Fort George Brewery
1483 Duane St., Astoria, 503-325-7468, fortgeorgebrewery.com. 11 am-11 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-midnight Friday-Saturday.
COASTAL CASTLE / The hardest part about going to Fort George's giant Astoria stronghold is deciding where to drink inside it. If you're just there for the beer, you'll want the quaint Lovell Taproom that hides at the edge of the cavernous brewhouse—it's here you're most likely to taste one-offs and barrel-aged secrets. Coming for a meal? Head to the pub building across the courtyard. You'll find mostly the same insane stouts and tropical IPAs (in both clear and opaque varieties) at either the upstairs or downstairs bar, but it's tough to pick where to eat: The bottom floor has traditional pub grub, while wood-fired pizza awaits at the top of the spiral steps. As far as I'm concerned, it's a toss-up between the fresh fried fish and chips and the delicately charred pies. Just pick the place that can pour you a pint of IPA the fastest—it's not getting any fresher than this. Parker Hall.
Reach Break Brewing
1343 Duane St., Astoria, 503-468-0743, reachbreak.com. Noon-8 pm Sunday-Thursday, noon-9 pm Friday-Saturday.
AFTERNOON SESH / If you're after a more informal pub experience than what you'll find at Fort George up the street, this food cart pod pub has what you're looking for. There's a small tasting room, but you'll have the most fun here on warm days, when the patio fills with friendly faces both human and canine. Reach Break's strength is bigger, bolder beers. On a recent trip, we were particularly impressed with a barrel-aged imperial stout, which was thick and dessertlike, and the Evolution of an IPA Part: 9, a jammy 8.4 percent brew with just the right amount of hop bite. Also good? The Mai Tong Thai cart, which makes some of the best Thai fried rice we've had outside of Bangkok. Parker Hall.
Buoy Beer Company
1 8th St., Astoria, 503-325-4540, buoybeer.com. 11 am-9 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday.
ON THE WATER / The view from this gorgeous pier-side pub easily ranks among the most astonishing in Oregon. On a clear day, you'll watch massive cargo ships slip into the ocean while drinking pints of lager—the earthy Czech Pils and bready dunkel, which are also among our state's most beautiful things. It's also a great place to take kiddos for seafood. A big glass window in the floor lets them peer down on growling sea lions below, providing enough entertainment for nearly anyone in a queue. Buoy is also a great buy at the grocery store, as the company has taken to bottling in washable, reusable glass. At their place or yours, you can't really pick the wrong thing—from a hoppy, malt-forward IPA to a massive doppelbock, Buoy is one of the best breweries in Oregon. Parker Hall.
de Garde Brewing
114 Ivy Ave., Tillamook, 503-815-1635, degardebrewing.com. 3-7 pm Thursday-Friday, noon-7 pm Saturday, 11 am-5 pm Sunday.
WILD ON THE COAST / As much as any brewery has put Oregon craft beer on the map, de Garde's role is defined by its spontaneous fermentation, a method of making beer that goes back centuries. Trevor and Linsey Rogers started de Garde on a tiny, experimental scale in 2012. Since then, the brewery has attracted worldwide attention. Yes, the beers are often quite tart, but there have been some extraordinary batches produced here—beverages with as much terroir as any highfalutin wine. There's also a huge list of bottles for on-premises consumption, so bring friends and taste the Botanique, which spent two years in gin barrels with lavender flowers; the Purple, also aged in oak along with raspberries; and the Sheer Wonder of It All—that last one is not actually a beer, just the sensation you'll get at de Garde. Don Scheidt.
33180 Cape Kiwanda Drive, Pacific City, 503-965-7007, pelicanbrewing.com. 10:30 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday. 1371 S Hemlock St., Cannon Beach, 503-908-3377. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday,
11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.1708 1st St., Tillamook, 503-842-7007. 11 am-9 pm daily.
BIG BIRD / There are much more interesting beach towns in Oregon than Pacific City. Other than the giant sand dune and Haystack Rock, not much is worth seeing in this sleepy village. So the fact that Pelican Brewing has made it a destination almost entirely on its own is pretty remarkable, even if the concept is a no-brainer: Drop a pub within a few feet of the ocean, and people are bound to come. It's not just the location, either: Pelican's beers are superb. The light and bready Kiwanda Cream Ale has racked up more than 50 awards to date—it tastes as if the brewers envisioned one of those bright, summer days on the coast and wrote a recipe to match. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Tsunami Export Stout, which drinks like a wave of chocolate syrup slamming against your tongue. The 24-year-old brewery's classics have been joined by newer IPA offerings, including Beak Bender, which gets its bold citrus swirl from a custom-made device that allows the brewers to add hops without introducing flavor-degrading oxygen to the batch. That kind of innovation has allowed Pelican to expand its empire—look for the latest pub to open in Lincoln City next year. Andi Prewitt.
1118 SW Canyon Way, Newport, 541-272-5120, newportbrewingcompany.com. 11:30 am-8 pm Monday-Thursday, 11:30 am-9 pm Friday, 11 am-9 pm Saturday, noon-8 pm Sunday.
ANCHORS AWAY | Even before the paint had dried, Newport Brewing was named the best brewery in town, topping the Newport News Times' Best of Newport poll for most outstanding beer—no small feat, given that this is the world headquarters for Rogue. The hype is deserved. Open since last summer, in a sleek, chrome-accented space with nautical touches, Newport Brewing is just a short walk up the hill from the historic bayfront district. There is a mural of an orange octopus unfurling its tentacles across one wall, along with an oversized anchor covered in barnacles ripping through the front of the building. Aside from that attention to design, Sam Zermeño, who came from Black Market Brewing in Temecula, Calif., is creating quality beers to match. The ruby-hued Salty Bay Gose is like sipping the sea, the salinity tempered by the taste of pureed raspberries, and every IPA on tap has its own, nuanced flavor. The Sea Lion was a favorite—brewed with a Pilsner malt base, the typically bold style was mellow and smooth, unlike the beer's bellowing namesake out in the bay. Enjoy it at one of the tables with a personal television set. Mine played reruns of American Gladiator. Andi Prewitt.
If you’re staying:
McMenamins Gearhart Hotel
1157 N Marion Ave., 503-717-8159, mcmenamins.com/gearhart-hotel.
Squeezed between the popular vacation destinations of Seaside and Astoria, tiny Gearhart is an often-overlooked hamlet with its very own McMenamins, which boasts its very own 18-hole golf course—the oldest west of the Mississippi. Unlike many of the historical properties, the rooms here all feature private bathrooms and there's a new watering hole with a bar top crafted from a tree struck by lightning at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse. Book the Beer 101 Overnight Package for a tutorial on McMenamins' ales, which includes lodging, two taster trays and a full growler. Andi Prewitt.