no. 225

"It's not too hoppy," Brandon Snyder says, pouring an ounce of Bitter Root Brewing's signature IPA into a tiny red cup. "You can taste your food with it."

It's one of 14 beers in tow at a tasting night for LGM, a young, Portland-based distributor that works with four western breweries, some as far away from Oregon as Bitter Root's Montana. (Out there, "bitter" is apparently code for "pleasantly mild.") Synder used to work for a bigtime, corporate distributor. He likes this better.

"We're smaller, but we pack a punch," he says.

In a bright corner of Belmont Station's bottle shop, he draws a crowd of gray-haired craft fans curious to hear about Simcoe hops and the return of the Black IPA. Plus one gentleman who isn't going to waste the opportunity.

"What do you want to try?" Snyder asks.

"All of them," he answers.

—David Greenwald