Beer & Buddies – Astoria, OR

Ready to sample at Fort George Brewery
Ready to sample at Fort George Brewery
Hector snapping away
Hector snapping away

One of the cool things about volunteering here at Cape Disappointment State Park is that we are right across the bridge from Astoria, OR. This excellent little town was founded by fur trader & investor John Astor in 1811 and is the oldest Western settlement in the US. Set alongside the mighty Columbia River it has a long history of maritime links as well as a strong Scandinavian history thanks to the many immigrants that made it this way in the mid 1800’s. I’ve written about this great town before, and everytime we come back we find more things we like about it.

Visually-speaking Astoria has a distinctly unique style with Victorian-style homes staggered along narrow hills that overlook a bustling but compact downtown area and the Columbia River. It’s got a funky and not overly-touristy vibe (just the right mix) with excellent eateries, fun museums, great coffee and a fabulous weekly farmer’s market. Last year we ate at the lovely Columbia Cafe (highly recommended) as well as the not-to-be-missed Bowpicker (for true fish and chip lovers -> as I said, not to be missed!). So, when our RV buddies Island Girl Walkabout wrote that they were in the area we decided to expand our local foodie explorations (purely for the sake of science, naturally) and try some of the breweries in town.

Brewery
Driving across the bridge to the Rogue Brewery
Inside the Old Cannery
Inside the Old Cannery

Turns out Astoria has no less than 5 beer spots, all of which offer an excellent array of samplings. We started our expedition at the Fort George Brewery which offered an extensive “flight” of 12 beers for $18. Food doesn’t get a great rap here, so we focused on the ale and only ordered a simple appetizer to enable the digestive process. Decent beers all-around with the Quick Wit getting my fav vote.

Following our apéritif we meandered over to a spot that Hector had eyed on the way into town. The Rogue Ales Public House is located in a unique area across a rickety wooden bridge on Pier 39 in the old Bumblebee Cannery. We know and love this beer from our days in San Francisco and the place did not disappoint. We ordered a flight of 4 self-chosen beers and sampled the food. The beer was excellent (as expected) and the food mixed (also kinda expected from Yelp reviews, although we did enjoy the fish and chips), but the place got bonus points for pet friendliness (outdoor seating plus a dog menu) as well as outstanding location (you can watch the boats go by on the Columbia River right from your table). Plus I loved the old Cannery museum and coffee shop located in the same area. Definitely a place we’d come to again.

We returned to Cape D well-watered and full just in time to see the clouds disperse for yet another stunningly sunny afternoon. A near-perfect day out. Hector & Brenda are coming over again tonight for a lighthouse tour and some hanging time, plus we’ve got some more socializing set-up for the rest of the week so I predict many more foodie explorations coming. It’s all in the name of science, after all :)

P.S. If you’re in the area, a fabulous book to accompany your travels is the newly released Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire. It’s a well-written and fascinating history of 1810 Astor Expedition and America’s first colony on the continent’s West coast. Great book!

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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

    • libertatemamo says

      Yup, classic Goonies stuff. In fact we just missed the Goonies weekend in Astoria a few weeks back.

      Nina

  1. says

    Oh, I am so green with envy, but so happy for you. I so remember driving over a wooden “dock” to get to the old Bumble Bee place. I loved Astoria. I loved it so much in fact, that if I got to live my life over, I’d live it in Astoria and travel from there. Think maybe my itch to hitch wouldn’t be quite so bad if I were there enjoying everything the area has to offer. Thanks for posting. Keep on having fun!

  2. says

    Oh, it sounds like a Cuban summit again! So enjoyed reading your beerscapades. When we were there the Bowpicker was our main event after walking up to the Astoria Column ( i hope you guys went up there, fantastic views).

    • libertatemamo says

      For sure. We hiked the Astoria Column last year on a gorgeous day. Haven’t made it over this year yet, but with all our lighthouse stair training it should be a breeze.

      Nina

  3. says

    I would be the rig in your rear view mirror from that Rogue dock, in the very (ahem) “eclectic” Pier 38 RV Park/Junkyard. LOL! But the location can’t be beat with the bike path right out my door. Had lunch at Bowpickers yesterday. Yum! See you soon!

    • libertatemamo says

      You are right there?! We actually looked at that RV park while we were eating lunch and thought the location was great. Had I known I would have invited you to join. Too funny!

      Nina

    • libertatemamo says

      Yup. That’s the exact book I linked to in the blog post (bottom). Well worth reading. We’ve both enjoyed it.

      Nina

  4. Anna Williamson says

    Sounds like an awesome place, Oregon is definitely on our list. Happy midsummer to you and Paul. Skål!

    • libertatemamo says

      They’re having an authentic Scandinavian midsummer festival this weekend too! I’m hoping I can make it over to see it.

      Nina

  5. says

    We really enjoyed our time in Astoria, the farmers’ market, the Bowpicker, and the Wet Dog Cafe (liked their Poop Deck Porter). Also the climb up the Astoria Column and the views there were wonderful.

  6. Rowanova says

    Astoria is an awesome place with soooo much to offer, yet so simple and down to earth. Very appreciable.
    Not far from Astoria is Fort Clatsop, the historic replica at the exact location where the Lewis and Clark expedition spent the winter on the Pacific coast. Just wondering of you’ve had oppportunity to visit there? Very worth while.

    • libertatemamo says

      We have not yet been to Fort Clastop. Hoping to go this week-end (maybe). There’s a Scandinavian festival going on in that exact area.

      Nina

  7. says

    Really really excellent pictures Nina. Love that last one with the boys in gray and the beer in color. Astoria almost got me to join the Coast Guard.

  8. Rick Garboden says

    Next time you get over to Astoria check out the Wet Dog Café. Great beer and great food. We go every time we are in Astoria.

    • libertatemamo says

      Looks like Wet Dog is getting multiple recommendations. We’re definitely gonna have to check it out.

      Nina

  9. says

    I was never a big fan of science in school, but I’m starting to see the appeal :-). Astoria looks like a delightful place with many experiments yet to be recorded here in your “scientific journal”. Enjoy!!

    • libertatemamo says

      Science is ALWAYS cool…of course what’s the coolest about it is that just about everything you do is related (in some way) to science :)

      Nina

    • libertatemamo says

      It’s a really decent brewery and they are quite creative with their beers. Lots of choice from interesting infusions to serious stouts. We truly enjoyed our tasting there.

      Nina

  10. Pam says

    Wow. We just missed you again! Went to most of the places but ate lunch at Wet Dog Cafe… Yummo! The trolley is suppose to be a good travel fun time but was broke down the 3 days we were there. If you get a chance our friend who lives there highly recommends it! We have moved on to Mount St. Helens, beautiful too :)!

    • libertatemamo says

      Sorry we missed each other. We’re here for the month, but heading out again in July along the OP.

      Nina

  11. Rattlesnake Joe says

    The year 1811 is nothing compared to the Spanish occupation of the west coast like California. San Francisco goes way back long before Astoria. Those Spainards were all over the western USA back before there was a USA. Gold was a greater incentive than fur har har…just ask any pirate…and the Conquistadors were very good pirates…just ask any Native American. :)

    • libertatemamo says

      For sure there is older history in the west -> The Spanish go back a long ways all over the southwest, and even further back are the ancient pueblos of the Native Americans.

      Astoria was not the first town in the entire area…just the first Western/American coastal settlement of that time. The Louisiana Purchase dates from 1803 and I believe the Oregon area had mixed claims at the time of establishment. The great push & settlement of the west didn’t really start until after this time. California was not acquired by the US until much later, around 1848.

      Of course it’s all about how you write it. Every town loves to have their “records” :)

      Nina

  12. Mario-Yo says

    The Sea Runners by Ivan Doig – Four Scandinavians escape a Russian Alaska work camp(Sitka) about 1853 and head for the free world Astoria, Oregon. Fiction based on a historical incident.

    • libertatemamo says

      Yeah, I thought that was the perfect “action” shot, esp. of Hector :) So glad we got to see you out here.

      Nina

  13. Carlene says

    Thanks for taking me home, I moved from Astoria back to my NoCal house about a year and a half ago, leaving an 1886 farmhouse, but will be back there some day. Planning on fulltiming spring 2015, camp hosting in NoCal and Oregon to start with.
    Your blog is a wonderful resource and thanks for so much great info for a researcher soon to be on the road.
    Happy trails!

    • libertatemamo says

      We really, really enjoyed Astoria. Such a vibrant town, but still has a wonderfully laid-back feel. Good luck with all your plans to fulltime.

      Nina

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