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TweetHere is the first part in Brewpublic’s 24-hour beer adventure in Astoria, Oregon. Astoria, it turns out, was also home to the first white woman west of the Rockie Mountains, a barmaid named Jane Barnes. Twenty-four hours in Astoria, Oregon is just a tease when it comes to discovering all that the town of just over 10,000 has to offer. I've set out to drive my Jeep Wrangler 80,000 miles in a circumnavigation of the African continent, solo. Here on The Road Chose Me you can read all about my ongoing adventure, see my photos and watch my videos.
After being graciously invited to visit Astoria, Oregon by Laura Herbert of Maxwell PR on behalf of the Astoria-Warrenton tourism board, I was contemplating deeply how to spend the 24 hours I would be there most effectively. After reading some magnificent pieces in Jeff Alworth’s Beervana blog from his travels the weekend before, I became leary of my ability to generate an original perspective of the picturesque sea port city with a handful of craft beer hot spots.
One of the surprises of the trip for me was meeting Dan Bartlett, who played a significant role in educating and entertaining us in many things relating to Astoria’s rich history and passion for craft beer. After visiting Fort George and Wet Dog, we headed up the hill south of downtown to our Bed & Breakfast.
Rona kindly gave us a laundry list of things to do including live music, dining, and historical sites. After our warm greeting by Rona, we reunited with Dan and met his wife Susan for a trip south down the 101.
Before we called it a night we had to stop back by Fort George to share a beer with Chris who was concluding a double shift. This 70 acre park on the scenic Astoria waterfront, gently slopes to the East River between the Hell Gate and Triboro Bridges. From quiet family picnics, to concerts attracting thousands, the park is the premier outdoor facility for our community.
Fort George is also producing a special XVI Chapel Imperial IPA that employs the Ingelmunster yeast strain being used for Portland’s Cheers to Belgian Beers even coming up on May 2.


According to our guide, Bartlett, Barnes “stayed at the Fort, and of course, one lady amongst a bunch of guys created battles and fights. Filled with a staggering amount of things to do and places to see, the city’s general populous seems in tune with much of its rich history.
I knew for certain that Fort George, Wet Dog (Astoria Brewing), and Rogue’s Pier 39 Public House would all be in the equation, but the rest was up in the air. After contemplating what to cover during my 24 hours (some of which I would be asleep), I decided to let go, and let the story come to me. Dan drove us around Astoria and highlighted the architecture of buildings and even obliged our inquiries about some of our favorite cult movies growing up as kids including The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop. Again, we were burdened by having too much fun at our fingertips and not enough time to experience it all. We passed McMenamin’s Sand Trap taproom located on a gorgeous piece of land in neighboring Gearhart. Inside a grand selection of bottled wine and beer greeted us as we walked in.  The man behind the counter, who I believe was named Mike, opened bottles for us and we gathered with other beer geeks. He waited patently while we embarked upon brewery tours and experienced for the first what was familiar to him.
A warming snifter of bourbon barrel-aged Cavatica stout was an appropriate night cap before heading up the hill to the B&B. Offering a dramatic view of the Manhattan skyline, tourist and resident alike are impressed with its setting at any time of day in every season. She went back to Britain and ended up marrying one of the Northwest or Hudson Bay Company guys and she came back (to Astoria).
This might directly correlate with the number of museums and beer bars that outrank Portland per capita. This durable slab granite is recommended for interior and exterior usage even in freezing climates. Laura kindly made a reservation for us to stay at a bed and breakfast in town and also outlined a schedule for which to meet with Chris Nemlowill of Fort George and Bolt Minister of Astoria Brewing.


Still, upon meeting each pillar of the Astoria craft brew community and being questioned as to what my recap would entail, I was again reminded of my quest for a thesis and felt obligated to develop a unique angle. Our room was one of two suites on the second floor of the manor-the owners lodged above on the third floor. The view to the west of the setting sun indicated that a future trip would be needed to soak in this wonderful piece of paradise with a Terminator Stout or a Hammerhead IPA. We felt that the true way that style should be made, if you’re going to call it an IPA, it should have enough hops, that that is the first thing you smell and the nose that you get on that beer. Other than that, the possibilities were circling our heads and only a rough idea of what we’d be doing and when remained. Besides, I was nervous from a distant memory of when I was a kid and my parents took us to a B&B and the whole interface with strangers and sharing a common space. A northern exposure from our room and the adjacent commons area afforded a magnificent view over downtown and the widened entrance of the great Columbia River. What today is known as the city’s Ale Trail, over 100 years ago, might have have been known as  Lager Lane, since the bottom-fermented variety of beer was king back then. Set in a historical landmark, the house built in 1914 featured a beautiful decor that was a mesh of rustic and contemporary styles. Today, a few pubs built after a devastating 1920’s fire that burned away most of downtown Astoria remain. Run by husband and wife team Rona and Skip Davis, we were immediately impressed and relaxed by the open space and Rona, who greeted us.  Original hardwood floors exhibited cross-sectioned old growth slabs unseen in modern architectural design. A grand fireplace was the home’s hearth and giant bay windows allowed for magnificent natural illumination, even during this overcast late afternoon. When I asked him if the pub would carry the bourbon-aged Cavatica, he smiled and said “No.



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