A few days ago, my Hop Press colleague, Jon Abernathy, wrote about Pacific City, Ore., and the small coastal community’s unlikely role as a beer destination, with Pelican Pub and Brewery and Twist Wine Company (owned by the sister of Russian River’s Vinnie Cilurzo).
He mentioned that Twist possibly is the only place on the Oregon coast with Pliny the Elder on tap. Sandy beaches, roaring ocean waves, Pelican’s award-winning beers (they just won nine medals — more than any other craft brewery — at the North American Beer Awards), and a wine tasting room and lounge with Pliny and a few other select craft beers on tap? What could be better?
Well, not to be outdone, this past weekend, the hubby and I spent some time a couple of hours’ drive up north on the Oregon coast, where we enjoyed some good beer experiences as well!On the first Sunday of each month, the Wine and Beer Haus in Seaside, which is just a 90-minute drive from downtown Portland, holds a free beer tasting. And this month, owner Jeff Kilday was featuring Russian River’s beers. While they didn’t have Pliny the Elder on tap, like they do at Twist, the Wine and Beer Haus did have Pliny, this year’s Damnation, 2-year-old Damnation and Supplication in bottles to taste. And the piece de resistance? Consecration on draft! The place was elbow-to-elbow with excited tasters.
The Wine and Beer Haus is always a wonderful stop while on Oregon’s North Coast, with more than 300 bottles of imported and craft beers — arguably the best selection on the coast. You can take your beers to go or enjoy them on-site, hanging out with the locals and semi-locals who keep track of their beers they consume at the Wine and Beer Haus so they can be a part of the annual “beer club” party. It only takes 100 beers to be honored at the celebration, and they give you a full yard of beer to be consumed at the party for your efforts.
The Wine and Beer Haus is arguably in one of the more unusual locations for a beer and wine store, nestled in the far northeast corner of the Seaside Outlet Mall. It’s not uncommon to find a lone man or woman who doesn’t enjoy shopping, sipping on a beer or glass of wine (they have wine tastings, too) while waiting for the rest of his or her group to finish combing the shoes stores, kitchen gadget places and clothing outlets.
But on Sunday, it was all about the beer tasting while, up in nearby Astoria, the movie, The Goonies, was celebrating its 25th anniversary. The movie, you might recall, takes place in Astoria and most of the movie was shot there. Fans from as far away as Europe streamed into the picturesque little city, located on the mouth of the Columbia River, to revel in four full days of Goonies greatness.Astoria’s two brewpubs, Astoria Brewing Company’s Wet Dog Café and Fort George Brewery + Public House, brewed a collaborative beer for the big event called Truffle Shuffle Stout. Fortunately, Goonies fans didn’t have to bare and shake their bellies for a pint of this beer, but it was actually brewed with black truffles. I had never had a beer made with truffles before, and was curious to try it.
Unfortunately, Fort George ran out of all 16 kegs it had by Saturday night! I feared I wouldn’t be able to do the Truffle Shuffle! But thanks to some Astoria friends, and fellow beer lovers, Dan and Susan Bartlett, we were able to enjoy a growler they brought over for dinner Sunday night after the Russian River tasting.
The truffles imparted just the very slightest hint of earthiness, which coupled well with the chocolaty sweetness of the stout. It went wonderfully with our rotisserie pork and, apparently, just as well with an entire weekend of Goonie-ness!
Never Say Die!
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