BY GAIL OBERST
The dust has finally settled in the old metal building where 8th Street meets the Columbia River. In Astoria, Oregon, a former cannery is enjoying reincarnation asthe city’s newest brewery.
Buoy Beer Company opened its taproom earlier this year in the 90-year-old cannery once occupied by the New England Fish Company, and most recently by Bornstein Seafoods. Design and construction of the remodel –all done with local labor and talent–took care to retain the character of the building, and repurpose certain elements to ensure its story would remain intact.
The taproom is situated in the former cold storage area, and its four-inch-thicK tabletops are made from wood salvaged during the remodel. The bar and restaurant area features an original fish ladder used to haul fish from the first story to processing on the second. A transparent panel in the floor provides a peek at the near century-old pilings, as well as the occasional sea lion.
The brewery includes a 3-barrel pilot brewhouse that first brewed in mid-December 2013, and a production brewhouse filled with twenty 20- and 40-barrel tanks that were fired up mid-April 2014 to help supply the taproom and beyond. The brewery, taproom, bar, restaurant and kitchen occupy about 12,000 square feet of the 44,000 square-foot building. There will also be a full bar and restaurant featuring a full view of the Columbia River, and are nearing completion, with plans to open in the spring of this year. The taproom, open now, accommodates up to 60 people and serves a carefully curated menu with a focus on fresh local seafood. Dishes are designed specifically to pair with the brewery’s craft lagers and well-balanced ales.
Buoy Beer Company was the brainchild of Luke Colvin, a local arborist and entrepreneur looking for bigger opportunities. With one successful company already under his charge, Colvin had enough of a track record to attract a small group of local investors who could see his vision for the brewery and were willing to back the project. Colvin then assembled a team representing all of the skillsets a successful brewing operation would require. The “founding five,” including Colvin, Dave Kroening, Andrew Bornstein, Dan Hamilton and Jerry Kasinger, were joined last fall by Kevin Shaw, former head brewer and 14-year veteran of BridgePort Brewing Company in Portland.
In the kitchen is Eric Jenkins, former executive chef at Oregon State University’s Seafood Cooking School, and his sous chef Jennifer Chapman.
Buoy Brewing Co.
[a] 1 Eighth St., Astoria
Owners: Luke Colvin, Dave Kroening, Andrew Bornstein, Dan Hamilton and Jerry Kasinger.
Head Brewer: Kevin Shaw
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.