The Kingdom’s Capitol building
Along the western slopes of the Oregon Coastal Range…come look. Come visit the small town of Siletz located on Highway 229, about a dozen miles southeast of Newport. Surprisingly, in the remote Siletz area you will not find a secluded public place to have sex in a vehicle, which vexed my companion on a recent afternoon. But even more surprisingly, what you will find in Siletz is a unique Oregon Coast drinking hole—the Siletz Roadhouse and Brewery—and it rates as one of the most glorious joints in the Let it Pour realm an confirms what Jim Harrison wrote: “There are many worlds in the United States if you stray very far from freeways and stay away from television.”In fact, I hereby establish it as the realm’s capitol, and would bet everything I own that I could form 10 regulars from the Siletz Tavern into a more effective legislative body than the current Oregon Legislature. And that’s after we’ve been drinking all day, emulating what Huck Finn says about Pap, “Whenever his liquor began to work, he most always went for the govment…” Typically, I disdain brewpubs, because of their smoke-free, child-friendly atmosphere and the presence of men wearing sandals who talk pedantically about how the beer is made, instead of the crazy shit you do while drunk. My other objection to brewpubs is the constant lack of a factory girl with “stains all down her dress” as Mick Jaggar once sublimely put it. I do make exceptions however, but never for the aesthetic disaster in Pacific City. I urge you to boycott it as well, unless you feel comfortable knowing that the overrated beer served there helps finance the ongoing sodomy of the area. The Siletz Roadhouse makes its own beer, damn excellent beer, but it doesn’t seem at all like a brewpub, and it’s not because a man was once beaten to death in the parking lot when the place used to exist as degenerate tavern.What separates the joint from the baby nursery are the clouds of cigarette smoke, Def Leppard occasionally turned up loud, the pool table, the classic wood refrigerator, and the very working class clientele who drink too much Bud and Coors Light and should be draining the homemade product with abandon and pride. Their refusal to do so is just symptomatic of the self-inflicted problem that slowly bleeds rural America: a local saves $1.50 a pint buying a conglomerate’s crappy beer, and thus doesn’t support a local business and his community with the one means at his disposal to do so—his bread. Turn this habit around and you will see a renaissance of rural life in this country.These bumpkins have no idea what they’re missing. Just to describe a few of the Siletz Brewery’s offerings, the Mojo Ale almost acts as an aphrodisiac and the Spruce Ale, made with Sitka spruce tips, is simply the best, most original, most utterly cool Oregon beer I’ve ever tasted. I buy a case of it whenever I’m in town.A case came in particularly handy the other day as a palliative for nausea after learning Lars Larson recently visited the Central Oregon Coast to give a pep talk to the Lincoln County Republican Central Committee. It cost $40 a fanatic to hear his bile while low-wage slaves served pork medallions as the main course. I also heard the attendees drank Monarch spirits.Speaking of spirits, the Siletz Roadhouse has booze too, although one has to question the sanity of anyone who would order some when so much great beer is available. Be that as it may, I was sitting at the bar drinking a Spruce Ale and eating the homemade potato chips while watching the bartender make a gin and tonic. She filled it to the brim with the house swill and cut up a fresh lime. The cocktail rested on the counter for mere seconds, when a fly landed on the rim and then quickly buzzed away. No one saw this except me and the bartender didn’t see me see it. Now a lesser joint with amateurs or scoundrels behind the bar would have served the drink. Without hesitation she poured it out. Of course I winced. We do hate waste in the kingdom.