My second stop in Astoria was at Buoy Beer Company, set in a former cannery building along the Columbia River waterfront. A loud, boisterous colony of seals were swimming and barking in the pier area next door.
Open nearly one year, the restaurant/taproom is a large airy space with huge windows for river viewing. Old exposed wooden beams on the ceiling and ancient weathered brewing or cannery equipment as decorations. There is also a TV showing a live satellite map of shipping traffic along the mouth of the river. Near the entrance, a plexiglass floor window allows a view of seals sleeping on the pier planks below. Seats for maybe 50 people in the main area; also a separate bar area, which was closed at the time I was there. Food includes burgers, salads, seafood, and steaks – and the prices were a bit high.
Buoy Beer Company was selected as the RateBeer New Brewery of the Year in Oregon for 2014. Last year’s was De Garde Brewing, which makes world-class sour /wild ales .... Anyway, I expect that Buoy will improve over time.
Here are the six beers I sampled:
Buoy Kettle Demon IIPA (9.5%) 2.6 out of 5.0
Caramel and overripe dates in the aroma. Cloudy copper/brown color -- really looks like liquid caramel candies. Large caramel initial flavor, the hopping barely makes a dent. Ripe dates. Overly sweet. Medium-heavy body. Slick, sweet, even cloying. A caramel bomb, but even the caramel seems wrong.
Buoy IPL (6.3%) 2.8
A small grassy nose, with some sea water. Hazy straw color, no head. Thin stream of hops in initial, light grainy malt in mid palate, and a mild sweet finish. Thin-medium body, rather slick. Seems underattenuated for sure.
Buoy Helles (5.3%) 3.1
Mild grassy nose, bread dough, light citrus. Very light yellow straw color, almost greenish in the slanting afternoon sunlight. Sweet pale malts, light bittering, a touch of sourness, and a rusty metal note. Very thin body. Light and bready. Clean and fresh, but....
Buoy Pale Ale (5.2%) 3.2
Citrus and pale malt nose. Medium copper/amber color. Medium fruity initial, smooth and gentle hopping comes with the rising carbonation, a bit of artificial-seeming sweetness in mid palate, and thin hop tracks in final. Thin-medium body. Nice enough, a bit chewy. Maybe a bit too sweet.
Buoy IPA (7.5%) 3.3
A citrus aroma, with a bit of smacking caramel. Cloudy medium dark straw color, thin head, with some lace. Tangy fruit initially, some juicy hopping. A bit warming. Thin-medium body. Tasty, but the flavors don’t really blend or develop. A good bit of aroma hopping. Somewhat thin for the alcohol level.
Buoy Czech Pils (6.2%) 3.3
Grassy, weedy nose. Medium light straw color, thin head, some lace. Light grassy initial, some tang in mid palate, Mild Saaz hop notes. Finishes lightly sweet. Thin body Pleasant enough. Seems a touch overhopped for the style, or maybe the bittering additions or dry hopping didn’t work out right?
1 8th Street
Astoria, Oregon United States 97103
503 325 4540
Monday – Thursday: 11am – 9pm
Friday – Saturday: 11am – 11pm
Sunday: 11am – 9pm