Aaron Swaney photo                                Camping trips go better with Oregon beer.

Aaron Swaney photo Camping trips go better with Oregon beer.

Camping trip provides excuse to sample the beers of Oregon

Whenever I wander down to our neighbor to the south, I make sure to pick up a number of beers I can’t get at home.

As I’m writing this, I’m imbibing on a selection from one of my favorite Oregon breweries: McMinnville’s Heater-Allen Brewing, which specializes in German and Czech-inspired lagers. I’m drinking it in front of a crackling fire in the wilds of Oregon while tapping this story out on an iPhone. Life’s pretty good.

You can’t find Heater-Allen beers outside of Oregon, making the acquisition of one that much sweeter.

It was serendipitous to find myself in Oregon the week of the famous Oregon Brewers Festival, one of the nation’s longest running craft beer festivals. Unfortunately I won’t be near Portland any of the festival’s five days, so I just had to hold my own beerfest. Here’s a sampling of the beers I tried on my trip. (Note: Like Heater-Allen, some of these beers will be hard to find outside of the Beaver State, but most are worth the effort):

Stop 1: We’re starting our family camping trip with a stay in a downtown Portland hotel. After getting everyone settled, I walk to a nearby Whole Foods and peruse a really strong beer selection. I pick out a 22-ounce bottle from a Portland brewery I’m not familiar, Royale Brewing, and enjoy it later that evening. The Fat Unicorn Pale Ale is solid, but forgettable.

Stop 2: Whenever I’m in Portland I have to stop at The Beermongers. We hit the SE Portland taproom/bottleshop on the way out of town and I pick up a box of diverse beers from a number of Oregon breweries, including Burnside Brewing, Sunriver Brewing, Three Creeks Brewing, Heater Allen Brewing, Oakshire Brewing, Ex Novo Brewing, and a collaboration beer from Portland’s Ecliptic Brewing and Bend’s Worthy Brewing. Highlights were Heater Allen’s Das Bier Kolsch, Burnside’s Coax No. 1 Polish Marynka and Mosaic hopped IPA, and the Mango IPA from Ecliptic/Worthy.

Stop 3: Midway to our destination we stopped for lunch at Bill and Tim’s Barbecue in Eugene, Ore. They had Agrarian’s SommerSteiner on tap. I was unfamiliar with the Eugene brewery so the choice was easy. Agrarian prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients, including hops, and the quality was evident. The clean, crisp summer ale was definitely in my top three beers of the trip.

Stop 4: On our way through Coos Bay, Oregon, we stopped at 7 Devils Brewery. I got a taster flight of five beers and the family some poutine and a soft pretzel. The summer blonde was best of the bunch. The beer is solid, but the restaurant and ambiance are top notch. If you find yourself wandering along the coast in southern Oregon, 7 Devils is definitely worth a stop.

Stop 5: Just up the coast in Yachats I found my beer nirvana.Yachats Brewing, which has only been open a year, is located right along Highway 101 and is a hidden gem. They have great beer, a vegan-friendly menu — my wife has a very restrictive diet — and a number of hard-to-find ciders and beers in bottles. I tried the Cetacea, a saison brewed with Szechuan peppercorns, and their Pacific Wind IPA. Both beers were flavorful, clean and made by somebody who knows what they’re doing. The brewery operates small and only had five beers on tap while I was there, but they have a Crowler machine, a small canner, to allow customers to take beer home.

I know I left a lot of worthy Oregon breweries out (Pfriem, Double Mountain, et. al) and couldn’t try one beer I really wanted to, Ferment’s El Campo, a Mexican Saison (it wasn’t on tap yet at The Beermongers). But overall it was a great opportunity to try a bunch of new beers.

One final note: this was just enough beer to keep a father of three sane on a week-long camping trip.

Cheers!

Talk to us

More in Life

See 81 original paintings by Jack Dorsey in the "No. 81" exhibit through May at Sunnyshore Studio on Camano Island.
Camano Island studio celebrates a patriarch of the arts

“No. 81” features 81 of Jack Dorsey’s paintings on his 81st birthday. You can see 28 of them at Sunnyshore Studio.

The vocal supergroup Säje will perform at the DeMiero Jazz Festival, which is March 4-6 this year.
DeMiero Jazz Festival packed with headlining performers

Edmonds’ 45th annual event will feature 17 virtual performances, plus jazz workshops for local students.

Owners Kim and Larry Harris at Bayernmoor Cellars on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 in Stanwood, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
World-class wine, from grapes grown right here

Bayernmoor Cellars makes award-winning pinot noir from grapes grown at its vineyard northeast of Stanwood.

(Getty Images)
You voted: The best cocktails in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

About a dozen metal dinosaurs sit in the front yard of a home owned by Burt Mason and Mary Saltwick on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021 in Freeland, Washington. The couple are used to finding strangers in their yard and taking photos. Every year on their trip to Tucson, Burt and Mary bring home another figure  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Dinos on Whidbey? This Freeland yard is a Jurassic Park

These creatures from long ago won’t chomp or chase you, and you’re welcome to visit.

Drink This: 5 Snohomish breweries to host Smash and Dash

Each brewery takes the same base IPA recipe and then dry hops the beer with a different hop. Try them all.

Golden shakshuka

Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Golden Shakshuka is just the thing for a weekend brunch

This easy Middle Eastern egg dish is made with yellow bell peppers and yellow cherry tomatoes.

Don Sarver, left, and Kyle James, right, snowshoe on the Skyline Lake Trail on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 in Leavenworth, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Avoiding avalanches: How to know and where to go

Follow these tips for researching on-the-ground conditions from comfort of your home or local library.

(Getty Images)
You voted: The best Chinese food in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

Most Read