1 8th St., Astoria, 503-325-4540, buoybeer.com. 11 am-9 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday.
On a former fishing cannery pier jutting out over the Columbia River, Buoy's brewpub is bathed in light from floor-to-ceiling windows. Buoy also makes some of the finest light lagers in the state, whether it's a clean and biscuity Czech Pilsner that's become a staple all over Oregon or a world-beating helles whose roundness fills the palate. It's one of the finest examples of this tank-intensive style in Oregon. In an inverse of the experience at many Oregon breweries, the stalwart year-round taps—whether IPA, cream ale or dunkel—are usually a more rewarding experience than the one-off seasonals. The burgers, chowder and jalapeño-jam fried Bay oysters are equally reliable, as are the trademark spicy Bloody Marys. In summer, there are the sea lions. While the view from the patio out onto the Columbia River is nice, it's more fun to look through the brewpub's glass floor, where rutting, grunting sea lions are mere feet below. This, predictably, turns the thick glass floor into Romper Room, as adults maneuver around children sprawling above Astoria's most hilarious nuisance.
Nearby: On Cannery Pier a bit west of Buoy, you'll find a little dockside canning shop called Northwest Wild Products (354 Industry St., 503-791-1907), where fishers clean their catch before selling it to the cannery. There, get live crab or crawdads, shucked oysters, a whole fresh Dungeness crab or the finest chowder in Astoria, Ron's Phone Chowder, so thick with crab and shrimp it might as well be étouffée. The owner has a strange fetish for weird meat, so this is also the spot in Astoria where you can get python, frog legs or a kangaroo steak.