It might be a bit of a stretch to say that Astoria was pulled out of a depression by a pint glass of IPA, but it’s not far from the truth. As the fishing and timber industries that once fueled this river town waned, the community looked to tourism – and the associated businesses it can help build – to fill the void. Along with boutique hotels, chef-driven restaurants, and museums that celebrate the history of this oldest-American-settlement-West-of-the-Rockies, one product in particular helped guide Astoria to its position as one of the brightest spots on the Oregon Coast: beer.
"Craft beer has been a thing here since 1997,” recalls Dan Bartlett, an Astoria-based beer enthusiast – known as "the beeradmiral" -- who has helped the area’s brew scene grow through efforts like Oregon’s North Coast Ale Trail. “That’s when the Wet Dog Café installed a brewery, and the rest, they say, is history. I remember being at a conference in 2013 where two brewery owners and a distiller spoke about Astoria's ‘Revitalization, One Pint at a Time.’ Today, our craft beer scene just keeps getting better."
Here’s a taste of some of the surprising number of breweries and brewpubs you’ll find in this river town of fewer than 10,000 people, and what you might want to try on their taps.
Astoria Brewing Company
Named after Astoria’s first brewery established in 1872, Astoria Brewing Company, welcomes visitors with a wide variety of beer styles brewed at their facility in the iconic Andrew and Steve’s Building.
Taste: Red Beard Amber
Buoy Beer, a 20-barrel brewery, restaurant and tap house, occupies the historic waterfront New England Fish Co. building originally built in the 19th century. A glass floor in the lobby lets visitors watch the sea lions relaxing on the pier below.
Taste: Buoy Czech Pils
Ft. George Brewery
Built on the site of the original Astoria settlement, Fort George Brewery is Astoria’s largest brewery. 2013, “the Fort” expanded its pub to a second floor overlooking downtown and the Columbia River, making it arguably one of the most scenic breweries in Oregon.
Taste: Vortex IPA
The Growler Guys Astoria
Before heading out of town, stop at The Growler Guys growler fill station to pick up a bit of Astoria to take home from their selection of 32 regional brews on tap.
Hondo’s Brew & Cork
Located near Pier 39, Hondo’s Brew & Cork is a one-stop-shop for a pint, growler fill, bottles from around the world and home brewing supplies. The taproom features 12 rotating craft beer taps– four brewed in-house and eight guests – with a small menu of beer-pairing nibbles.
Taste: Big Dog Bourbon Stout
Rogue Ales Public House
An Oregon Coast classic, Rogue Ales Public House can be found on the east side of town in the historic Bumble Bee Tuna building at Pier 39. Take the trolley from downtown or bike along the Astoria Riverwalk.
Taste: Dead Guy Ale
Wet Dog Café & Brewery
A cornerstone of the riverfront district, the Wet Dog Café is home to an eclectic selection of house-brewed and guest taps. During summer months, snag a seat on the deck and wave at passing trolley riders.
Taste: Killer Whale IPA
Win your own beer lovers getaway
Are you thirsty yet? Click here to see a taste of Astoria’s beer scene and enter to win (before February, 2016) an overnight stay at the Commodore Hotel and a big batch of gift cards from most of the beer spots mentioned here.