Craft beer isn’t hard to find in the beautiful city of Salem, Oregon. In this post I’ll introduce you to the best craft breweries Salem Oregon has to offer, and what to expect when you visit.
Alcohol should be used responsibly. Not all craft breweries are appropriate for families. Exercise discernment when deciding when and how to consume alcohol.
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Oregon Craft Beer
Oregon and craft beer go way back. Portland and the Pacific Northwest have long been the epicenter of the craft beer movement in the United States.
Today, local breweries abound across the state, including the Salem region. Many of these breweries are family friendly establishments that make it a priority to host both parents and their children.
@dinkumtribe When the beat comes on and you can’t help but dance! @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe ##DanceParty##KidDancing##SillyDance##FoodDance##KidsHavingFun##OregonBrewing##OregonBrewpub##OregonRestaurant##SalemRestaurant##salemismopo #a#adhdfamilytravelf#familytravelcreatoro#oregonfamilyp#pnwfamilyp#pnwfamilieso#oregonfamiliesf#familytravelvlogf#familytravelblogf#familytravelinfluencert#travelwithkids ♬ Take it easy – Official Sound Studio
Our first encounter with a Salem brewery was even more fun than we’d expected. Gilgamesh Brewing had caught our attention, mostly because we’re nerdy.
You’ve got to admire the audacity of a place like this. Dozens of breweries choose to build their brand on the Pacific Northwest, but this place chooses the Ancient Mesopotamian demigod.
Gilgamesh is best known for its unique Mamba Ale (6.5% ABV / 1 IBU), a light, smooth beer that borders on bizarre. Mamba is a malt ale that has an intriguing tea-like flavor that leaves you wondering what to think. Gilgamesh’s flagship beer took the People’s Choice award at three consecutive Oregon beer festivals
Even Better: DJ Jazzy Hef & Terry Porter
We tried the Mamba for ourselves over a beer flight. However, we were most struck by the DJ Jazzy Hefeweizen (5.4% ABV / 9 IBU) and the Terry Porter (5.8% ABV / 24 IBU). Both of these beers were refreshing and enjoyable.
Jennifer also loved their guest tap of TwoTowns Cider, a seasonal offering that’s flavored with currants. I was glad to avoid both the cider and currants!
Food & Fun
Gilgamesh has three locations. The brewery’s flagship restaurant, The Campus, is next door to the actual brewery in South Salem. The Woods in West Salem, and The River in Independence are themed after settings in the Gilgamesh Epic.
We chose to follow Gilgamesh into The Woods. There was a lot to smile about. The fun decor included axe door handles, woodsy chandeliers, and keg urinals.
@dinkumtribe Ordered the beer flight and the stoney fries at Gilgamesh brewing at the Woods and both were fantastic! @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #BeerFlight #OregonBrewing #CraftBrewery #SalemBrewing #SalemBrewpub #dirtyfries #appetizerspecials #OregonCraftBrew #TravelSalem #Salemismopo ##SalemFood##FamilyTravel##FamilyTravelBlog##FamilyTravelVlog##OregonFamily ♬ original sound – DinkumTribe ADHD family travel
Gilgamesh’s food was fair. Their Stoney Fries were fantastic. The Poke Bowl was okay.
Jennifer and I found that both her burger and my chicken sandwich had meat that had been overcooked. At the time of publication Google Maps rates The Woods at 4.1 and I agree with that assessment.
Oregon’s iconic pub empire is a must stop on any tour of Pacific Northwest craft culture. McMenamin’s Inc. are curators of the weird and wonderful, and have built a world of their own one historic building at a time.
@dinkumtribe McMenamins is a family friendly brewpub that has multiple locations in Oregon. @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #McMenamins #McMinnvilleOregon #FamilyFriendlyRestaurant #OregonFamilyTravel #TravelOregon #OregonTravel #FamilyTravelBlog #FamilyTravelVlog #RestaurantReview #OregonFamily ♬ Food – Densky9
Oregon’s capitol holds two McMenamin’s establishments:
Thompson Brewery & Public House
McMenamin’s Thompson Brewery holds the distinction of being Salem’s first post-Prohibition brewery. The 6-barrel brewery is birthplace of several McMenamin’s beers including Old Cthulu, Romulan Imperial Ale, and the licorice-flavored Black Widow Porter.
@dinkumtribe McMenamin’s is a multi-location Brewery in Orehon that is known for repurposing old buildings and unique art. Check this one out! @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #oregoncraftbeer #oregonbrewery #oregonbrewing #mcmenamins #oregontravelideas #familyfriendly @mcmenaminsofficial #familytravelblogger #oregonbeer ♬ smiles & sunsets – ultmt.
This Brewery and Pub is located within the 1905 home of Franklin Thompson. McMenamin’s Annual Barley Cup Brewfest is held at its South Salem location every June.
@dinkumtribe A behind-the-scenes tour of the breewing area at Thompson House BrewPub! The art is just gorgeous! @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #oregoncraftbeer #oregonbrewery #oregonbrewing #mcmenamins #oregontravelideas #familyfriendly #familytravelblogger #oregonbeer #behindthescenesfootage #amazingartwork #uniqueexperience @mcmenaminsofficial ♬ Astro Beat – Staysee
You can enjoy a drink in one of Salem’s most historic buildings at Boon’s Treasury in Northeast Salem. The pioneer-era building takes its name from its first owner, John Boon, one of Salem’s founding fathers.
The building served most of its years as a general store, and was once the haunt of a child named Herbert Hoover. Today, guests enjoy dining in the building’s brick-and-wood interior or its lovely beer garden. Walk just a few blocks to visit the site where the City of Salem began.
McMenamin’s has two other mid-valley locations. McMenamin’s Corvallis Pub and McMenamin’s on Monroe can both be found in Corvallis.
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Santiam’s restaurant not only specializes in British pub fare but also serves classic American pub grub as well. Their restaurant offers a tap selection of over 15 beers and ciders, and a cask bar that serves conditioned ales on tap. Noteworthy brews include their Bloody Hell Imperial IPA (8.5% ABV / 83 IBU) and their Daydream Tropical IPA.
The first Latinx brewery in the Pacific Northwest can be found in West Salem. This family-friendly brewery specializes in house-brewed European ales and lagers. Xicha’s Salem and Eugene locations offer their craft brews and fresh-made, Latin American dishes.
Shades of Brew
Salem’s newest beer center has had a strong start over the last year. Shades of Brew has not only seen a strong opening to their North Salem brewpub, but has also acquired a South Salem location that once housed Bine Valley Brewing.
@dinkumtribe Shades of Brew is in Hayesville, Oregon (just outside of Salem). They offer dozens of local brews in a family friendly environment. @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #brewpub #brewpubs #salemismopo #oregoncraftbeer #craftbeertok #craftbrewery #craftbeergeek #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #pnwfamilies #oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog #familytravelblog #familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids ♬ Good Day – Nappy Roots
Shades of Brew offers a strong selection of food and drink options. Their pub features both their own brews and the beers of fellow Salem breweries. You can find your own version of delicious at any one of the food trucks to be found beside Shades of Brew’s Hayesville location.
B² Taphouse & Brewery
Salem’s Best Restaurants
The Salem area has several quality restaurants. Here are eight to consider:
- Taproot: Clean & Green BrewPub
- Silver Falls Brewery Ale House
- Markum Inn: Historic Willamette Valley Steakhouse
- The Cozy Taberna: Top-notch Spanish Tapas
- The Noble Fox: Silverton’s Posh Whiskey Hub
- Magnolia Grill: Gourmet Food in an Intimate Setting
- Akatsuki Sushi Bar: Fantastic Sushi on Silver Creek
- Ratchet Brewery: Casual Brews and Car Culture
For Tomorrow We Die Brewing
One of Salem’s youngest brewpubs can be found in South Salem’s brewery district. For Tomorrow We Die Brewing Co. is earning a reputation to go with its extra long, biblical name.
Guests speak highly of FTWD’s food, beer, and atmosphere. Brews include Griffin’s Gold, Golden Ale (ABV 5%, IBU 20) and Gonna Be A Great Day IPA (ABV 7.10%, IBU 75).
Their most intriguing brew may be Love Thy Neighbor, an ancient-style beer made in collaboration with their neighbor, Santiam Brewing. The beer is built from a base that’s half honey and half barley. The end result is a brew that’s 8.4% ABV but only has an IBU of 10.
La Familia Cider Company
Enjoy locally made cider with a Mexican twist. La Familia Cider Company weds craft cider with Mexican aguas frescas to produce incredible combinations including Jamaica Hisbiscus Cider and Guayaba Guava Cider. You can find La Familia on Court Street in downtown Salem.
Breweries Salem Oregon Obituary
Unfortunately, some breweries in Salem Oregon have closed their doors. Here are few that you may be looking for but won’t be able to enjoy:
- Salem Ale Works
- Vagabond Brewing
- Bine Valley Brewing
Midvalley Breweries Salem Oregon
Nearly every city and town in the Willamette Valley has its own craft brewery, if not craft community! From monks to race cars you can find any number of ways to enjoy a drink in the midvalley region.
Benedictine Brewery, Mt. Angel
Rachet Brewing, Silverton (check out their new location in Salem!)
Silver Falls Brewery, Silverton
Snow Peak Brewing Co., Stayton
Stayton’s first craft brewery is an open air brewery known for good drinks, live music, and food truck grub. We did not see any families at this brewpub.
Parallel 45 Brewing, Independence
This Independence brewery is beloved for its excellent beer and quality food cart meals. People speak very highly of Parallel 45’s craft beer.
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Salt Creek Cider House, Dallas
Here’s a Dallas area cidery has a reputation for great service. This beautiful farmhouse business offers a strong selection of quality ciders.
Calapooia Brewing, Albany
Calapooia Brewing is Albany’s friendly neighborhood Pub. People appreciate this place for it’s great variety of microbrews, good menu, and dog-friendly atrium.
Delux Brewing Company, Albany
Sky High Brewing, Corvallis
Enjoy a brew with a view on Sky High’s balcony and rooftop dining areas. Sky High is popular so be prepared to wait a bit if you’re going during peak hours.
Upcoming Breweries Salem Oregon
There’s much more to be said about the craft breweries in Salem Oregon. We will be featuring Oregon’s craft beer movement as it continues its rapid growth across the state.
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©️ Copyright Brian A. Warren 2023.