It was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 C) in Portland Oregon on the day I arrived to Pacific City Oregon. Pacific City is a town of just over 1000 inhabitants and my mouth was agape at the amount of people who had crammed themselves into this tiny seaside town. It was almost as though the entire city of Portland had left the inferno to seek shelter at the coast.
I was on a mission while in Pacific City, to visit Pelican Brewery. As I drove around the small town looking for any parking space I was reminded of the photos Pelican Brewing posts on their Facebook page. Always serene, overlooking the beach with a beer nestled in the sand. Never a person in the photo, giving you the idea that the seaside town may be overlooked by its nearby relatives, Cannon Beach and Lincoln City. I felt a little duped!
After the second loop around town I gave up on finding a close parking spot. I took a parking space at the end of the line, about a 10 minute walk back to the brewery. I walked past car after car, most of which proudly displayed their Oregon license plates. I realized that my suspicions of Portland dwellers invading Pacific City was most likely true.
About half way through my walk I noticed a sheriff deputy ticketing cars that were parked along the side of the road. As a law-abiding citizen I asked the deputy if parking on the side of the street was allowed as I had not seen any “no parking signs”, but the road was narrow. His response was simple and understandable. “Yeah, just don’t park in a turn lane like these people did and you’ll be fine”. I looked down at the ground to see that the cars, all with freshly written tickets, were parked in a turn lane. Duh. I nodded asking one last question before I moved on “is your town always this busy?” The deputy chuckled and said “rarely”.
I had made my way back to the brewery and in typical fashion spotted a prime parking spot in the brewery’s parking lot. There was no sense in going back to the car as it would surely be gone by the time I would be able to drive back. Instead I walked in to the brewery and foolishly thought that being a single guest I would be seated quickly.
The hostess’ response made my heart stop for a quick second “an hour and a half” after I asked how long the wait was. For the second time since I arrived to Pacific City my mouth was agape with astonishment. I still had at least a six-hour drive ahead of me before stopping for the day and an hour and a half wait was not going to cut it. She could see my frustration and said that I could look in the bar as it was open seating.
I rolled the dice and walked in to the crowded bar looking for an empty seat. And like an angel from the heavens I spotted one empty chair. My hour and a half wait just went to a zero minute wait and I was grateful.
I squeezed into my spot next to a friendly couple… from Portland Oregon. I placed an order for my first beer, The Beak Breaker Double IPA. My friends sometimes say I come out of the gate hot when ordering beer. The Beak Breaker is no exception reining in with a 9.5% Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and a 90 International Bittering Unit (IBU). Flavors of citra flow throughout this hoppy beer. The Beak Breaker was delightful and diminished my memories of the struggle to get to the brewery.
Because I was at a seaside town I felt it was required to order a basket of fish and chips. And my nice citrus flavored beer would pair well with my lunch for the day. Once the fish and chips arrived I was treated to a nice flaky fish, battered to perfection, with a mild coleslaw and crispy fries.
My next beer was the 3 Capes IPA. I should have started with this beer as it’s less powerful IBU got slightly overpowered by its predecessor. The 3 Capes has a 60 IBU and a 6 ABV. It was not overly flavorful, but maybe because I came out of the gate hot, it may have been overshadowed by the Beak Breaker.
After I finished up my lunch and beers I took a quick walk around the beach. The beach is conveniently located in front the brewery. The brewery is near Cape Kiwanda, a Oregon State Park, one of which the dogs and I had intended on exploring. Due to the weather and our constant lack of time, we will have to visit another day.
On a clear day, which I did not experience, you can not ask for a better view. According to researched photos online this beach hosts one of the largest haystack rocks on the Oregon coast. On the day of my visit it was limited visibility due to the low hanging clouds and fog that saturated the seaside town. This of course did not stop the Bodhizafas from lining the beach with their surfboards in hand, waiting for the perfect wave.
Pelican Brewing distributes their beers throughout the Northwest which means I have been fortunate enough to have tasted a few more of their beers while at home. The Dirty Bird IPA, a 7% ABV and a 65 IBU is the result of a mistake. A dark malt was added, giving the beer a amber color appearance. Not an overly citrus flavored beer like I like, but a nice flavorful malty beer.
I have also tried the Umbrella IPA, a 7.4% ABV and a 60 IBU. This beer is dry hopped and made with the Ella Hop, an Australian aroma hop. This beer has a fruity flavor of gooseberry.
Another hot out of the gate beer is the Imperial Pelican Ale, with an 8% and 85% IBU. This beer is tasty with a mix of citrus and spice.
And since Christmas is right around the corner, do not pass up Bad Santa a 6.7% ABV and 70 IBU. This cascade ale, otherwise known as a Black IPA, is roasty and toasty. It’s seasonal but worthy of stashing some away for later in the winter.
Pelican Brewing in Pacific City is located at 33180 Cape Kiwanda Drive. There are also two other pub locations: Tillamook Oregon 1708 First Street and Cannon Beach 1371 S Hemlock Street.