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The state's brewers stand as tall as Haystack Rock when it comes to their skill and creativity at hand-crafting brews, and coastal brewers are no exception. Craft brews have taken their place at coastal Oregon's tables, not just to wash down a great burger but as course pairings in fine restaurants. Of course, with so many miles of scenic 101 to cover, you'll need to keep it safe and legal. You can taste samples at each spot, or abandon yourself to sudsy indulgence under the care of a bartender and a designated driver. From Astoria in the north to Brookings in the south, here are the top stops on Oregon's Coastal Ale Trail.
Fort George Brewery & Public House is located on Astoria's original 1811 settlement site. The region's rich history, a long list of sophisticated brews and fine pub fare set the bar high for your epic coastal ale trail. Their 1811 Lager made with barley and cracked corn sets the calendar back to popular pre-prohibition ales. And among IPA fans, Vortex has earned a fond reputation.
1483 Duane Street (503) 325-7468
Wet Dog Cafe & Astoria Brewing Company's riverfront deck screams summer! Hop off the waterfront trolley and there you are. Indulge in one of their award-winning brews, such as Bitter Bitch Imperial IPA, a refreshing pairing with a Razor Clam Burger or one of the other dozens of burgers on the menu.
144 11th Street (503) 325-6975
Sand Trap Pub is the watering hole and eatery at the newly opened McMenamins Gearhart Hotel, an excellent spot to indulge in McMemanins famous brews. When you've had your fill, get a room upstairs and turn in for the night. The next morning, play the property's 18-hole public golf course – among the oldest west of the Mississippi.
1157 N. Marion Avenue (503) 717-8150
Bill's Tavern & Brewhouse is an oasis of hand-crafted beer a block off the ocean in the heart of Cannon Beach. Unpretentious pub grub, award-winning brews and mingling with friendly locals are what this establishment is all about. Tip: For something a little different, try Blackberry Beauty.
188 N. Hemlock Street (503) 436-2202
Pelican Pub & Brewery, located at uber-scenic Cape Kiwanda, home of the coast's second Haystack Rock, is a warm and stylish beachfront pub. Here, indulge. The brews are expertly crafted on site and the fine pub fare is some of the best on the coast. To completely overindulge, order a Tsunami Stout Float for dessert, and then head across the street to bed down in luxury at Cape Kiwanda Inn.
33180 Cape Kiwanda Drive (503) 965-7007
Lighthouse Brewpub, another McMenamins establishment, was the first brewpub to open on the Oregon Coast. This light-filled, festive pub pours McMenamins brews crafted on site and serves up satisfying Northwest pub food from a broad and eclectic menu. This pub is a true original on the Oregon Coast and in the state's behemoth brew scene.
4157 N. Highway 101 (541) 994-7238
Rusty Truck Brewing & Roadhouse 101, at the south end of town not far from Inn at Spanish Head, is the Central Coast's spot for pit barbeque and refreshing, house-made brews. A few Procrastinator Stouts and an order of St. Louis-style ribs bathed in the chef's own Sugar Shack Sauce might have you lingering until closing time.
4649 SW Highway 101 (541) 994-7729
Rogue Ales rules in Newport with two brew pubs: Brewers on the Bay (the former location of the brewery) and Rogue Ales Public House (the present location of the brewery). Both the Public House and Brewers on the Bay serve Rogue's fine lineup of brews and offer a pub menu dressed up with gourmet ingredients. At Brewers on the Bay, soak up the Yaquina Bay view and take a brewery tour. Feeling daring? Try a Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale.
Rogue Ales Public House 748 SW Bay Blvd.
Brewers on the Bay 2320 OSU Drive
(541) 867-3664 www.rogue.com
Wakonda Brewing Company is legendary on this stretch of coast. Small and family-run, Wakonda serves as the go-to stop for anyone craving some elevated brews. Their tasting room is welcoming, funky (in a good way) and unassuming, but their beers demand attention. It's a long drive between Newport and Brookings Harbor, so this stop in Florence is a must on the coastal ale trail. Here, sample what's on hand; you might never find them again.
1725 Kingwood Street, #4 (541) 991-0694
Wild River Brewing, located at Wild River Pizza, sits a few miles from the California border at the end of your long and spectacular journey. How many fresh, locally crafted brews have you sampled along the coastal ale trail? Unless you've taken copious tasting notes, no one knows. Wild River Brewing is the place to add a few more to the list, such as the Wild River IPA or the old-world Double Eagle Imperial Stout. Enjoy one of their famous pizzas to celebrate the end of your epic ale trail journey.
16279 Highway 101 South; (541) 469-7454