Ben and I are huge beer lovers and we've (semi-recently) been on a mission to try beer at all of the Portland breweries. In most cities, this could be a Saturday task. But here, there are about 58 breweries, and counting, in the metro area alone and then many a brewery speckling the surrounding towns. We've done beer tasting across the bridge in Vancouver and Longview, Washington. We've gone to the coast and quickly tasted at about four or five breweries. And we've tried most of the breweries in Eugene (we need to hit Salem)... but Portland defies us.
The current brewery count stands at 27/58. Coalition Brewing in SE Portland was the 27th brewery we tried and it didn't disappoint. It was a bit hard to find, but I suspect that was due to it being on the opposite side of the street than Google said, but once we did find it, we loved the industrial/tap-room feel. Unlike many of Portland's more dressed up breweries with long tables, exposed wood, and a lot of glass separating you from the actual brewing going on - Coalition is a true brewery and tap room in one. There are a few chairs around barrels and you sit amidst the currently fermenting beer, bags of grain, and all the smells that go with the process of making beer. This definitely appealed to Ben and he spent a lot of time wandering around looking at the equipment and watching the beer bubble away.
Their beer? Really good! They had some experimental beers on tap and my favorite was a honey wheat (surprising, as I'm normally a straight IPA girl). The rest of their beer was very high quality - none of that home brew taste or high-alcohol element of inexperienced brewers. I liked their IPA a lot and Ben was a big fan of the coffee IPA. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone that likes American-style beers, IPAs, and has a soft-spot for the experimental (honey wheats, coffee IPAs, heavier stouts, porters). Coalition wasn't just an IPA house, so I think it'd be a great spot for people that all have different personal tastes.