Perhaps never in the history of Oregon craft brewing have so many delicious beers been packed into so intimate a setting as the new tap room from Rusty Truck Brewing in Lincoln City.
The coast’s snuggest new nightspot welcomes guests to pull up a stool at the handcrafted maple bar and take their pick from the 12 taps on offer, each serving up a brew crafted with equal care and attention just a few feet away.
Owner Brian Whitehead designed the tap room to give guests a front-row seat to the brewing and distribution process, offering a view of the brewery through one window and their garaged antique trucks through the other.
“You can see the brewer doing his job,” he said, “and get tours any time you want.”
As well as designing the tap room, Whitehead did all of the woodwork himself, from the live-edge maple bar to the tiger maple window surrounds.
“I have never done that before,” he said, “I just learned as I went.”
The result — a warm, welcoming space that seats about 25 people, with room for more to gather around outdoor tables on a covered patio when the costal weather allows.
For people who come with an appetite, the tap room serves up pizza; and a variety of wines are always on offer. But make no mistake, the real star of this show is the beer.
On the other side of the window, Brewmaster Jonathan Anderson has his work cut out for him keeping the taps flowing with beers to fit each season.
People visiting the tap room in the next few weeks have a good chance of catching the last of some winter brews, including Low Rider Lager and Anderson’s award-winning hazy IPA, recently named an “Ultimate Favorite” by Oregon Beer Growler Magazine.
Cherry Chocoholic Baltic Porter, the brewery’s most successful beer to date is also still on the taps, crafted with real chocolate and several hundred pounds of ripe black cherries.
Already in the pipeline for spring is a Bavarian-style hefeweizen, brewed in a traditional style with hints of lemon, clove and coriander for a flavor that is more complex than some American interpretations.
Other spring offerings include the Double Berry, a raspberry and blackberry ale based on the long-running Moonlight Ride Blackberry Ale and clocking in at a hefty 9 percent.
And for people in need of something even more serious, Anderson is whipping up another batch of his Pedal to the Metal Double IPA, a 9.7-percent brew packing a pucker-inducing 102 IBU or International Bitterness Units.
Spring beers should come online around the start of March, and Anderson is already looking ahead to summer, when Rusty Truck Brewing will once again compete at the Oregon Brewers Festival in Portland.
While he’s still mulling what the brewery’s official entry should be, Anderson knows that IPAs will be a major part of his spring lineup, from the dry, champagne-style Brut IPA to the fruity Mango Double IPA.
“They sell like hotcakes,” he said.
Kolsch will also be making an appearance, both a traditional recipe and a more exotic version brewed with either lime-basil or lemongrass.
And beer lovers will be able to see each brew come together from the comfort of their favorite barstool, watching Anderson at work through the tap room window.
“I like that people can come in here and see me working and smell the beer brewing,” he said. “Hopefully it will help keep people interested in craft brewing.”
The Rusty Truck Brewing tap room is located in the brewery building, behind the main restaurant building at 4649 SW Hwy. 101, and is open from 4 pm to 10 pm daily and 11 am to 11 pm on weekends. The venue is currently 21 and over. Growler fills are available. Call them at 541-994-7729.