In Cannon Beach’s turbo-charged world of zymurgy, he who brews the best beer wins. And local brewers will go to extreme lengths to present the best and most exciting product.
One of the most original teamings comes from Pelican Brewing Co.
Cannon Beach brewer Coren Tradd collaborated with local coffee roaster Sleepy Monk Coffee to create “Dark Hearted Blonde,” described by Pelican as “an intriguing blonde stout, which features all the roasted coffee and chocolate aromas and flavors of a stout, but in a color you wouldn’t expect.”
Aficionados say the light-gold color packs an aromatic and flavorful punch of a much darker beer.
At the bar, I shared insights from assistant general manager Trevor McLean. McLean, who was raised in West Linn and has worked for Pelican for five years, moved to Cannon Beach last year with the opening of the Hemlock Street location.
“I worked in Pacific City for three to four years, and then this opportunity came to open this brand new restaurant, and I took it,” McLean said.
Since that time, he’s hosted visitors from around the world and seen the growth of the brewing company into a Northwest powerhouse.
“Business is great,” McLean said. “We have our slow days like any other business in the wintertime — it’s different in the summertime.”
Sales can run from $30,000 to $40,000 in the summer, he said, down to $3,000 in the winter months.
Unique beers are designed for each location, including Cannon Beach, Pacific City and the tap room in Tillamook.
The Cannon Beach location has 20 taps to pull from.
Brewer Tradd uses a two-vessel 10-barrel system, along with four fermenters and four serving tanks, with beers in all serving tanks. These include specialty beers along with Pelican’s core product: Kiwanda, Umbrella, Five Fin, Beak Breaker, Tsunami and Sea N Red.
Tradd works mornings six to eight hours and lets his creativity run free. “The last beer he did was ‘Toasted Grandma,’ which was an oatmeal cookie brown ale,” McLean said. “He does wonders with beers.”
The marriage of beer and Sleepy Monk coffee was a natural for Cannon Beach. The nearby coffee roaster has achieved success in spreading its signature beans throughout the region. “This blonde stout made with Sleepy Monk beans is amazing, one of the most unique beers I’ve had,” McLean said.
Beans used included Tanzania and Mexican Altura.
Tradd worked with the roasters of Sleeping Monk to dial in the precise roast for this unique beer. He took 11 pounds of the roast and steeped them into the fermenter. Tradd took samples over a one-week period to determine the right amount of consistency and balance for this blonde stout.
“The end result was this very unique beer that everybody seems to love here and I wanted to showcase,” McLean said.
The stout premiered at the Holiday Ale fest in Portland, where it shared the stage with entries from breweries around the state.
“I want to get people out here to try this beer before it goes away.”