Pelican Pub & Brewery

Okay, if you read my other blog where I describe our Memorial Day weekend, you’ll see that I mentioned the Pelican Pub & Brewery. I’ve written about it before; they are located literally on the beach in Pacific City—which for my money gives them hands-down the best location of any brewery, anywhere.

More to the point, we had lunch and beers there again, after too many years, and I can finally—finally!—write a review for it! I’d been dying to go back, and I’m glad we did… I’m thinking that the Pelican has moved up my list of favorite breweries to the number one position. If not number one, then absolutely number two…

The Pelican Pub & Brewery in Pacific City, Oregon
The brewery itself, right on the beach.

The restaurant is a clean, well-lit, spacious place done in dark woods and bricks, with mostly unfinished beams for the ceiling and concrete floors. Surfboards decorate the ceilings. The front lobby doubles as the souvenir shop for T-shirts, glasses (pint and shot), beer, hats, etc. Out the back you can step from their patio directly to the beach, and you have a peerless view of Haystack Rock.

So the setting is awesome. How’d the rest of the experience fare?

Excellent (nearly) across the board! I was able to taste every beer on tap: their five regulars and all four seasonals. Check out this taster tray:

Taster tray of beers at the Pelican Brewery
Eight, count ’em, eight beers to taste…

All but their Wee Heavy were on that tray. Eight tasters for only six bucks! Nice… Here are some notes I jotted as I drank them—in order (left-right) on the tray, not as I drank them:

Kiwanda Cream Ale: Pale gold/yellow. Light, lightly hoppy, creamy. Grain… wheat?

MacPelican’s Scottish Style Ale: Malty, smoky/peaty. Rich. Clear brown color. Low hops. I quite like it.

India Pelican Ale: I’ve reviewed this before. Like it a lot. Big Cascade hops right up front.

Doryman’s Dark Ale: Dark brown. Malty, sweet, a very good brown ale.

Tsunami Stout: Black. Roasty, dark… hops are there, but overshadowed by the malt. Reminds me, oddly enough, of Papazian’s Toad Spit Stout. Mild, but good.

Nestucca ESB: Bitter/hoppy. Amber. Light… watery mouthfeel.

Organic Heiferweizen: Cloudy straw-colored. Bavarian style! Delicate, coriander… there’s a super-nice balance between the Bavarian style and the American (read: Widmer) styles… I like it.

Surfer’s Summer Ale: Gold, clear. Crisp. A little bitter… kind of like the low-carb summer ales I’ve tried.

MacPelican’s Wee Heavy: (Not pictured, or on the taster tray.) Rich, dark, strong. Good… very malty and low hops… quite good, like a barley wine. (It’s a double-strong Scottish Ale.)

Had I had time for a full pint, I would have gone with the Scottish Style Ale. Although all were good.

The food was excellent. I had the Pelican Po’Boy, snapper on a hoagie. My wife had the Piet’s Fried Chicken Sandwich, and also pronounced it good. The French fries were awesome. And the peanut butter pie for dessert—great.

The only thing we had a problem with was the service, a little bit… our waitress started out well, but she didn’t come back for awhile, the last half of the meal… and our waters were never refilled. Not a dealbreaker, but noticeable. On the other hand, they were quite busy and we were there during the lunch rush, it seemed.

All in all, an excellent experience and it’s totally worth the trip to Pacific City, if you’re on the coast. And bring a kite! The kids and I went down to the beach afterwards and flew ours, which is a great end to a good lunch and great beers.


  1. I think I’d better go check them out – the dark stuff sounds right up my alley, and I’ve become a pretty big fan of the Scottish style ales lately.

    "If it’s no’ Scottish, it’s crap!" 🙂

  2. Pelican is one of the gems of Oregon, and I love their beer and the pub. Haven’t eaten there though. Sounds like a great time.

  3. Your review makes me want ot give the Pelican another shot. The last time I was there was about 2 years ago when they had just reopened after an extensive renovation and expansion. The cheap but delicious burgers and frys were intact but 2 bucks more. They sat us all alone in the banquet room and the service was terrible. After a couple pints my wife was so upset that here favorite coastal hangout had been ruined she complained to the bartender. I’m sure they’re worked out some of the kinks since then, but it seems like things have gone from humble to upscale and lost some genuiness. But who can complain about craft beer on the Oregon coast? I enjoy trying to run to the top of the dune after a beer or two, that should be an olympic sport.

  4. Great review. As a vacation home (shack) owner in Pacific City (a quarter-mile beach walk from the Pelican) – and an AVID microbrew lover – I have to say that the Pelican is THE gem of the Oregon Coast. I personally think their IPA is the best beer I’ve tasted anywhere.

    I agree with you on the service. But one thing to keep in mind is that PC is a coastal town with a population of about 1000. Hard to staff a workforce of waiters/waitresses on a regular basis that know what they are doing. They get mostly highschool kids and maybe a seasonal resident or two. Given that, the service is not that bad.

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