East of Cannon Beach lies a 40-acre farm that serves as a test kitchen for chefs and brewers. And a summer playground.
The farmers experiment with varieties of fruits, vegetables, hops and herbs, and the winners emerge on dinner plates and in pint glasses.
Especially the abundant blueberries.
Public Coast Brewing Co. is a rarity among its peers, a craft brewery that owns its own culinary farm, including a fruit orchard and 10 acres of blueberry bushes. There’s also a huge solar-powered greenhouse raising heirloom tomatoes and other veggies, plus a similarly oversized cold storage building.
Brewers Will Leroux and Ben Christianson say the bounty has sparked them to be more innovative, devising beer and hard seltzer recipes that incorporate fruit and more exotic ingredients such as zesty peppers.
“It’s a blessing. Farm to tank,” Christianson says with a smile.
Fresh produce from the farm also appears on the menus for the Cannon Beach brewery’s adjoining brewpub and its sister restaurant at the oceanfront Stephanie Inn.
Public Coast owner Ryan Snyder discovered the farm by chance during one of his regular trips between Portland and Cannon Beach. After touring the grounds, he couldn’t resist.
Since acquiring the property a few years ago, Snyder has directed an expansion of the orchard and row crops, and filled the greenhouse with strung-up heirloom tomatoes and other veggies. The cold storage allows beer to be kept on the premises before being delivered to the Portland metro area.
Snyder has a “vision” for the farm that includes concerts and festivals, maybe even an events center. He took a major step toward that goal this summer by offering the public live music and fresh beer on weekends.
“Everything we do here is kind of a test,” he says. “We learn as we go.”
Read more about Public Coast Farm in the current issue of HIPFiSH, the North Coast alternative press. The Beer Zone column runs bimonthly and can also be found at astoriabeerzone.com.