Sinking into a deep leather chair at Nebulous in Beaverton, I contemplate this Fort George Beta variant IPA and munch a WinCo premade hoagie. I have been laagering some thoughts on the Festival of the Dark Arts, and it’s telling that of all the 48-ish taps available to me here, I chose another beer from that place in Astoria that I can’t seem to get away from. If you were to read my entries objectively, you could be forgiven for thinking I’m a fanboy of Fort George. I’m not. I wasn’t, anyways. It’s complicated. Really, really complicated. I’ve talked about my relationship with the various hotspots of Astoria in multiple previous posts, and will eventually get it all out, but I can assure you, I’m no fanboy.
GO FORT GEORGE GO!
I have the same conflicted feeling about other notable breweries like Toppling Goliath and Treehouse, because I’ve been in their orbits and have seen how success has…affected the way places operate and act towards their customers. I must be careful here because currently at least one of my twitter accounts hasn’t been blocked by any of the organizations I’m talking about today for previous criticisms and I’m trying to keep it that way. That’ll be some exclusive content, someday…
I TOLD YOU THIS WAS A PERSONAL BEER BLOG
I moved to Oregon because I was miserable in Iowa and love beer and cannabis was legalized and in 2015 you could still find an affordable basement room to occupy. I don’t have kids, I’m too responsible to own a pet, and I’m too wrapped with anxiety and smothered in depression to be able to get housing despite having plenty of money to do so. I’ve got a patreon you could subscribe to if you want to know more. Yeah. That’s the really personal juice if you’re interested in some old-school myspace sappy shit *wink
BACK TO OUR ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING
Friday turned out to be a great afternoon in Astoria. I had mentioned in my pre-game guide that you’d know what the sunset was going to be like around 3pm and that was basically the perfect time on Friday – the sky was mostly clear, giving the low-hanging fog and clouds across the Columbia on the Washington shore a brilliant shimmer. The water was nice and calm, there was wildlife to be seen, and it was one of those moments that make the rest of the shitty-ass weather on the coast worth bearing; One of those moments that’s probably better with some friends around, but as usual I was left to take some selfies and smoke a fatty while contemplating life and all things as always all the time. Eventually my brain slowed enough that I could catch my split minds and go play some pinball at Galactix, the downstairs arcade that you wish was in your hometown.
You’ve got to look for the signs, but once you see them it’ll be obvious there’s something going on down the ramp in one of Astoria’s unique sunken half-blocks. A very plain door in a grey wall hides a row of popular, modern pinball tables and another two dozen classic arcade games, displayed in a retro-futuristic décor that’s lit mostly by glowing white table-tops and the the games themselves.
It’s cozy and feels a bit dangerous but there’s only two rows to get lost in and the rest is pinball, baby! They have like 24 taps and they’ve got a wide selection, although it’s aimed squarely at the moderate drinker and nothing Is over-the-top. Ciders and fruit beers, for instance, were on hand alongside a stout, a porter, several IPAS and a red, all from local breweries. They’re working hard at being inclusive – you don’t have to be a gamer nerd to enjoy Galactix, or a beer nerd to grab a decent drink. They’ve also got some decent THEME SWAG – like GALACTIX: THE LUNCHBOX in the vein of old Spaceballs merch. It was a bit spendy, and, dear reader, none of you have subscribed to my Patreon yet, so I didn’t get any pictures and didn’t buy that lunchbox. I spent the money on pinball instead, and more than a few rounds of Silent Scope.
I then went on (or, maybe, back, but I don’t recall for sure) to Obelisk, which was buzzing with activity. They’re in a good position, with a rustic space has character and sits on the opposite end of Astoria’s downtown area from Fort George – but also right next to the Mcdonalds, BK, burrito place, mexican spot and pizza joint. If you aren’t looking to spend $20 a person on a burger but still like good beer, I’d suggest you start your Astoria beering at Obelisk and eat from that area. I told you I’m not a fanboy 😛
Bridge & Tunnel was also packed on Friday night, with some sort of weird private event in the tiny upstairs balcony space, but lots of open seating in the back room. I met some older Astorians with their own ideas on how best to enjoy the town, one of whom maintains an actual spreadsheet on the topic (hat tip to you sir!). I was drinking the Varietal triple IPA, a thicc hazy that I’d selected from the cooler, canned somewhere far away for my enjoyment. It was suitably fruity, which I appreciated later on because it did lift my mood a touch. There’s a reason this whole stout month thing makes sense to many of us, and it can get a hold of you in strange ways.
It is these strange interactions, though, that help me get through some of the darker times. I honestly don’t know how else I’d socialize, in this modern age, if I didn’t have some place to drink a pint and cross paths with strangers. In the last few weeks, I’ve come across a handful of people willing to share some of the same things I often feel, and I think at this point we’re all just holding on, hoping for some brighter future we feel is possible but can’t yet see. That’s just about where I’m at. In a crowded bottle shop with a handful of taps and one bathroom, you might cross paths with someone who helps keep you afloat for another couple of hours.
It was getting even more crowded and my anxiety was making waves – and I realized I hadn’t eaten anything but a slice of pizza from Galactix since lunch. As I had predicted, all my favorite food locations were busy AF and I kept looking for something else. Something else never turned up, but beer did. Eventually, I convinced myself I wanted a pint and something to eat at Fort George and promptly spent $27 on a lager and a fancy cheeseburger in the downstairs pub. I knew better but still ended up paying the tourist tax for poor planning and laziness. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the burger was good…but I had a pile of food back in my truck, aside from all the places I walked by on the way, that wouldn’t have cost me almost $30. Learn from my mistakes, friends.
I went for a quiet, cold walk in the dark along the river after leaving the bustling pub. The rest is for that patreon subscriber that really wants to know what it’s like living with depression and anxiety. I’m looking at the snow come down today, looking at the weather, wondering if I can tolerate a single night in the teens, if the snow will keep the temperature from dropping tonight, where I should park if the spots by the gym are all full up by the fucking converted sprinter vans that multiply like mice and move in packs around Portland. I have volunteered to pour at the Hillsboro brewfest Friday night for 5 hours, which is something to focus on when I’m trying to keep my face warm at 5AM that day.
I welcome all comments, contact, emails or bullshit that isn’t spam via any of the channels I’m tuned into – @rightaboutbeer, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the comments page, which I have confirmed is working correctly. I continue to work on several other types of content, but my current situation is fluid, as is my production schedule. If you’d like to help me get stable, reach out.