By Iris Yokoi, OC Register
1805: Lewis and Clark enter the Lower Columbia River in what is now the state of Oregon to explore land west of the Mississippi River for westward expansion of the United States.
2018: My friends and I cross the Lewis and Clark Bridge over the Lower Columbia River to explore Oregon’s North Coast Craft Beer Trail, the latest example of Americans’ entrepreneurial spirit and love of good food and drink.
I have long been a fan of the red wines of Oregon, especially the pinot noirs. But this time, it was the beer trail along Oregon’s North Coast that drew me to the state. And I found a new love, which made me feel like a cheating spouse.
How could I even think of wine when every stop along the North Coast Craft Beer Trail presented dozens of flavorful, lemony, hoppy, sour, refreshing drinks to taste? A different IPA, ale, gose, kolsch, cider and even root beer to enjoy at every bar? It was hard to resist any of them.
Friends picked me up at Portland’s airport, and we headed for Astoria, the epicenter of the beer trail, which meanders along Highway 101 and includes the coastal communities of Seaside and Cannon Beach. The trail was launched in 2012, an idea hatched by community leaders inspired by the Bend Ale Trail in Central Oregon.
“I’d go to Bend every summer since the ’80s, and I watched the Bend beer culture grow,” says Dan Bartlett, Astoria’s former city manager. Meanwhile, brew pubs were sprouting all over Oregon, inspiring beer festivals and other summer events that showcased local brews. “We used to say Astoria was a fishing town with a drinking problem. We’re now a great little drinking town with a fishing problem.”
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You’ll need a passport — which lists all the participating breweries, restaurants and shops — to thoroughly experience the trail. Pick one up at any of the breweries or the visitor centers in Astoria/Warrenton, Seaside or Cannon Beach. (Visit 10 of the stops, get your card stamped at each and you’ll get a souvenir prize, too; www.oregoncoastbeer.com.)
Of course, no one goes thirsty on the Craft Beer Trail — and some of the breweries and restaurants along the route offer kid-friendly root beer, sparkling apple juice and Astoria Brewing Co.’s Orange Cream …
Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle