beer release

Pelican Brewing Releasing Gin Barrel-aged Queen of Hearts Saison

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Pelican Brewing Company is releasing a gin barrel-aged saison-style ale, Queen of Hearts, next in its barrel-aged beer lineup. Using Ransom Spirits Old Tom Gin barrels to age Saison du Pélican results in a unique take on the style. Queen of Hearts–her eminence–will be available this weekend on draught and in 50 liter kegs, 1/6 barrels and 22 oz. bottles.

More from a press release:

The original Saison du Pélican is exceptional on its own but when aged in local gin barrels from master Oregon distillers at Ransom Wine and Spirits, it takes on a whole other dimension of flavor. The fruity and spicy aroma of the farmhouse Belgian yeast, herbaceous Goldings hops, and the well-rounded malt character of Saison du Pélican pairs exquisitely with the huge botanical infusions imparted by Ransom Distillery’s Old Tom gin barrels. It has been said that Ransom distillers only bottle the ‘heart of the hearts’—the best portion of distillate, which is why Pelican dubbed its Saison ‘The Queen of Hearts:’


ABV: 6.5%  |  IBU: 30  |  PLATO: 13º


What makes Queen so majestic is the flavor from barrels used for aging the historic Old Tom Gin. According to spirits website Tales of the Cocktail, “when it comes to crafting a classic spirit that essentially vanished from America’s cocktail scene, interpretation was the key to innovation when distilleries took up Old Tom gin’s flag. If Genever is the heady forefather of modern gin and London Dry is the modern standard bearer, Old Tom is the neglected middle child. Not as malty and heavy-handed as Genever. Not as spicy and arid as London Dry. Often sweeter and rounder than your more modern gins, Old Tom gin offers a great introduction to a somewhat divisive spirit—it’s a sweeter, less-botanical version of most gins found on the market today.”

“Queen is the perfect summertime addition to the Pelican cast—it’s much lighter than other barrel-aged beers with lower alcohol content, lighter color and an herbal, fruity, botanical flavor profile for a bright, light refreshing summer sipper,” says Darron Welch, founding brewmaster at Pelican Brewing Company. “I’m a huge fan of Ransom’s Old Tom Gin, which is a fantastic revival of a nearly forgotten style of gin.  It’s herbal, floral character and background oak character both complement and enhance the fruity, spicy flavors of Saison du Pélican.”


Pelican celebrates this unique blend with a release party at all its breweries this weekend. Restless Pelican fanatics can pre-order Queen now for pick up at any Pelican brewery location (Tillamook, Pacific City and Cannon Beach) starting this Saturday, June 17.

“Queen of Hearts is a completely innovative beer—the uniqueness and historic style of the gin really fits with Pelican’s style of reimagining beer that had been long forgotten,” says Jim Prinzing, CEO, Pelican Brewing Company. “Darron’s history degree informs much of his award-winning brewing and Queen is a great example of celebrating a notable spirit style that pairs beautifully with our own Saison.”

With consistent growth and demand for its products, Pelican recently increased brewing and bottling capacity at its Tillamook facility to over 38,000 barrels and opened a new brewpub in Cannon Beach which offers additional capacity for such experimentation.


Like all Pelican beers, Queen of Hearts is born at the beach by a team of award-winning craft beer makers known for brewing styles of beer that they themselves love to drink. Cheers!

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: [email protected]

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