Top of the Shelf: Saisons | Imperial Stouts | Imported IPAs | Wheat Beers | Barleywines


Buoy

1 8th St., Astoria, 325-4540, buoybeer.com.

Situated on the planks of the Riverwalk overhanging the Columbia, year-old Buoy has already established itself as a treasure of the Oregon Coast. Outside, sea lions bark as cargo ships creep by. Inside, a buoy-shaped tasting tray includes an excellent IPA and an even better Helles. There's no fish and chips when bar pilots can't find a way into open water, because Buoy never freezes its fish. If so, get the smoked salmon plate with capers, thin-sliced onions and soft pita triangles. Kids love the glass floor panels looking down to the water-level docks.


Fort George

1483 Duane St., Astoria, 325-7468, fortgeorgebrewery.com.

The big boy on the block, Fort George is known for its line of canned beers, huge barrel program and Vortex IPA, which recently got better thanks to a fresh hop blend. The massive two-story tasting room is a full-scale restaurant featuring crispy wood-fired pizza, an expansive view of the hilly little city, and a wide-ranging 13-glass tasting flight.


Astoria Brewing/Wet Dog Cafe

144 11th St., Astoria, 325-6975, wetdogcafe.com.

The Wet Dog's been around for 20 years and brewing for 18, making it one of the state's older breweries. Most of the beers are muddy, tasting of aged hops and waterlogged yeast, but there are a lot of them (19 on our visit) plus a nice view from the patio, a trolley stop nearby and a warm little mancave called the saloon where you can sit on leather couches while sipping tall and skinny taster mugs.


Albatross

225 14th St., Astoria, 741-3091.

OK, Albatross isn't a dedicated beer bar—and, yes, we're leaving out Hondo's and the Astoria offshoot of Newport-based Rogue—but it's a must-hit. Eric Bechard, one of the state's most lauded chefs, abandoned his Portland fine-dining restaurant to open this pub, which has an incredible burger and weekly specials like elk osso buco with brown butter grits and forest mushrooms. The beer list starts with a $3 Old German tallboy before making a steep climb to expensive and exotic bottles like HaandBryggeriet Krekling, Mikkeller's Black Sap and Logsdon's sought-after Peche 'n Brett.