Pacific City and Pelican Brew Pub


The beach at Pacific City from the top of Cape Kiwanda

A lot of press has been on the Oregon coast beer scene thanks to breweries like Rogue in Newport, Fort George and Buoy in Astoria, and Seaside Brewing Company in Seaside.  I had the pleasure of taking my family on a short camping trip to the coast to escape the unpleasantness of sweating in Portland’s 90 degree weather. I am aware that by the rest of the nation’s standards, temperatures in the 90’s might not constitute excessive heat, but for my temperate temperature loving NW family and I it’s a bit much. The cool breeze of the Oregon coast was exactly what we needed to avoid various body parts sticking to the furniture. We pitched our tent in a campground just outside of Pacific City. Upon our arrival we reveled in the immediate relief from the 90 degree Portland weather. We gladly embraced the high 60 degree day, set up camp and hiked the grounds.

Full-Sail-ESB-BottleThat night we allowed the kids to subject their teeth to the sugar onslaught brought by s’mores, while my wife and I enjoyed an ESB courtesy of Fully Sail Brewing. It’s one of their seasonal beers I look forward to. Bright, fruity esters from English yeast are a welcome departure from the usual clean, neutral yeast strains found in the U.S. It is a good beer. Plus the cheapskate in me likes it too since its less expensive than some of my other favorite beer on the market at right around $8.00.


The kids about to slide down the sand

The following of days were spent hiking and climbing Cape Kiwanda which is amazing! If you have never been to Cape Kiwanda it is one of the coast’s must see places. The mildly arduous hike/climb to the top is worth it for the view and the decent. Lots of visitors slide down on sand boards, some use cardboard, and some (like me) just enjoy running/leaping down in the soft sand. The view from the top is breath taking. Steep orange sandstone cliffs beg to be explored and the sound of the waves crashing against the cape is tranquil and melodic.IMG_1870


Wife Deanna and Charlie on Pelican Brew Pub patio with a Flock Wave pale ale

IMG_1865 A beer lover’s reward for ascending the cape (or for simply trekking to Pacific City), is a beer at Pelican Brew Pub. Even if for some reason you don’t like beer (unlikely I’m sure), the view and atmosphere at Pelican Brew Pub is worth the trip. The outdoor patio looks right out onto the Ocean. Cape Kiwanda stands a yellow and orange wall of rock to the north while from the ocean Haystack Rock stands watch over the beach, a huge silent beacon. The scenery alone makes for a spectacular day, but add to it the excellent beers available at this 4 time GABF winner of brewer and brewery of the year, and it makes for a little parcel of paradise. Since it was right before 4th of July weekend and the weather was near perfect, the pub was busy. They usually have 6 mainstays on draft plus some seasonal offerings.They had sold out of a couple of their seasonal beers but one the remaining seasonal beers  was an unfiltered pale ale called  Flock Wave. Its a delicious pale ale with lots of hop flavor, medium bitterness and a crisp finish. Per Pelican Brewery, they are releasing it in 6 packs so I’ll definitely be on the look out.

I have never had a lackluster beer from this place. Their Silverspot IPA is delicious. It’s made in the English style and leans more toward herbal and woody flavors than the typical big fruity West coast IPA. Kiwanda Cream Ale is a light bready thirst quencher, perfect after a hike on the cape. I also really like the Doryman’s Ale. Its an American Brown with a perfect balance between sweet toffee malt and hop bitterness.IMG_1858

I’ll stop gushing over this place now. You really should check out Pacific City and Pelican Brew Pub though. If for some reason you can’t make it to Pacific City and can wait until spring, you will be able to try their beers in Cannon Beach. Per their website, they are under construction on a brew pub there. I can’t wait. It will save me a 1/2 hour drive time!

Citra Mosaic Pale Ale

I have been trying to find a good pale ale recipe for a while and finally wheeled out theimage beer gear a couple of weeks ago for the latest attempt. I must say, I like this beer quite a bit. The impetus for this beer came from Deschutes Brewery. I really like their Fresh Squeezed IPA and wanted something with a similar hop profile. I did some research on their website and found they use a combination of Nugget, Mosaic and Citra. On their “homebrew” page they recommend an American yeast strain. I had a pitch of Pacman from Wyeast from a previous batch, so I thought I’d put that to use.

Citra Mosaic MashFor the grain bill I searched a ton of pale ale recipes online and in books. I settled on a gold medal winning recipe from Eileen Haynes published on the AHA website. I scaled it up a little for my system and substituted one of the crystal malts because I wanted a little more color.

The brew day was good. No real issues. I sparged pretty slowly on this batch which yielded a higher efficiency than I usually get, so my gravity was higher than I expected. I decided to just go with it and not top up with water. That is my one mistake with this beer. I ended up with an original gravity of 1.060. Pretty big for a pale ale. After fermentation finished, I calculated 6.43% abv. The higher gravity and bitterness lead me to initially name it , Accidental IPA.  After about a week however, the bitterness subsided. It now tastes like an American pale ale despite the 6.43% ABV.

All in all, the beer came out nicely. I wanted those tropical fruit flavors and aromas found in Fresh Squeezed, but with a littler lower alcohol. I failed miserably on the lower alcohol, but there is a lot of that bright, fruity hop character from the Citra and Mosaic. The grain bill provides a nice soft, bready back drop for the hops. I can absolutely see why Eileen won gold for her recipe at NHC.

I will definitely rebrew this one again. Its a great  beer as is, but it would be nice to have the abv below 6%. Also I think instead of the first wort hop addition, I’ll keep all the hops to the last 20 minutes of the boil to reduce the bitterness just slightly.image

Check out the recipe. If you brew it please let me know how it turned out for you.



Batch Size: 6 gallons

SRM: 8.1

OG: 1.060

IBU: 40

Efficiency: 82%

Yeast: Wyeast Packman 2nd generation with 1800 ml starter


10.5 lbs Two Row Pale Ale (Great Western)

12.5 oz Light Crystal 20-30 L (Bairds)

8.5 oz Wheat (Weryerman)

6 oz Crystal Vienna  (Briess)

6 oz Crystal 80 (Great Western)


First Wort Hop addition: 1 oz Nugget pellet hops (13.3% AA)

15 minute addition: .5 oz Citra pellet hops (14.5% AA)

15 minute addition: .5 oz Mosaic pellet hops (11.7% AA)

5 minute addition: .5 oz Citra pellet hops (14.5%AA)

5 minute addition: .5 oz Mosaic (11.7%AA)

Hop back (Blichmann Hop Rocket) for approximately 5 minutes after flame out: 1 oz Citra whole leaf hops (11% AA) + 1 oz Mosaic whole leaf hops (12% AA)

Fermented for 5 days at 65 F. Raised temperature to 70 F for 3 more days. Transferred to keg after gravity read the same for 3 consecutive days. It finished out at 1.011.