By Patrick Alexander
Oregon Coast TODAY
This year’s long, hot summer has been great news for businesses throughout Lincoln City but perhaps for none more than Rusty Truck Brewing.
The craft brewery, which sits next to sister business Roadhouse 101 in the Taft district, has been serving up a range of ales to help people beat the heat and make the transition from a day at the beach to a night on the town.
Brewmaster Jonathan Anderson said many of the seasonal brews on offer are lighter than the brewery’s winter fare, making summer the perfect time for craft ale newbies to take the plunge and trade that domestic lager for something with a little more flavor.
Seasonal beers on tap this summer include the Serena Rye Saison, a mellow, farmhouse –style ale; the Helles Bock, a German-style lager; and the Hempeweizen, a variation on the traditional hefeweizen made with toasted hemp seeds.
Also on offer is the Lincoln City 50th Anniversary Golden Ale, a brew Anderson said is particularly well suited as an entry-level beer for people looking to expand their palate.
Meanwhile, for the experts, Rusty Truck is proud to offer its full-bodied 8-Grain Double Amber, which weighs in at 10 percent alcohol and a score of 100 on the International Bittering Unit scale that essentially stops at 120 (which is where human taste buds give up).
“It’s a big boy,” Anderson said. “Get it while you can; it’s selling like crazy.”
The brewery is racking up critical acclaim, too, with its Moonlight Ride Blackberry Ale, Road Wrecker IPA and Cruiser Session IPA all featured in Oregon Beer Growler Magazine’s Perfect Pints section in the past four months.
Too hard to choose? Fortunately, you don’t have to; bar staff at Roadhouse 101 are happy to serve up a sampler tray of six three-ounce pours for just $8.
No beer tasting is complete without bar food; and the Roadhouse also has that covered.
“For beer snacks, we have signature hot wings,” said Manager Branden Fowler. “And people love our hot fried mushrooms and onion rings.”
Fowler said the summer has been a busy one for the Roadhouse kitchen, too.
“We’re getting lots of big families, lots of children,” he said, “which kind of shifts us from the winter bar environment to the vacationing families coming off the beach with big smiles on their faces.”
Summer cravings are well catered for on a newly revamped menu, which features more barbecue dishes.
“We have barbecue brisket, barbecue half chicken and we still have our famous St Louis ribs,” Fowler said, “all roasted low and slow.”
While barbecue wins hands down with the guys, kids can’t get enough of the Roadhouse’s fresh-made pizzas, with specialties including Tuscan, Mediterranean and a Black and Blue, which pairs barbecue hot wings with blue cheese.
Fowler said kids’ fascination with the open-fronted brick oven is matched only by their interest in the mini aquarium, where guests get to pick out their dinner.
“Kids go crazy for the live crabs,” he said. “We take them out and let them hold them.”
After the kids are in bed, long, warm summer nights set the scene perfectly for the Roadhouse’s live music, with rock and blues acts every Friday and Saturday through September.
“It gets pretty steamy in there with the dance floor full,” Fowler said, adding: “The playlist is fantastic for the rest of the summer.”
Meanwhile, back at the Rusty Truck, Anderson is already looking ahead to fall, with a new range of seasonal ales brewing in the fermenters.
Fall offerings will include oak-aged versions of the Cherry Chocoholic Baltic Porter and Stupiphany, an imperial red ale named in honor of “a sudden, inspired and profound realization that you did something stupid.”
Anderson will also be borrowing the Roadhouse pizza oven to roast some 40 pounds of pumpkins for inclusion in his Pumpkinweizen, and making use of a specially formulated blend from Lincoln City’s own Cape Foulweather Coffee in his upcoming Espresso Stout.
And with Lincoln City’s Artoberfest set for Oct. 3, Anderson has already begun the eight-week process of crafting his Oktoberfest, a traditional helles marżen lager that is clean, light and malty, with just enough bitterness to complement the season.
At last year’s Artoberfest, Rusty Truck was the only brewery still pouring by the end — a fact Anderson puts down to the home-field advantage.
“We had to send people back to the brewery to pick up more beer,” he said. “We went through more beer there than we do at some of the big brewfests in Bend.”
Rusty Truck Brewery and its sister restaurant and bar, Roadhouse 101, are at 4649 S.W. Hwy. 101. During summer, doors open at 11:30 am daily, with the restaurant serving until 9 or 10 pm most nights and the bar open late. For more information, including a list of upcoming events, go to rustytruckbrewing.com, roadhouse101.com or call 541-994-7729.