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You Are Now Entering Another Dimension: Portal Brewing

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As the name would suggest, Portal is a hole-in-the-wall brewery that takes you off the concrete streets of Medford, and into another world. Not some over-the-top fantasy world, or a bar with a gimmicky theme.  Instead, Portal Brewing is a place with hand painted comics, hanging on the wall.  It’s the home of a signpost, pointing in the direction of long-time regulars (a sort of trophy for getting to know the owners).  Portal is a brewery with hand painted growlers, hand crafted beer labels, and a menagerie of wonderful books for customers to read.  My favorite: How to Talk to your Cat about Gun Safety.

Portal is an opening into another dimension of beers. Beers with tea, with peanut butter, with dates and yams.  Beers with cherries and chocolate. But also the staples: strong IPA’s, easy Session ales, flavorful stouts, and fun seasonals.

Portal isn’t just some side project started by a guy with too much time and money on his hands.  It’s run by a husband and wife, Mike and Theresa. I asked if they served sample trays, a question akin to asking a hospital if there serve medicine, and Mike said dryly, “Yeah, six samples of 20 oz. Hope you brought a wheelbarrow.” Then smiled and asked me what I’d like.

All of their beers had their own distinct flavor, texture and aroma. My favorite was their Mugshot Ale. A Cherry Chocolate Whiskey Sour Porter. Yes. All of that. The phrase I want to use is “life changing.”

But what I love most about Portal is its personality. It’s clearly a business of love for these two. Mike has been brewing since the 70s, and they’ve given the hole-in-the-wall a healthy handful of their own flair. It’s a worthy spot for locals and travelers alike, and should be on everyone’s list of drinking destinations in Medford.


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