By Brian Yaeger
Where spruce and fir forests flow along plentiful rivers to the mighty Pacific, the Oregon Coast is abundant in beauty but has always been deficient in beer. The tide is finally turning. Meet the new coastal breweries.
7 Devils Brewing
245 S. 2nd St., Coos Bay
Considering a new brewery opens somewhere in Oregon seemingly every week, the offspring of Carmen Matthews and his wife Annie Pollard holds the distinction of the newest one. (At least it did...) Two years in the planning, you could say it was several years, considering Matthews said both he and Annie had mused about opening their own brewpub as homebrewers before they’d even met. Their pub with a seven-barrel system aims to be a community hub – kids are welcome inside, and the family dog will be able to dine al fresco in the “rain garden” in the works, just one of the eco-friendly touches at this spot that also welcomes local artists of visual, musical and, of course, culinary stripes. The debut beers are all hop-centric – a pale ale, an IPA, and a session-strength number – or for the teetotalers and minors, Carmen said they plan to introduce a ginger beer (the non-alcoholic kind).
Yachats Brewery + Farmstore
348 Highway 101 N., Yachats
As with most coastal towns, the population of Yachats surges in the summer, but even for those who live here year-round, getting their own brewery will make it more spectacular. That’s why Nathan Bernard and his wife Cicely are currently building a brewery within their new farm store, stocking farm and garden supplies as well as über-fresh produce and food goods from local farmers. The three-story structure that will house the ten-barrel brewery where Chuck Porter from Logsdon Farmhouse Ales will be moonlighting is set to feature a tasting room on the top floor for epic views. Porter’s planned beers include Perpetua Belgian Pale and a Coastal Dark Ale. Porter and Bernard are fishing buddies, so the brewery is, as Nathan says, a way “to build Charles a playhouse.”
Twisted Snout Brewing/Pig Feathers BBQ
318 S. Main St., Toledo,
Inland from Newport and worth the detour off Highway 101 for the barbecue alone, you’ll find Stu and Becky Miller’s little joint in the tiny town of Toledo. Stu is a state barbecue champ and began making barbecue sauce in his teens. He also took up homebrewing before turning 21. He’s 50 now, so he’s been perfecting his brewing and barbecuing for a while. Focusing on pork ribs and chicken wings, the Millers called their restaurant Pig Feathers in 2007. Fodor’s dubbed it “the best barbecue restaurant in the Pacific Northwest.” The Millers added Twisted Snout Brewery two years ago so diners can wash everything down with any of the dozen beers on tap. Twisted Snout IPA works great, but try the Raspberry Squeal (have you noticed all great BBQ joints serve fruit sodas?) or Honey Oatmeal Porker (a porter) for the perfect complements. Even Stu acknowledges, “It’s the best bbq beer that we do.”
1902 Second St., Tillamook
This brand new coastal brewery without a tasting room – brewer Trevor Rogers is keenly aware the fan base for his beers is primarily Portland beer geeks, not locals yet — or even a website beyond a Facebook page, is already making waves with their Belgianesque beers. Start with an infinitely sessionable, 2.1% tart ale akin to a Berliner Weisse that’s called Bu Weisse (the name is both a nod to the Morrocan word for “my” as well as owner Linsey Hamacher’s cat, although Rogers successfully proposed to Hamacher at De Garde’s debut at BeerMongers so Bu is their cat). From there, Rogers goes in every direction, including Chanin Blanc Regards, a double IPA with wild yeast, wine grapes and finished in gin barrels. But while this wine-loving brewer makes ample use of fruit, ultimately, “I just try to get out of the way of the yeast,” says Trevor. “I wanna let wild ale be wild.”
UPDATE 12/30/13 -- DEGARDE NOW HAS A TASTING ROOM, 1902 SECOND ST., TILLAMOOK.
851 Broadway St.
Four blocks east of the beach along Broadway Street on the more mature end of this main drag is a new brewpub with quite a history. Where the main bar rests was once the drunk tank in this former City Hall. Original prison bars remain. Founded by Jimmy Griffin and partner Vince Berg, the brewery debuted in the summer of 2012 on a ten-gallon homebrew system, transitioned to a single-barrel brewery they cobbled together, and finally realized their initial vision of a fifteen-barrel brewery. Jimmy and Vince were managers at Rogue Ales, not brewers, yet their beers rock as much as nearby landmark Haystack Rock. From an imperial version of Lockup IPA called Lockdown Double IPA, which boasts huge pine notes boosted by dry-hopping with citrusy Simcoes, to Black Dynamite imperial stout with bourbon-soaked vanilla beans and cacao nibs generating both bitterness and roastiness enjoyable snifter after snifter, these guys have chops.
2703 Marine Dr., Astoria,
A smattering of homebrew supply shops have added bottle shops then taken the next logical step and become licensed to add a nanobrewery onsite, which is the route R. J. Kiepke has taken with Hondo’s Brew & Cork, which opened in 2005 and just added Brewpub and Taproom to its name. More than a healthy walk from Ft. George and Astoria Brewing (and the forthcoming River Barrel Brewing), this half-barrel brewery (soon to double in size!) offers a low-key hangout with a dozen taps (including guest taps), cheap munchies, open-mic for musicians on Fridays and a large selection of beer geek–worthy bottles (as well as ciders and wine). And should you be low on acidulated malt or PET carboys, they’ve got you covered there, too.
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.