It’s a cold November day. To keep warm, and to toast the upcoming football game, you are gathered with your friends in a parking lot near the stadium drinking Oregon beers. Which one would you choose to bring?
If your favorite team plays in Autzen Stadium, you might show your loyalty by choosing a craft beer brewed in Eugene or Springfield. If your team plays in Reser Stadium, you might want to gather up beers from Corvallis and Albany.
Either way, you’re the winner for supporting local craft beers.
The question is, which beer is the perfect tailgater beer?
Consumers this year chose McKenzie Brewing Company’s Bombay Bomber Pale Ale, praising its lightness, balance and sessionability. As with all of Oregon Beer Growler’s Perfect Pints tastings, this one was blind – consumer tasters did not know which beer they were drinking and were asked to judge the various styles of beers as suitable tailgater beers. About 20 tasters gathered last month at Corvallis Brewing Supply. Following, in order of their preferences, were their choices:
McKenzie Brewing Co. Bombay Bomber American Pale Ale, Eugene 6.2% ABV, 50 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Brewed with all Northwest hops and Munich malt and two-row barley, this deep gold-hued ale is given a heavy-handed Mt. Hood hop addition in the kettle and dry-hopped after fermentation, for a powerful hop flavor.
Consumer Comments: Good hop/malt balance. Light citrus, crisp finish. Tasty light beer – drink while playing cornhole! Delicious, refreshing hoppy beer. Tastes awesome. I could drink this all day (with consequences).
Oregon Trail Brewery Ginseng Porter, Corvallis 6.4% ABV, IBUs not listed
Brewer’s Description: As the name implies, this robust porter is infused with American, Korean, Siberian, and Tienchi ginseng for an earthy, rooty finish.
Consumer Comments: Light enough to drink more of, and dark enough to drink more of. Coffee-like, very good. Not too heavy – a reasonable choice for a tailgater. Smooth espresso taste. Great for a cold evening while the Beavs destroy the Ducks. Tastes like wearing snug sweater. Super hearty.
Sam Bond's Accelerator ISA, Eugene 4.9% ABV, 42 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This India-style session ale features Mosaic hops, which add a distinct aroma and smooth bittering to the light malt body comprised of dark wheat, Weyermann pilsner, rolled oats and biscuit malt.
Consumer Comments: Fruity. Just hoppy enough. I could drink it all day. Smooth hoppy finish. Not too bitter. Hops like ‘woah!' Is it dry hopped?
Plough Monday Northwest Strong Ale, Veneta 8.3% ABV, 60 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This malt-forward, deep amber ale features caramel flavors with Northwest hops that add lighter citrus notes.
Consumer Comments: Is it Scotch ale? Great beer. I’m not going blind, but if I did, I can still taste this beer. Definitely the most unique beer. It’s pretty good. Melted caramel ice cream with soda – excellent!
Mazama Brewery Saison D’Etre, Corvallis 6.3% ABV, 25 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Spicy and aromatic, this ale has a dry, peppery finish. It is spiced with coriander, orange peel, juniper berries, and a hint of black pepper.
Consumer Comments: Super crisp, nicely hopped. I could drink this all day at a game. Bubbly. Fun to drink. Tasty Belgian character. Very good!
Deluxe Brewing Wild Beaver Amber Lager, Albany 5.5% ABV, 15 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This amber lager comes from an award-winning recipe. The bold, malt flavor is balanced by Mount Hood and Santiam hops.
Consumer Comments: Yum! Creamy sweet malty, like Easter offering in a glass. Good for starting pub conversation. Great for a day of long drinking. Good ‘gater beer. Excellent. Malty!
McMenamins Quack Attack IPA, High Street, Eugene 6.8% ABV, 55 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Lightly bodied and heavily hopped, this IPA showcases Falconers Flight 7 Cs hops, set aside for football season. Also featured: Simcoe and Amarillo hops, 2-row barley and Crystal wheat.
Consumer Comments: Good session ale. Clean, crisp hoppy flavor. Good lemony aftertaste. Malt and hops, versatile. Tastes like wandering into a cave full of magic hops. Easy on the palate. Solid and balanced.
Hop Valley Alphadelic, Eugene 6.7% ABV, 90 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: You can run but you can’t hide from the hops in this true Northwest IPA. Brewed by hop lovers for hop lovers.
Consumer Comments: Enough hops. Sweet and hoppy. Creamy and delish. I could drink it all day. Easy to drink. My favorite beer. Is it a thousand IBUs? I might drink at halftime if I’m trying to chase away the sensation of defeat. Nectary and delicious. Nice hop finish.
Claim 52 Kölsch, Eugene 5.3% ABV, 20 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: A clean, crisp German-style ale with light hop bitterness and melon and peach character.
Consumer Comments: Super sugary and malty. Light and sweet. Strong wheat flavor. Oranges and gin outlines with rye. Biscuity with spicy finish. Light citrus hops. Good for hot day while maintaining complexity.
Ninkasi Venn Dortmund-style Lager, Eugene 5.1% ABV, 25 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Venn represents the meeting of American craft with European tradition. Brewed since the 1800s in Dortmund, Germany, this style marries perceptible Noble hop bitterness with a rounded, sweet malt flavor. Venn is golden in color, clean and harmonious.
Consumer Comments: Banana and cloves with a soft pils flavor and a clean finish. Nice beer for cold and hot weather. Nice and light – easy to drink.
Flat Tail Tailgater Kölsch, Corvallis 5% ABV, IBUs not listed
Brewer’s Description: Our lightest brew, this bright straw-hued crisp and lager-like ale is brewed with German Tettanger hops, adding a spicy bouquet and light bitterness.
Consumer Comments: Bright and crisp like a lager. You could “pound” this. Damn good taste. I could drink it all day.
Plank Town Resinater, Springfield 7% ABV, 70+ IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This single hopped NW style IPA earned its name from the high oil content of Equinox hops.
Consumer Comments: Smells like my favorite beer. Enjoyable! Pretty big for a tailgater.
Next Free Tasting:
Oregon Beer Growler’s
Holiday Ale Tasting
Nov. 8 at 2 p.m.
F.H. Steinbart in Portland
234 S.E. 12th Ave.