent regional Northwest beers, but also Bass, Boddington's and Tecate, which Ive never seen on tap elsewhere. A sizable selection of wine is also available.
Tugboat is a great place for poets, jazz fans, beatniks, literary types, and anyone with an open mind looking for some genuine atmosphere. The house beers are hit-or-miss but some are quite good and worth seeking. Can be a bit smoky. $2.00 pints on Monday and $2.00 house beers on Weds. Closed Sunday.
03-07-2004 02:15:05 | More by RedDiamond
3.7/5 rDev +14.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5
We visited on a Saturday night around 9 pm.
It actually took as some time to find this place as it is small and tucked down a semi-alleyway style side street.
When we entered we encountered a basic and bohemian type joint.
Very small a scattering of tables and a couple of booths at the large shop front style window ( we sat in one as people watching in this area of Portland is very entertaining).
There were large amounts of used and well read books on shelves on two walls , plus some nice old fashioned board games. Six young folk were playing scrabble on the table next to us.
They had quite an enjoyable jazz band playing.
I enjoyed the soothing atmosphere after the crowds at Kells.
They had five of their own beers on tap , though not the ESB, which everyone I spoke to in there thought was the best beer they did. Anyway the Cernobyl stout was just fine for sippin and watching the procession of eccentrics drift by the window.
They also had a small selection of imports on tap to..including Frankenheimer Alt.
Cash only in this place..all in all a nice place to drinka beer listen to non-challenging jazz and play a game of scrabble, who could ask for more?
10-11-2004 05:30:25 | More by Reidrover
3.7/5 rDev +14.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$
Located directly across the street from Bailey's.
Upon entering, it is clear that this is a unique place. The decor is an eclectic combination of antiques and garage sale salvages with the random bookshelf and beat up piano.
The bar itself was very small, with a half dozen or so seats.
The beer list was limited, and there were only two house beers pouring at a time. I get the impression that the brewer brews as his schedule permits.
The bartender was very nice and talkative and there was free popcorn at the bar!
07-12-2010 17:07:19 | More by plaid75
3.63/5 rDev +12%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5 | $$
My first impression was five years ago when I desperately wanted a beer 4:30 ish. I walked in and the bar tender trying to ignore me, finally asked, "What do you want?" I said, "a beer?" "Can't" he said, " we don't open until 5:00." then turned and walked away. Confused by his behavior, I left and came back a half hour later. The guy, then, was a perfect gentleman. Aparently that was his introduction to me the old Portland humor. An adorable bartender walked from the back and asked what we were having? A buddy said, "Bud Light." She replied,"Huh...we wash the floors with Bud Light." Now, I love this place.
This is one of the most interesting places I have ever drank a beer. It is a proto-typical hole-in-the-wall in it's daintiness, yet explosive in its quality.
The beer is bohemian, yet true to their styles, delivery, and storage.
The atmosphere is dim, subdued, and relaxed. The food is solid, but not why you go here. The music is fress and of quality. The patrons are the magic. There are few places in the world where you can belly up and have an enriching conversation with a university professor, a homeless guy, a city slicker, a 21 year old college girl who hates beer. It happens everytime I go there. Every visit gives me new memories that stay with me.
06-10-2005 20:53:26 | More by BEERchitect
3.6/5 rDev +11.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5
Tugboat is an odd little joint. Not quite brewpub, not quite beer bar, quite a bit of libertarian politics.
The place is charming and smells faintly of musty old books, which is no surprise because the walls are covered with old books of varying vintage and topic. Acoustic acts play from time to time on the little stage.
The whole place is family run and own with the brewer actually now the son-in-law of the owner. (He claims to have been gang-pressed into service after marriage. :) )
Spend some time trying their own beers (which can be a mixed bag from their 3 barrel system) or choose one of the handful of good guest beer choices. Then get to know your bartender.
Just be prepared for a political debate if you bring politics into the equation. It's always a good one.
Tugboat is right around from the block that Mary owns (Mary's Place, etc) and is a funky little joint that always seems to be hanging on.
12-11-2003 19:49:38 | More by drewbage
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Tugboat Brewing Company in Portland, OR
78 out of 100 based on 33 user ratings.