Bike and Brewery Tour
Whether you're coming through town on your bike to hook up with the Pacific Coast Bike Trail, or you're hauling your bike to use for day rides in the area, Astoria is the perfect place to stop off for a beer-tasting adventure. With five local breweries, and numerous pubs and bars serving locally- and regionally-made beers, Astoria has a thriving beer culture. Bicycle is the perfect form of transportation for touring it. If you don't have a bicycle with you, you can rent one from Bikes & Beyond.
Because of its size and geography, Astoria is a very bike-friendly city in general, but it's the Astoria Riverwalk trail that really makes biking here a pleasure. This 3.5-mile route runs along the Columbia River waterfront, offering spectacular views of the river on one side and the historic districts of Astoria on the other. Not only is this a great trail for cyclists of all levels, it runs through Astoria's brewery infrastructure like a main circuit cable. Three of the breweries are literally right on the trail, and the other two are only a couple of short blocks inland.
If you're biking into town from Portland, get lunch and a couple of beers at the Rogue Ales Public House at the eastern edge of town where the Riverwalk trail begins. If you're driving, park your car near the Commodore on Marine Drive near 14th Street, unhook your bike, and jump onto the trail that's just feet away. It's a fast mile-and-a-half ride out to the start of the trail at Pier 39.
At Rogue, which sits out over the Columbia River on Pier 39 (the old Bumble Bee Cannery), you'll find 30 taps, including limited-edition brews made right there and available only in this location. With outdoor seating and a great view of the river, you could easily get sucked into Rogue for the rest of the day–it's tempting, but don't make that mistake. There's plenty of excellent locally-made beer to get to elsewhere. It's fine to spend the first half of the afternoon here, but eventually you'll have to get back on your bike and pedal into town. Your next stop is the Wet Dog Café, an adjunct of the Astoria Brewing Company. This pub is right on the trail, and it has sizeable indoor and outdoor seating areas that both face out towards the river. As you sip one of Astoria Brewing Co.'s many beers, you can watch the other bikers go whizzing past, marvel at the speed and size of the cargo ships headed up and down the river, or do what beer drinkers around the world do: discuss life, the universe, and everything.
When you can pull yourself out of the Wet Dog, it's time to check in at the Commodore–it's an easy coast from 11th Street back up to 14th. Follow up your afternoon of biking and beer-drinking with a shower and a quick nap, but once again, don't get sucked in–you've got one more stop today at the Fort George Brewery (15th and Duane Streets). The Fort George has a large selection of its own beers, from its stellar line-up of nine regular beers to an ever-rotating crop of seasonal and occasional selections. Study up with the Beer Book, and be sure to ask your server to tell you all about what they've got on tap and what they're brewing for the future. Everyone at the Fort George loves to talk about beer and knows more than you'll be able to take in after an day of quaffing your way across town. This is also a great place to eat dinner–the food is as good as anything you'll get in a big-city gourmet brew pub, and it's exactly as hearty, local, and seasonal as top-notch cuisine has become in recent years.
After all this beer-drinking, walk your bike the two blocks back to the Commodore and collapse into bed. Watch a movie if you've got it in you. Whatever you do, get a good night's sleep–you've still got another morning of biking.
None of Astoria's brew pubs are open for breakfast, so the next morning, get coffee and a light meal at Street 14 Coffee, located right in the Commodore lobby, then jump on your bike and head out for a morning ride. Go down to the end of 14th Street and get back onto the Riverwalk trail to complete the western half. This takes you past one of today's destinations: Astoria's newest brewery, the Buoy Beer Brewery at 7th Street. The trail continues on below the majestic Astoria-Megler Bridge to Pier 3. You need to work off yesterday's calories, so keep going along Marine Drive (also called Nehalem Highway) or, for a tougher workout, point your wheels uphill and pedal hard into the oldest neighborhoods in Astoria. You're making a decent down payment on today's excesses, and your hard work will be rewarded with hilltop views of the Columbia and its surroundings.
Coast back downhill to the Commodore, shower up from your ride, check out, and make your way back along the trail to Buoy for lunch. This newly-renovated establishment–as recently as 2006 it was a dockside fish processing warehouse–has two dining areas, one facing the bike trail and the other facing the river. Since you're driving home today, or continuing on to a long day on the Pacific Coast Bike Trail, you'll only get to have a small taste of Buoy's selections, but you can always come back. The food alone makes it worth the stop.