Best Beer Places In Salem

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I was thinking of compiling a list of the places in Salem with the best taps and bottle selections. The amount of good beer in Salem has been on the increase and I’m discovering that many bars I had once written off are now carrying craft beers (other then Widmer or Deschutes), and good craft beers at that. So, I’m asking you guys to help me out and let me know what your favorite bars and bottle shops are and why.

Here are the things I want to know

Good Beer

A Deschutes, Widmer, or Pyramid tap doesn’t count unless it’s either rotating, or unusual beers from those breweries Does the bar have dedicated taps to a specific brewery? What about for a specific style? Do all taps rotate or just a few? How many taps are there?

Atmosphere

To me atmosphere is a consideration that comes last. For most people however atmosphere is important.

Food

Does the bar serve Bar Grub (fries and the like)? Pub Grub perhaps (burgers, fish and chips, etc.)?

Prices

Any bar that serves shaker pints for much more then $4 is hard for me to go out of my way to visit, but it may not be for some

Bottle Selection

For a store to have a good beer selection it should meet 2 or more requirements from the list

Selection – a decent cross section  of different beers and brewers
Style Diversity– a bottle shop stocking 90% IPA’s and light lagers doesn’t have much diversity does it?
Imports– A great selection of Oregon and American beers is commendable, but there are other beers outside the US that are good
Uncommon Beers – A store that carries hard to find bottles of beer is already ahead of the game
Prices – Does a $10 bottle at one store cost $13 at another (looking at you World Market)?

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7 Responses to “Best Beer Places In Salem”

  1. Carlos says:

    Venti’s and I know what your going to think….but I like Boons and so do alot of other people.

    Sorry Jared, I know your thoughts on Boons.

    LOS!

  2. Jack R., aka, jbx says:

    I will pass on Salem’s best beer bar since I have familial connection to Venti’s.

    Salem’s best beer shop / beer depot is Capital Market.
    It has an amazingly large selection. Its prices are competitive [of course, 6’ers on sale at a grocery store are cheaper].

    The proprietor, Mr. Henry Fu, has re-purposed a former Safeway grocery story into a beer depot.

    The east wall is lined by coolers, labeled by source location, of foreign and craft beer. There must more than 200 unique beers.

    The aisle next to the east wall cooler are filled with non-refrigerated bottles of beer.

    The coolers on the other two walls contain the BMC beer, et cetera.

    The only other beer depot I know that has a larger selection is Liquor Mart, Boulder, Colo.

  3. Jared says:

    C’mon Jack, there are other bars besides Venti’s 🙂 Surely you’ve been to some.

    The purpose of this list I’m making is a resource for people who are interested in finding great beer in Salem, so I’ll take anything, biased or unbiased.

    @Carlos

    Boon’s does serve some ok beer, regardless of my feelings towards it 🙂

  4. Capital Taps says:

    Problem with the Capital Market is storage. You’ve no doubt noticed how hot it gets in there in the summertime? The bottles are stored on shelves on the main floor and then moved to the refrigerator case. I’ve had too many bottles that were oxidized or otherwise compromised from the heat and long storage. So Jack, you gotta hit the Belmont Station in Portland.

    Unfortunately, the fall-off after Venti’s is long and hard. Brown’s is pretty great, too, but I find it has less character than Venti’s; it’s a little generic, alas, though the Ninkasi set is very nice. Otherwise, tap handles are pedestrian around town, and I’m waiting for new revelations.

    I’ll be interested to read what your correspondents and readers have to say.

  5. Jared says:

    @capital taps

    What’s your take on La Capitale?? I’ve heard alot of good things about it, but haven’t made it in yet.

    Also I agree with the handling at Capital Market. The only store I have yet to get a skunked/bad beer from is Fred Myers. Even Roth’s and World Market dish out improperly handled beers.

  6. John says:

    La Capitale has a rotating tap selection that tends to lean toward euro/Belgian styles and rivals Venti’s on a smaller scale. They usually have some that reappear frequently, like TG IPA.

  7. Capital Taps says:

    Nah, haven’t been to La Capitale…have to check it out! Though I peeked in the window, and I’m pretty sure I saw Stella Artois. Just sayin’…

    John- can you drop a full taplist here? When you say Euro styles, do you mean American triples and saisons? Or the real deal? Thanks!

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