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Macaroni and cheese at 7 Devils Brewing Co. in Coos Bay features cheese from Face Rock Creamery in Bandon. [Photo by Sarah Lemon]

Northwest seafood and specialty beers at 7 Devils Brewing Co.

A Coos Bay brew pub is carrying the torch in this community that too long thirsted for specialty beers.

Named for a road that twists and turns along this section of the South Coast, 7 Devils Brewing Co. heaped more fuel onto Oregon’s craft-beer fire in 2013. Like other similar endeavors around the state, 7 Devils managed to revitalize a section of downtown after commerce decamped for shopping malls or simply shuttered. At its core is an emphasis on local, sustainably harvested seafood and the region’s flagship artisan foods.

I became besotted four years ago with 7 Devils’ oyster po’boy packed with shellfish plucked from Coos Bay’s rich bivalve beds. Roasted chickpeas made for a crunchy appetizer alternative to poutine, gravy-doused french fries topped with cheese curds from Bandon’s Face Rock Creamery. The beer was on par with the food, and both compelled my husband, Will, and me to recommend this treasure to anyone traveling to the coast.

The menu since has been pared down, but 7 Devils distilled it to the essential dishes: fried oysters, albacore tuna and macaroni featuring Face Rock cheese. Visitors from the Rogue Valley and elsewhere likely will find 7 Devils’ prices a tad lower than counterparts in their communities.

Will and I briefly debated the merits of oysters ($8) versus poutine ($7.50), a holdover from the original menu. I lobbied for the former because I also wanted the macaroni ($9) and can only take so much cheese. Tempted by the albacore tuna, among the few local fish in season, Will did a double-take when the neighboring table received a dish that looked a lot like chicken strips, only much better.

Our server confirmed that The Devil’s Flock ($11) could be prepared with an Asian-style mild sauce or spicy chipotle-beer sauce. For $2, Will added a side salad of arugula with red onions and lemon juice-olive oil dressing. To my macaroni, I tacked on a cup of the day’s cream of tomato soup ($4) and a glass of the mocha stout ($5.50).

The oysters arrived promptly with Tabasco aioli. Although not so pretty as raw shellfish on the half shell, these plump morsels were breaded lightly enough that their frilled edges were evident. Each was a creamy, briny bite under its crunchy coating. I’ve eaten plenty of oysters over the years, but I would hazard that these were the best I’d ever had as a cooked preparation, I told Will.

Our entrees likewise did not disappoint. Under its light blanket of panko breadcrumbs, the texture of my macaroni was perfect, although 7 Devils seemed to have skimped a bit on the cheese. My soup had a clean tomato flavor without too much cream to muddle it, enhanced with a drizzle of herb oil. I would have liked it a tad hotter; ditto for the macaroni. Will’s chicken was tender and juicy under its deep-fried exterior matched in richness by Kettle chips.

The meal wasn’t so heavy, however, that we skipped sweets once carrot-ginger-orange cake was mentioned. Carrot cake usually appeals to me for its moist, dense crumb and tangy cream cheese frosting. This one likely was the lightest version I’ve ever had, elevated by the bright flavors of fresh ginger and citrus. The frosting was decadent without weighing down this delightful dessert.

Located at 247 S. Second St., Coos Bay, 7 Devils Brewing is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and Sunday through Monday, until 11 p.m. Saturday. The public house is closed Tuesday.

Call 541-808-3738 or see www.7devilsbrewery.com.

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