Having hit Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee that late August afternoon, we cruised to Lincoln City for a brewski at the wonderful Old Oregon Saloon (see previous post), the three Beerchasers (Dave, Don and Steve) then drove a few miles down Highway 101 to the Rusty Truck Brewery in what used to be the City of Taft. The brewery is ensconced in a nice pub called Road House 101 for obvious reasons.
They brew a number of good beers – although no Pilsners – and we each tried a different one of their ten brews – Moonlight Ride Blackberry Ale, Fender Bender Amber Ale and the Rusty Truck Beach Blond Ale. Since each was very good, in retrospect, perhaps we should have gone with the sampler and added three more for only $8.
One is struck by the scads of dollar bills on the ceiling through the entire place. Our bartender told us that Brian Whitehead, the owner, since 2005, has supported theTaft High School Booster Club programs with $300 to $500 per year with this upward bound currency.
We ate some delicious onion rings, burgers and fish and chips and ended our first day.
The next morning, we headed out early, driving North to Pacific City to the Pelican Pub and Brewery.
You can see by the picture below that this August morning was foggy – even the surfers would not venture into the Pacific. Dave, having taught some high school English Literature before becoming a principal, quoted Kipling: “A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold; for summer was in England.”
The smell of the salty ocean air mixed with malt, barley and hops from the brewery reminded Steve of the aroma of the county fair in Elbert County, Georgia (home of the Blue Devils) on the Atlantic coast even though he had never been there.
We had adopted a general rule that we would not drink beer before 11:00 A.M. At least by then we rationalized, it was 5:00 P.M. at both the Abacos Bar in Amadora, Portugal and at the Naesti Bar in Reykjavik, Iceland. People were hoisting mugs of beer (or Aquavit) after work. We were supporting them in the same endeavor on the Oregon coast…..”Skal!”
But sitting at the bar talking to Rachael, the Assistant Manager, we found out that they had run out of syrup for their Winema Wit Beer. We decided not to take a chance on other brews, so at 10:50, Steve ordered a Surfer Summer Ale, Dave, a Tsunami Stout and I toasted them with a MacPelican’s Scottish Ale. The Pelican Pub also has excellent food and brews six different “core” beers and a number of specialty brews including the award-winning Stormwatcher’s Winterfest.
Now Pacific City is a small burg with quite a history in the Oregon fishing and timber industries, both of which generated patrons for its watering holes.
Matt Love – a high school teacher, author and columnist – who now lives in Astoria – for two decades, reviewed coastal bars in his wonderful blog, Letitpour.net. Although he discontinued the endeavor in the mid 1990’s he reviewed one old Pacific City establishment – the Tidewater Lounge – overlooking the Nestucca River.
He described this bar – gone and replaced by a bland disappointment now called the Oar House – as follows:
“Thank you for the tables near the windows that look out to the Nestucca where I can check out the drift boats and incoming tides rushing up from Nestucca Bay. When a big winter storm coincides with a big minus tide, I love to take in these exciting physics lessons with a black beer and a brown shot. Thank you for the loyal clientele that loves to party and can sweep a visitor away in a cheap vodka wake.”
We had one quick beer at the Oar House and then found a bar that emphatically retains its historical character – The Sportsman Pub and Grub.
We got there about 1:00 in the afternoon and the six tables were filled so we sat at the bar. We chatted with “June Bug,” our bartender (she got the moniker because “I ‘bugged’ my mom when I was a kid.”) It could have been worse and her mom could have addressed her as “Phyllophaga.”
And we talked to a woman working on an i-Pad at the bar who told us she had previously been a bouncer in Bozeman, drove semis for a living, has a graduate degree in math at Oregon State and whose drink-of-choice is Pendleton Whiskey. None of this could be verified, but she typified the mix of Sportsman patrons.
No one could capture the essence of the Sportsman better than Matt, who at one time was the “Resident Writer of the Sportsman,” and wrote:
“Located near the only traffic signal in Pacific City, the Sportsman is the sort of American hangout that must make effete Frenchmen shudder: pool, video poker, darts, ESPN, ESPN 2, an ATM machine, cheap Midwest lagers, cheaper Pacific Northwest lagers,…..expensive micro-brews, and hearty, delicious menu items, including some rugged pizzas that undoubtedly fuel bodies for launching the local dory fleet or clear-cutting the nearby hills…….
Once I heard a loud banging on the front door, as if someone struggled to gain entrance. What? Immediately several burly guys jumped up, went outside, pulled a man from a wheelchair, and deposited him in a booth. With his buddies, the man proceeded to pound several pitchers of beer in 30 minutes. His buddies then picked him up, took him outside, seposited him in the wheelchair, and he rolled on down the road in total darkness as it rained sideways—with a can of beer in his lap.”
And Matt didn’t even mention the model bi-plane – made out of Coors Light cans which rivaled the real items in the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville that we visited on the way to the coast.
Matt’s review of the Sportsman concludes:
“So the story goes, a veteran patron requested that upon his death, he wanted his wake held in the tavern. Well, the old timer dies, he was cremated, and of course the management obliged him.
So his drinking buddies crowded in the men’s bathroom, hoisted their pints for a second…and flushed his ashes down the toilet. Top that drug testing, antiseptic, bottom line, unfunky, God fearing, screaming baby, corporate brewpubs!”
We headed back to Lincoln City for our final bar visit that day – The Cruise Inn – a Lincoln City dive bar. But that was after a stop at the Lincoln City Cold Stone and our mid-afternoon dessert.