Beercation, Day 2 – Tillamook, OR: De Garde & More

We started day 2 of our beercation by driving west from Portland toward Tillamook. Our taste buds had been begging us to visit De Garde Brewing, and we were only an hour and a half away from there. So we mapped out a few other spots near De Garde and set out to explore for the day.

Ben was feeling a lot better. I got him some hotel toast and a banana for breakfast that morning, and I nommed on those amazing Voodoo Doughnut treats I got the night before. We chugged some Pedialyte and some water (hydration is key!) and set out to our first stop.

Pelican Brewery   

In the oceanside town of Tillamook sits a brewery with a pretty impressive resume of award winning beers. They brew some classics and quite obviously, do it very well. The tap room sits above and overlooks the brewery floor. There’s a small menu, and lots of that pretty well-known Tillamook cheese on it.It was a nice little stop. And we still had a little time to kill before De Garde opened, so while cheese was on our mind, we decided to stop by the Tillamook Cheese Factory, a few minutes down the road.

Tillamook Cheese Factory 

The building was big, but the parking lot was enormous! I couldn’t imagine that entire lot being filled with people visiting a cheese factory! But people do love cheese!

You take self-guided tours through the facility. It’s always cool to see some behind the scenes production. We ended our tour with a few samples and shopped for a few minutes in their massive gift shop that was full of local food items. I’m a sucker for those kind of stores, and somehow managed to get away with only a bottle of local buffaloberry honey and a bit of fudge. And for some reason, Ben thought it would funny if I bought a stress ball that was shaped like a brick of their wrapped cheese.  I now am the proud owner of a “cheesy” conversation-piece…

We left the cheese factory and grabbed a quick caffeine fix at a coffee roaster across the street before heading to De Garde to ensure we got there when they opened.
De Garde Brewing

Any time someone brings a De Garde bottle to a bottle share, you’d better believe all eyes are on that bottle. These are beers designed by beer geeks for beer geeks.

I saw a list online the other day that was one of those “You Might Be Too Big Of A Beer Geek If…” lists. Only going on “beercations” for vacations, flying Southwest to check your beer boxes as free luggage, and shopping for a home with suitable space for a beer cellar as a main priority were all ones I checked off on that list. But the owners of De Garde take the cake for the geekiest of beer geek things ever.

They literally researched the wild yeast in various coastal areas and chose where to live and build a brewery based on the local wild yeast character in the air. If that’s not fucking geeky, I don’t know what is.

Their tap room is pretty small with a few barrels as small tabletops, but there are a few other rooms off of the main room with a bit of extra seating. You can check out some beautiful foeders from one of these rooms. The space has some fun, earthy decor, and you could comfortably hang here for hours.

I don’t know what their typical crowd looks like, but in the almost hour we were there, there were only ever 2 or 3 more people in there aside from us and the bartenders. I like it like that. I expected it to be chaotic.

We each had a different American wild ale on tap (Grand Blanc – 4.75 and Foeder d’Or – 4.25) and split a bottle of The Purple (4.75). We bought a few bottles each of the beers they had available to take home. It made me sad to leave such a great place, but we had more breweries to explore.

I hope we meet again, Tillamook.
Block 15 Downtown Pub Brewery

 We met someone along the way who had mentioned Block 15 in Corvallis, and it was “on the way”, as we started to set south, so we figured, “Why not?”

We arrived to a crowded restaurant, put our name on the wait list, and each grabbed a beer at the bar. We felt like sardines in a can standing in the large restaurant with that crowd, so we ventured back outside of the restaurant to where there were a few picnic tables seated out front. It was pretty cold, but the 11.25% ABV Super Nebula Imperial Stout was warming us up!

“Hanger” (you KNOW it’s a real thing) started to set in, and we realized that the over an hour wait time wouldn’t cut it for us. I go from hangry to cold hard bitch in like 3 minutes flat. Google told us that Block 15 had a production brewey and tap room with snacks nearby, so that’s where we headed.  Quickly.

Block 15 Production Brewery and Taproom 
It was really busy here as well, but miraculously, we found 2 seats at the bar right away. We ordered a small meat and cheese tray and a beer cheese pretzel. Their snack game is on point! We drank some more fantastic beers here, grabbed a crowler and a bottle to go, and ventured to our last stop of the night.

It’s also notable that this location actually will fill kegs on the spot for people to take home!  I had never seen that before!
Ninkasi Brewing 

This Eugene, Oregon brewery is beautiful. It’s great in the dark. The lights are inviting, and the tall entrance beckons you to enter. Once inside, the ceiling is a couple stories high. A huge glass window shows you the enclosed courtyard, complete with a hypnotizing upscale, modern fire pit table. The beer geek in me was concerned for the rapidly rising temperature of the beers of the guests sitting there. But it does make for some beautiful scenery and photos. And this is why the beer gods made Instagram.

Ben and I were exhausted at this point. It was a long day, and that Pacific time zone had us in a time warp. We didn’t get to try much here, but it was worth the stop to check it out. It was time to check into the hotel and get some rest for what day 3 and California had in store for us!

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