CHECK OUT THESE FUN TAPROOMS

By William Dean

Taprooms!

There are lots to choose from on the beer-soaked North Coast these days. 

They’re all mellow gathering places where beertenders cheerfully produce flights of assorted brews, “guests” are encouraged to linger, and families are welcome. Even babies in strollers.

That would be enough, but some breweries go above and beyond – providing live music, assorted games and contests, and special beer services. 

Here are five fun taprooms to visit during the holiday season:

FORT GEORGE BREWERY

1483 Duane St., Astoria

Fort George’s Lovell Showroom taproom has a lot of things going for it. 

It’s set in a cool historic building, features tables set beside a small-batch brewery and boasts a cozy paneled room with a small bar and gas fireplace. There’s even a pair of indoor cornhole courts.

Food service from the restaurant across the courtyard is available. Another plus: The Lovell beertenders are well-versed in the art of craft brewing. They’re seldom stumped when quizzed about the beers they serve.

Special events are frequently held in the building, but the best part happens every Sunday, from 6 to 8 p.m. That’s when Fort George brings in talented bands and solo artists (often from the Portland area) to play for free. 

The brewery also holds a regular lecture series on topics of interest to locals. They’re held Thursdays, 7-8 p.m.

Bottom line: A must for beer fans.

The cozy Lovell taproom.

OBELISK BEER CO.

598 Bond St., Astoria

For a brewery that’s just a year old, Obelisk has done an impressive job creating a fun vibe for its roomy taproom.

Co-founders Dave Coyne and Nathan Lampson offer so many reasons to visit it seems foolish not to. 

Those reasons include a regular Kölsch beer night, with special table service and those tall skinny glasses (Wednesdays, 5-9 p.m.), and no-cover performances by talented Astoria musicians (Thursdays, 5-7 p.m.). Coyne describes the sound as “acoustic, folky old-time string music.”

In addition, family-friendly Obelisk frequently hosts seasonal parties and other special events. Videogames, classic movies and live sports are available to watch on a pull-down screen at the end of the long bar.

There’s no food service currently, so bring your own munchies if you like.

Bottom line: Nice place to hang out.

Playing video games at Obelisk.

NORTH JETTY BREWING

4200 Pacific Way, Seaview

Leave it to North Jetty to make the drive to the Long Beach Peninsula worthwhile for Astorians.

While the popular outdoor patio and front porch hibernate in winter, the brewery more than makes up for it with regular bingo and trivia nights. 

Bingo is usually the first Wednesday of the month starting at 5:30 p.m. Trivia is twice a month on Thursdays, with a 6:30 p.m. start. (Check the brewery’s social media to confirm dates during the holiday season). Taproom manager Trisha Agnitsch is always cooking up seasonal special events as well.

When you visit, grab a beer and a seat at the long communal table with a view of the brewhouse. Great way to make friends.

Bottom line: Worth the drive. 

SISU BREWING 

133 Broadway St., Seaside

This brewery has something going for it that nobody else can touch: A performing arts stage and genuine movie theater screen.

That’s because Sisu is inside the historic downtown Ford Theatre, which doubles as a concert hall and movie palace with two levels of comfortable seats. On weekends this time of year, the giant screen shows Seattle Seahawks and Oregon college football games, drawing throngs of fans.

There’s a full kitchen on the premises and a lengthy menu that includes a half-dozen varieties of burgers. When visiting, ask about upcoming movie screenings and live music.

In the evening, the brewhouse is partially hidden behind the lowered screen. If you want to see brewers in action, come early.

Bottom line: Unique ambiance.

REACH BREAK BREWING

1343 Duane St., Astoria

It’s rare that a business in the downtown core can double in size, but that’s exactly what Reach Break has done.

Founder and head brewer Josh Allison recently unveiled a major taproom expansion just in time for winter, when his patio crowd disappears.

Allison remodeled the space previously used by Reveille Ciderworks (now Fortune & Glory Cider Co.), filling it with tables and bistro-style oak barrels, plus a small bar. 

Reach Break has developed a loyal following with its regular Thursday night trivia contests, starting at 6. Now there’s room for more special events, including holiday parties. 

Bottom line: Bigger and better.

Trivia night at Reach Break.

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WILLIAM DEAN is an author with a passion for craft beer. Check out his North Coast beer blog at astoriabeerzone.com. His latest suspense novel, Militia Men, is on sale now.

This column originally appeared in Dec. 5, 2023 edition of The Astorian.

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