For visitors who enjoy sampling local ales, wines and spirits when they travel, the Wild Rivers Coast offers several stops between Brookings and Coos Bay that shouldn’t be missed. Starting in Brookings and continuing north to Coos Bay, this trail features libations created by individuals with a passion for finely crafted brews and spirits. Remember to pace yourself, enjoy the trail safely, and please don’t drink and drive.

You can start your tasting tour at Oregon’s southernmost brewery, Misty Mountain Brewing in Brookings. Located just two miles from the state line, with views of the Pacific Ocean to the west and Oregon’s 99-foot-tall Monterey Cypress heritage tree to the east, Misty Mountain is a small-batch brewery offering full pub-style lunches. Although this is a small brewing operation, you’re likely to find eight beers available ranging from a Belgian-style saison to a citrus IPA and an IBA made with rye and dark malts. Be sure to get a taste between Halloween and New Year’s Day, when the King Under the Mountain Russian Imperial Stout gets a pumpkin twist.

In downtown Brookings you’ll find Superfly Martini Bar & Grill, where you can sample Superfly Distilling’s vodka, a silver medal winner at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The restaurant’s menu of traditional and imaginative martini drinks and cocktails utilizes their own vodka. The Superblue cocktail combines Superfly Vodka with blueberry and basil, while the Cuban Missile Crisis features vodka, fresh lime, citrus soda and fresh mint.

You will find Chetco Brewing Company’s tasting room just a few blocks to the north. With as many as 12 beers on tap, you’re sure to find a brew that fits your flavor profile or even surprises you. Some of the Chetco signature brews include Thunder Rock IPA, Chetco Logger and Unite Pink Pale that include hints of raspberry, incorporating raspberries grown right at the brewery. Fans of dark, complex beers will find options including Block and Tackle Stout that won a Silver Medal in the American Imperial Stout category at the World Beer Cup in 2014. Another complex offering is the Black Thunder Coffee Stout. Choose a taster flight of the six beers of your choice, order up a pint or fill a growler to go.

 

Just north of downtown Brookings, a short loop detour off Highway 101 at Carpenterville Road leads seven-miles up the hillside to Brandy Peak Distillery. While craft distilling is a popular recent trend, Brandy Peak has been distilling spirits here for the past 20 years. In 1997, Brandy Peak’s Aged Pear brandy received a double gold medal in the San Francisco International Wine Competition and a gold medal in the Los Angles County Competition of the Americas. In 2009, it took the only double gold at the annual American Distilling Institute Brandy Conference.

Brandy Peak produces both an eau de vie style pure distilled pear brandy and an oak barrel-aged pear brandy. You’ll also be able to taste Marc brandies, including a grappa, made of grape pomace leftover from the winemaking process. Their popular blackberry liqueur is made from local sun-ripened wild blackberries. You can purchase their products at the tasting room and find them in some Oregon liquor stores.

To continue north on the Wild Rivers Coast Tasting Trail, you can follow Cape Ferrelo Road from Brandy Peak Distillery to return to US Highway 101.

Your next stop is just under an hour’s drive north. Before you reach downtown Gold Beach, you’ll cross Hunter Creek and a right turn on Hunter Creek Road will lead you to Arch Rock Brewing Company. A closet-sized tasting room next to the brewing operation offers tastes, pints and growler fills. Arch Rock is a 15-barrel brew house and their beers are served on tap at many South Oregon Coast bars and restaurants. Three signature beers are usually available including Pistol River Pale, a hop forward brew that stops short of some bitter IPAs; the light and crisp Gold Beach Lager; and State of Jefferson Porter with flavors of chocolate and mocha. If you’re lucky, you may find one of Arch Rock’s “single-batch” brews ranging from stouts to IPAs and witte. In 2016, Arch Rock was named World Beer Cup Champion in the “very small brewery” category (under 1,000 barrels per year).

Continuing north from Gold Beach, just over an hour’s drive will put you in Bandon where you will find several tasting opportunities. Belly up to the carved-octopus tasting bar at Stillwagon Distillery’s tasting room to sample several varieties of rum. Their offerings include white rum, aged golden rum, spiced rum and even a mocha rum utilizing cacao nibs and espresso roast coffee.

If fine wine is in order, Pacific Blues in Old Town Bandon is a bottle shop and micro restaurant that offers wine tastings most days from 1-4 p.m. Alloro Wine Bar & Restaurant in Old Town Bandon is a popular stop for great food and its well-chosen wine list. At The Beverage Barn you will find a great selection of spirits, craft beers and wine with wine tastings on weekends.

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The last stop on this Wild Rivers Coast Tasting Trail is in downtown Coos Bay at the 7 Devils Brewing Company Public House in Coos Bay. You can choose a taster flight of 7 Devils brews, fill a growler or select a pint or two and make this a stop for a meal. Signature brews include Lighthouse Session Ale, Arago Amber and Groundswell IPA. Shipwright Stout is rich and complex with bold flavors of vanilla and coffee and you’re likely to find other single batch stouts. One recent example was Symbiosis Fig Stout made with a secondary fermentation using 250 pounds of white figs, then aging in red wine barrels to add complexity. The public house makes a fun end to the Wild Rivers Coast Tasting Trail — or a great beginning, if you’re traveling north to south.

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

About the Author: Gary Hayes

Gary Hayes is publisher of Coast Explorer Magazine and founder of Explorer Media Group, a travel media and marketing company based in Seaside. Gary is a native Oregonian whose earliest memories include working on his grandfather’s fishing boat on the Oregon Coast. Now living in Cannon Beach, Gary is an extensively published photographer and writer focusing on the Oregon Coast and the Northwest's food and wine culture. He also serves as Executive Director of the SavorNW Wine Awards.

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