BY KRISTIN GRIFFIN
348 US-101, Yachats, 541-547-3884, yachatsbrewing.com. 11:30 am-9 pm Monday-Friday, 11:30 am-10 pm Saturday, 10 am-7 pm Sunday.
Yachats Brewing owner Nathan Bernard is a builder, not a brewer. But Bernard, who started the brewery as a way of having stable work near the farm he bought upriver from Yachats, has been able to recruit talent to this special little corner of the Oregon Coast. Brewer Aaron Gillham bottles what's most magical about this region—its funk, its rugged landscape and its offbeat charm. Year-round favorites take their names from local landmarks—the Perpetua Xtra Pale Ale and the deliciously piney Thor's Well IPA—while seasonals feature unique but apt pairings of in-season fruit. The Cranberry Sour, a fall favorite, took home a bronze from the Best of Craft Beer Awards in 2017, and is the perfect blend of tart cranberries and sour funk that is neither funky nor yeast. If you really want something unique, look for the Salal Sour, the product of a labor-intensive process that required harvesting the tart berries indigenous to this section of the Coast. Beer isn't the only thing fermenting here. Nathan's wife Cicely Bernard is a longtime advocate of fermented fruits and vegetables, and everything that comes out of the kitchen has something fermented on it, from probiotic Thousand Island to many varieties of kraut. The Bernards are big into permaculture, and few places in the world feel as genuinely in-tune with their surroundings as this coastal gem.
Nearby: You've seen the bumper sticker, now see the caves. Sea Lion Caves (91560 U.S. 101, Florence, sealioncaves.com) are the largest sea caves in the country and sit just few miles south of Yachats. This two-acre stone cathedral is home to a colony of Steller sea lions, the much larger cousin to the more common California sea lions. These hulking beasts can grow to 2,500 pounds, and you'll get a good look at them after riding the elevator down to the cave floor.