written and photographed by Jeremy Storton 


I’ve been suspicious of old Saint Nick for years. Not whether he exists. Rather, does he really drink just milk? If milk does a body good, then why does he have a little round belly that shakes when he laughs like a bowl full of jelly? Using deductive reasoning, I think the jolly old elf cracks open a well-deserved winter warmer at the end of his long shift.

So then, what kind of beer does a hard-working, world-traveling, nonprofit-managing citizen drink at the end of a hard day? If he travels the world in a night, shouldn’t he have his pick? Does he prefer an old cask ale from the Isles, a Baltic porter closer to home, or a Belgian Kriek ripe with oak and dark cherries? Perhaps he has a penchant for new world imperial IPAs. The choice must be overwhelming, but nonetheless, the choice is his.

Such is our fortunate plight. We have a choice in the form of bottle shops that, depending on our choices, can take us on a tour of the world all in one night. Oregonians love IPAs, sours and many others, but when is the last time we enjoyed a smoky German rauchbier with a ham, a Belgian framboise with cookies or a Spanish honey-rosemary gastro ale with hors d’oeuvres? Perhaps it’s time to get into the holiday spirit and give worldly gifts in nicely capped brown glass packages. After all, they fit perfectly in a stocking.

beer bottle shop

Our Picks for International Holiday Beer Gifts

La Socarrada
Xátiva, Spain
Ale brewed with rosemary and rosemary honey. ¡Salud!
sublimeimports.com

Schlenkerla Rauchbier
Bamberg, Germany
Traditional malty and smoky. Perfect with meats.
schlenkerla.de

Mort Subite Kriek Lambic
Brussels, Belgium
Full-bodied, complex, dark Belgian cherries.  Makes “sudden death” taste mmm-mmm good!
alamortsubite.com

Fuller’s Vintage Ale
London, England
Exceptionally smooth, malty with notes of sherry and cognac. Jolly good!
fullers.co.uk

Oregon Bottle Shops

Many neighborhood grocery stores have ramped up their beer offerings, especially the higher-end gourmet ones. Check out their beer aisle after you grab your groceries. Otherwise, below are some bottle shops worthy of a special trip.

bier stein

photo courtesy of The Bier Stein

Central

The Brewshop: Brewing supplies and over 500 beers to inspire.
1203 NE 3rd St, Bend | thebrewshopbend.com

Broken Top Bottle Shop:  They’re not a brew pub, they’re a brew hub!
1740 NW Pence Ln #1, Bend | btbsbend.com

North

Volcanic Bottle Shop:  Go for the bottle, stay for the foosball and the music.
1410 12th St, Hood River | volcanicbottleshoppe.com

Route 30 Bottles & Brews:  Beer, art, music and motorcycles driving through.  Not bad!
317 E 2nd St, The Dalles | route30.beer

South

Beerworks: More than 600 bottles to keep beer enthusiasts busy.
323 E Main St, Medford | facebook.com/beerworks

Old 99 Road: Approximately 100 different bottles, mostly West Coast selections, with a few imports sprinkled in.
18 Stewart Ave, Medford | old99beerwine.com

beer bottle shop

 Willamette 

John’s Marketplace:  If Portland is beervana, John’s Market is the temple.  Amen!
3535 SW Multnomah Blvd, Portland | johnsmarketplace.com

Belmont Station:  An intimate neighborhood icon that aims to educate the palate and placate the thirst.
4500 SE Stark St, Portland | belmont-station.com

The Bier Stein:  More than 1,000 bottles in one ginormous beer fridge.
1591 Willamette St, Eugene | thebierstein.com

beer bottle shop

Coast

Wine and Beer Haus:  An “outlet” with 500 craft bottles to choose from.
Inside the Seaside Factory Outlet Center | 1111 N Roosevelt Dr #350, Seaside