Recently, the wife and I went for a day trip down the coast to visit the Oregon Dunes National Recreation area. Being the ever-optimistic beer lover, I Googled breweries in the immediate area, hoping we could stop by at some point and try a few. Sadly, between Yachats and North Bend, some 70 miles of coastline with several towns along the way, there was only one brewery to be found! Defeat River Brewery is in the quaint town of Reedsport, Oregon, on the banks of the Umpqua River estuary. What follows is my review of this charming little brewery found in an unexpected location.
- Beer – As usual, hop heavy offerings dominate the tap list. They have some creative twists to their creations and the names they give them. I was particularly fond of their fresh hop offerings where the brewers fresh picked the hops to be used in that batch on brew day. It is a novel concept and it gave those beers a crisp, rich flavor that I appreciated. I would say my biggest knock is the lack of variety although their coming soon list has a stout that I would love to try next time I’m in the area. Score: 3.5/5
- Brewery – Hands down one of my favorite interior designs for a brewery. If you could combine the farmhouse and industrial architecture look and add a pinch of historical old building, that is what you get with this place. The bar is a gorgeous polished wood piece with tables that match. They have smartly created a separate room that can be closed off for private parties and an outdoor seating area for those nice days during the summer. The prices are standard for a brewery and the beer pours are generous. Whomever designed this place deserves a lot of credit for making it look beautiful. Score: 4.5/5
- Ambiance – Welcoming. That’s the best way to describe how it felt at Defeat River. Being the only brewery in town, I think there are plenty of locals who hang out there on the weekends. While we were perusing the menu, some helpful folks gave us tips on their favorite drinks and made recommendations for things to try. I also saw several people come in to fill growlers while we were there. Loyalty like that, when cheaper beer from the store is close by, says something about a place. Score: 4/5
- Location – Right on what looked like main street, the brewery is easy to find with a large sign out front. Parking was limited to the street, however with many of the storefronts in that area looking vacant it was not an issue to find a spot. Score: 3.5/5
- Customer Service – We came in during a mini rush and there was only one barkeep working at the time. He was friendly and efficient, taking orders and pouring while at the same time making us feel welcome. The only knock I’m going to have against them is that they don’t allow dogs, even in the outdoor seating area. While I understand health codes and insurance concerns, well behaved dogs and breweries seem to go hand in hand and most of my favorites are canine friendly. Score: 4/5
Total Score: 19.5/25
Final Thoughts: Even though they are the only game around, they do not use this as an excuse to slack on quality. Delicious and well-crafted beers with a generous pour, a delightful tasting room, and an inviting atmosphere made Defeat River Brewery worth the visit. A short jaunt off US 101, be sure to stop in when visiting the Oregon coast and dunes. It will be well worth the trip.