My Oregon Craft Beer Month: Fort George

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Sun, Jul 26, 2009 at 9:23 PM


On Questionland, the Mercury’s on-line answer emporium, one questioner asked what there was to do while visiting Astoria, Oregon. There were standard answers: climb the Astoria column, track down locations from the Goonies, check out the only strip club in town. While all of that is well and good, I’d encourage anyone making the trip to stop into Fort George Brewery and Pub.

At the beginning of this month, I was able to taste a few fort George brews at Green Dragon, and I enjoyed them quite a bit. The beer I had this weekend in their pub only made me like the little Astoria brewery more.

Falling for Two Fort George Beers After the Jump!

It’s not the most impressive brewing operation, but the pub is wonderfully large and airy with some amazing views of the Columbia. It was a perfect place to enjoy a cool summer beer away from the ugly heat of the city.

I had two Fort George beers this weekend. Both were immensely enjoyable. I’ll start with Divinity, the least dynamic of the two beers. But just because it’s not dynamic doesn’t mean that this raspberry wheat isn’t an astounding beer. In fact, it may be the most refreshing summer beer I’ve had this month.

Divinity pours (into a Ball jar at the pub, mind you) a turbid honey color and has a supernatural glow about it. On the nose it’s clean and bright, smelling softly of raspberries, as if you were stepping through a ripening patch late in the evening. It’s an image that resonates after the first sip as well: Divinity is effervescent and fresh and keeps well away from the cloying sweetness of some fruit beers. It’s a bit dry, with soft notes of the berry supported by reasonable hopping and a mellow malt. Mostly, it’s all fresh berry. Put that raspberry patch beside a clear lake, late in a summer evening as the stars begin to appear and the air is cooling. That’s Divinity.

I would call Divinity one of the better beers I’ve had this month, but it’s bested by the Fort George Vortex IPA. Vortex tops out with a 97 IBU and 7.4% ABV and it’s easily one of the most interesting IPA’s I’ve ever had.

Vortex pours a dark chocolaty amber with a nice thick head. Its aroma is incredibly dopey with a hint of chocolaty malt. I imagine this is what my parent’s apartment smelled like when they lived in Astoria back in the seventies.

Vortex is extraordinary on the palate. The first sip brings a bold hit of chocolate, with a little of that hops dopiness, like you just bit the corner off a pot brownie. Then, a rolling fruitiness rises with raspberry and banana tones. Along with the fruit comes a wave of bitterness. But the awesome thing about the bitterness is its wave-like quality—it comes on slow, peaks, and fades, leaving very little mouth drying astringency. For a 97 IBU beer, I find it very pleasant and drinkable, while remaining dynamic and interesting.

I’ll be coming back to Fort George as often as possible, looking forward to their new creations. I’ll also be looking for them on Taplister. You should too.


Floating Glass Balls

Sunday, July 26th
8pm No cover

"For several years now, a happily odd group of men have gathered at Bill's Tavern in Cannon Beach to drink beer and play music. The tavern's alandmark, the band's fast becoming one. The Floating Glass Balls is a string band, an american tradition that has, in this case, jumped the fence, run off to unlikely places and brough music back for their friends. Appalachia and Bayou Teche by way of Jamaica, Amsterdam and Astoria. Call it beachgrass." -Michael Burgess


Dry County Crooks

Saturday, July 11th 2-4pm BBQ in Fort George
Parking Lot

All ages and Never a Cover

The Dry County Crooks are an outlaw country/rock outfit from Portland, Oregon with punk roots and a blue-collar message that has become their trademark. Touring the western states since 2001, they've played over 300 shows including multiple appearances at MusicfestNW and opening for bands ranging from Eddie Spaghetti to The Tennessee Three. Vocalist/accoustic guitarist Vinny D's anthems are the ignition system in the hopped up pickup that is DCC. Influences Johnny Cash, Social Distortion, and The Pogues are hot wired into tales of rural American characters, greased up broken hearts, alcoholic binges and knife weilding street fighters. Paul Becker's electric guitar crunch sparks the 8-cylinder rhythm section of drummer Cheo Larcombe and Bassist Johnny B.

In 2003 The Dry County Crooks self-released "The One That Got Away" on Blue Collar Heart Music and followed in 2005 with "Wrong Side Of The Tracks". Their new album, "When Hearts Break" is now out on the MastanMusic label.

"The Crooks' new "When Hearts Break"- a collection of unaffected Americana-core anthems and rockabilly ballads - lurches decidedly punkward." Jay Horton, Williamette Week.


Sunday, July 12th
8pm No Cover
Fort George Brewery
1483 Duane St- Astoria

Chickweed, a Portland, OR based all women bluegrass band, performs acoustic music that is high energy, engaging and just plain fun. Their repertoire is rooted in tradition and features bluegrass standards plus raucous original tunes. Drawing on each musician's strengths, Chickweed blends vibrant and soulful vocal harmonies with robust instrumentation. Abby Downs is the band’s lead vocalist and guitar picker. Her raw lead and harmony vocals put the blues in bluegrass. Finn Fox gives Chickweed its signature sound with her lightning-fast mandolin playing. She also sings lead and harmony vocals. Patty Spencer adds rhythmic drive with her traditional, Scruggs-style banjo pickin’. Genavie Thomas uses her fiddle to add a fine mix of old time & bluegrass melodies, and adds an entertaining element to the band. Holly Wyman maintains the low end with a rock-solid bass line that helps keep it all together. The humorous and enthusiastic nature of Chickweed’s personalities is contagious. Always friendly and quick with a smile, the women of Chickweed are ready to rock!