Mother Of All Storms

Last summer Wifey and I stopped in Pacific City for a quick bite on our way up the coast and ate on the patio of the Pelican Pub & Brewery. I had never been there before or tried their beer, but after a solid meal and a tasty Kiwanda Cream Ale, I was ready to try some more.

I had heard stories about the Mother of All Storms, a bourbon-barrel aged barleywine released in the fall bringing scores of visitors from the Willamette Valley into this small beach town. The beer only makes it to a select valley locations, and even then that's if the small run doesn't sell out at the brewery itself. And the taste? It's legendary.

So fall came and we wanted to get out of town for a night, and we came across this deal, a combination deal with Pelican and the Inn at Cape Kiwanda, situated right across the street from the brewery. Keep in mind, I've never even tried this beer, but decided what the hell. I mean, who doesn't need an entire case? They even threw in a free T-shirt with the beer's logo (it says 2010, but who am I to quibble?). Plus, if we got to see an actual storm, that would be nice too.

And it was pretty stormy, at least on Friday. The rain was heavy, the clouds dark, and the wind viciously cold.

The next day the sun broke out of the clouds a bit, and as promised a case of 22-ounce bottles and a T-shirt were waiting for me at the front desk. A case!

Yes, of course I opened one when we got home that evening. I mean, how could I not, since we spent the night and drove to the coast and back for it. Plus, I have quite a few of them - might as well get started, right?

This beer has a very nice nose if you are a bourbon fan (I am, as you can see in my comments about Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout, Full Sail's Top Sail, and Boulevard's Bourbon Barrel Quad). It pours a very, very dark amber, but isn't nearly as viscous or syrupy as some other beers. As the beer warms in various turns you will get flavors of malt, caramel, vanilla, and oak.

And it should be allowed to warm a bit, for this is a sipper if there ever was one. Why? At the time of bottling this beer is a 13.5% alcohol and as it ages - as it should age well in the bottle if stored correctly - that number will go up. To be real honest, half a bottle of this is plenty. Unless you really don't have any other plans that night, it's best to share with someone or even stick half in the fridge, where it will be fine for a couple days.

All of that adds up to a ringing endorsement from me. I'm glad we went out there and I'm glad I have so many of these, but it probably wasn't necessary. I'd go back next year to pick up a couple bottles on release day, but I don't drink enough beer - and like variety - to justify an entire case. Maybe splitting it with someone.

Either way, if you find yourself driving north from Lincoln City and want to stop for a bite and a beer, Pelican Brewery is the place to go. And, if it's November and you want one of the most exclusive and well-balanced beers in the state of Oregon, pick yourself up a Mother of All Storms. Or a case.

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