3½ palms (out of 5)
Where: 971A E. Eau Gallie Blvd., Melbourne (though the address is Melbourne, it’s actually in the southwest corner of the Walmart/Winn-Dixie plaza at the corner of State Road A1A and Eau Gallie Boulevard in what is considered Indian Harbour Beach)
Hours: 4 to 11 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight (or later) Friday and Saturday; noon to 9 p.m. Sunday (and later for football)
Other: Coasters is having its second Belgian Beer Fest on Feb. 11-13, when it makes room for more than 35 taps of Belgian beer at one time. It expects to offer about 50 Belgian beers during the three-day weekend, with Belgian food specials and music. For more info, visit www.coastersbrewpub.com.
Coasters Pub is a place where one has to ask, which is more important, the food or the beer? And the answer has to be the beer, at which it excels. The pub has a large and diverse selection on tap and in bottles, and if you catch it on certain nights, you can enjoy some very special brews.
We went on a night when Coasters was featuring 18 Dogfish Head beers on tap. The Delaware brewery, featured on the “Brewmasters” show on Discovery Channel, is known for its experimental, flavorful and intense beers, and this night did not disappoint. The Chicory Stout was dark but not too dense, with a hint of coffee, and the Shelter Pale Ale was refreshing and nutty. Our party tried many other varieties, from the wine-inflected Red and White to the complex Palo Santo Marron, aged in Paraguayan wood barrels.
The beers (not to mention a full liquor bar and wine) are a feast unto themselves, but quaffing such strong libations requires food, and Coasters has just the right mix of fried favorites and hearty fare. There are plenty of appetizers, hot and cold sandwiches, wraps, salads, soup, chili and entrees.
We began with the nice coconut shrimp appetizer ($7.50), which came with a sweet honey-orange marmalade sauce. We also ordered the drinking man’s friend, Coasters’ Combo ($6.49), a basket full of breaded and fried items that the folks at our table scarfed up — vegetables, onion rings, mushrooms and cheese sticks.
Then it was on to the entrees. I ordered the Baltimore-style crab cakes ($16.99), which were decent and chunky with lump blue crab meat. They were served with tartar sauce, but our extremely busy server hooked me up with cocktail sauce right away.
My husband ordered the Fish n Chips ($8.99), with a big, breaded and lightly fried plank of haddock, quite tasty. I would get it again. Our meals came with a mayonnaise-heavy coleslaw and fries, which would have been better if they’d been served hotter. I got the impression the pub was overwhelmed with Dogfish fans.
The atmosphere was convivial, if a little crazed, and the crowd was definitely happy. Coasters’ next special event is a Belgian Beer Fest on Feb. 11-13. As it warns on its website, “Get on the waiting list for a new liver now!”
Contact Kridler at 321-242-3633 or firstname.lastname@example.org.