I had three main objectives in my otherwise carefree vacation to the Pacific Northwest last spring: visit with old friends, try excellent west-coast microbreweries, and see the Pacific Ocean.

Pelican Pub & Brewery in Pacific City, Oregon may have epitomized those goals perfectly (though there were plenty of other noteworthy moments in my two-week trip from Seattle, to Portland, to Bend, to San Francisco).

After spending several jam-packed amazing days in Portland, my friend Ted and I packed into a borrowed car and took an excursion to the hip little town of Bend. Our time in Bend couldn’t have been more perfect–we enjoyed pints at both the Deschutes Brewery Pub and the McMenamins Old St. Francis Pub, a fantastic hike up and around fog-drenched Smith Rock followed by fresh huckleberry ice cream, and the hospitality of two fabulous Couchsurfing hostesses.

Then we were ready for the return to Portland, but with my coastal wishes in mind we cut across the state back to Route 101, for a scenic (albeit longer) tour along the Pacific.

We arrived in Pacific City just before sunset and, it being very early spring, we had the beach almost to ourselves… As the sun made its way through some lingering clouds down to the horizon, we romped around the large dune there, taking in the warm ocean breeze in the waning light.

What better to follow than a mellow drink at the Pelican Pub, who’s coastside locale was equal in appeal to the array of award-winning beers they served up.

Featuring ales primarily, I took a flight of their offerings which included a few seasonals like Le Pelican Brun, a sweet Belgian-style brew, and the Riptide Red which harked to its seafaring locale with its hearty aroma; as well as a slew of their regulars including the MacPelican’s Wee Heavy (I do love a solid Scotch Ale), rich and brewed using half the normal amount of water, and the hearty, multi-award-winning Tsunami Stout.

Special Thanks to: Teddy Lee, Chief Kiwanda, Couchsurfing.org, and the weather