I’m still a bit buzzed. I’m still laughing about the myriad inside jokes that were spawned today. I’m still incredulous at the perfect weather. All in all, it was another successful trip to the coast.
Jeff, Dusty, and I rolled into Astoria shortly before 11. The ultimate destination would be the Pouring at the Coast craft brew and food festival in Seaside, but we decided to have fun along the way.
The first stop was the Astoria Column. We’d all been to the top of the column before, so we made it interesting with a little competition: The three of us took turns flying balsa wood gliders from the top of the column. Whoever’s glider stayed in the air the longest, won. Dusty emerged victorious, thanks in no small part to a timely hail storm. (Competitions would be a recurring theme this day.)
It was onto Fort George Brewery for lunch. There we warmed up, drank beer, ate lunch, and played Scrabble on the board embedded in the tabletop. Seriously, does it get any better than that?
Following lunch, we headed to Seaside and continued the competitions. The first battle took place on the mini golf course at Seaside’s promenade; Dusty and I tied for first place. The last time I played mini golf, I was on a date and couldn’t hit a putt to save my life. It was so bad, she accused me of tanking to make her feel better. I wish that had been the case; it would have been much less embarrassing than a sheer lack of skill. In any event, I was happy to make up for that embarrassing outing.
From there, we walked to Funland Arcade. We spent two hours playing pinball, air hockey, skee ball, and a ton of arcade games. I continued a rather curious streak: I’m somehow undefeated at Funland’s air hockey tables, dating back to Memorial Day 2010 (which might also be the last time I actually played there). What can I say? Air hockey is my jam.
Two hours later, we headed to the Seaside Civic and Convention Center for the Pouring at the Coast festival, which brought together local restaurants and regional brewers. I can scarcely imagine a more ideal Saturday afternoon than drinking good beer with great friends at the coast.
I tried beer from Fort George Brewery, McMenamins, Pelican Brewery, Rogue, Astoria Brewing Company, Rusty Truck Brewing, and the Oregon Brewers Guild, among others.
If that sounds like a lot of beer, it’s because it was a lot of beer. $20 got us admission, a souvenir mug, and 14 tasting tickets. We had the good fortune of some generous pours, making the festival the most economical any of us could remember attending. Toward the end of our time at the festival, we tried giving away spare tickets. We couldn’t find any takers; apparently, we weren’t the only ones overwhelmed by the sheer number of tickets (and amount of beer).
Through it all, we laughed, talked, compared notes, and enjoyed the variety of brews. My favorite: Fort George’s Bourbon Barrel Cavatica Stout. The Cavatica Stout is my favorite Fort George beer to begin with; the festival-only bourbon influence warmed me up and added a solid kick like any good bourbon should.
It’s been a good day. Between the laughs, the games, the surprisingly pleasant weather, and the great brews, it was one of the more memorable days in recent memory.