Mission accomplished; many gallons of stout were poured, 3oz at a time, to hundreds of folks braving the drizzle and chill of a not-really-bad February afternoon in Astoria. I lucked into a great pouring station – inside The Ruins, the large, derelict ballroom-style base level of the multi-story apartment building across the street. While technically and structurally stable, the old place has suffered at the hands of time, but still serves as a great venue for live performances and large crowds of people.
I probably forgot to take actual pictures of my station, since I was trying the social media angle and made video posts to twitter. It’s hard to manage this stuff when you’re not obligated to pour beer for 3 hours, and I had literally no break until after my shift to even look at my phone, let alone think about taking snapshots. At first, there’s a trickle of people and then they announced that there’s no line in doors and also music and BAM! you look up and there’s 60 people standing there waiting for a sample of something from your box.
I took the handle of Threshold’s Dark Expanse, a salted caramel fudge 10% 2-token ‘pastry’ stout that was absolutely the most popular of the 7 taps at my station. We had already replaced the 1/6 barrel keg and it was roughly half full when my replacement walked up around 3pm. I managed to get a sample of it when I got blasted in the face while switching to the backup keg, but it was truly gone by the time I returned after my shift (and changing my hoodie, and washing my face). Of course my preferred food line was entirely out-of-hand, so I went to the food carts a block down the street for some fish tacos. Hat tip to Wahoo Charlie’s – though I’ll stick to the fish n chips next time.
Once I did get to the sampling, I went for a beer at every trailer and failed to visit two of them. NBD, I only had so many tokens, and did indeed give some away in the end to the performers I liked. Pfriem was first up and delivered a BBA traditional american stout without much fanfare, but solid presence. I tried Fort George’s new release ‘Feed the Beast’ and had a positive impression, not sweet but still really sticky for some reason. I tried another Ft.G, Tide Land’, which was more of a porter-ish take, although it’s actually a blended stout. I’ll try to get another sample because I might have missed something there.
Boneyard’s stuff was a very dark roast coffee thing, and at that point I realized I didn’t have any plan and was probably missing something I’d really like. Volunteers don’t get the little packet and notebook that the ticket holders do, and i hadn’t studied the beers as much as I could have, so I went for a little walk to clear my head and study the beer map. It was worth the effort, as I noticed a blended stout from Alvarado Street that sounded amazing, and it truly was.
At this point I went upstairs to the pizza floor, seeking some shelter and warmth and another sample. I went for Von Ebert, and they failed to deliver. The vibe inside was pretty warm, the music was light and there was a decent crowd moving around. The flow of people through the beer line was steady. I went for a walk around 6pm with a token left in my pocket and didn’t manage to get back, but I’m okay with the way things went on Saturday. I have a few thoughts on how to manage the jockey boxes for future FoDA events, but nothing mind-blowing.
I am currently enjoying some beer from Obelisk at their taproom, comfortably busy on a Sunday afternoon. They do make some good beer…somewhere. The taproom is open and woody and suitably rustic for Astoria. I’m sure they’ll do alright, considering the connections they already have with their collaboration program.
I spent the morning on the beach at the mouth of the Columbia, which you can drive on and explore without too much walking. I decided I might as well make a visit to the actual beach, since not too many people get to enjoy such things and yolo. I could easily spend the day watching the river and waves and ships roll by, except for a thing with the tides and my need to eat. I spent as long as I could on the beach and took my time heading back into Astoria, trying not to get too nostalgic for a place I didn’t really like very much. I came to Astoria in October ’19, just a few months before the world went on lockdown, and managed to keep a job and place to live while out here. But not much more than that.
Hello to any new readers who’ve made it this far! I put together some business cards and tried hard to not just give them to anybody this weekend – if I gave you one, it was because I thought you’d be genuinely interested. This is an entirely personal beer blog, but I’ll be trying to cover things that other people would be interested in, if they could do whatever they wanted and only dreamed of beer. Iam currently in a very transitory period of my life and I hope to maintain this content, but I could use a little help – share my blog, bother me on twitter @rightaboutbeer, find my patreon and give me money – or just drop a positive comment or email. Buy me a pint if you see me out in Portland. Whatever.
Finally…I am working on another article that’s going to be quite long, featuring the taprooms I enjoy the most in Portland. There are many, and I have opinions on a few. You could easily come to Portland and have a world-class beer experience without setting foot in an actual brewery, and that’s a little theme I’ve been working with over the last few posts. Go back and read up on the differences between bottle shops and taprooms, and throw me some shade on twitter. I’ve got to get to this pastry stout from Obelisk and Fort George, which was quite popular yesterday. We’ll see you around Astoria, or maybe the Hillsboro Brewfest next weekend!