In 1979 home brewing was legalized in Oregon. Kurt and Rob Widmer, having trouble finding a beer that they liked in Portland, decided to embark upon the adventure of making beer for themselves and friends. Five years later, they decided to turn their hobby into a career and cobbled together funds to open their brewery. They scrounged up parts and opened in an industrial space in what now is the Pearl District.
Starting with two types of beer, Altbier and Weizenbier, their interpretation of a filtered wheat beer. In 1986 the Dublin Pub, who carried their first two beers, wanted Widmer to expand their offerings and having only two fermenters at the time, they simply took their Weizenbier and left it unfiltered to make their now famous, first American-style, Hefeweizen which simply translates as “yeast wheat”. Next they created Festbier making them the first U.S. brewery to offer a full four seasonal beer line-up. Widmer launched the Oregon Brewers Festival which is held each July at Waterfront Park now with over 80 breweries and more than 70,000 in attendance each year.
1990 saw the moving of the brewery from downtown to our Eliot Neighborhood where it is still housed today. In 1996, the nations largest draft-only brewery started bottling their beers. They also have created the Collaborator Project with the home brewers club “Oregon Brew Crew” which allows beer makers to collaborate on making new creative beers and have them brewed on a large scale. Today, 31 beers from the collaborators project have been chosen and some have won national awards.
The Widmer Pub is an extension of the brand and allows visitors to share in a great meal while trying some of the Widmer brother’s creative and delicious beers. You can even take a growler home full of your favorite brew. The pub and brewery are located at 955 N Russell St.