By Matthew Meador
For the Oregon Beer Growler
I’ve become everything I ever made fun of. When you’re young, you think nothing’ll never catch up with you — older readers should know this. You younger readers already know everything, anyway, like I did when I wore your hipster ankle-boots. But the epiphany of grasping your own mortality can be jarring and, when you realize you’ve become everything you ever laughed at, you either find religion or double-down and order a round for everyone.
Naturally irreverent, few topics, people or afflictions were off-limits for my forward (and possibly sometimes offensive) humor. This means my conservative friends all think I’m a Pinko Commie and my progressive friends are certain I voted for Trump. Whatever. They’re all wrong: the funny parts of this life pretty much span the full spectrum. In fact, I sometimes think the most hilarious moments are spawned by the least humorous people. But that’s okay because they don’t need to be in on the joke for me to get my belly laugh.
The hazards from a willingness to find humor almost anywhere are numerous, especially when all that stuff you mocked stares back at you from the bathroom mirror. But my own life has been indescribably enriched by sharing these laughs with good friends as we sit ‘round the table at the neighborhood pub, swapping stories, sharing jokes and keeping the taps flowing. In celebration of friendship and laughter, we offer five Oregon double IPAs, guaranteed to take the edge off and help you find the funny.
pFriem Family Brewers: pFriem Double IPA, Hood River
9.0% ABV; 95 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Just like the name implies, brewing a batch of pFriem Double IPA takes twice the regular amount of malt and hops. That means each pint is brimming with doubly-rich aromas of fresh berries, notes of papaya and malty sweetness. Just make sure to raise your glass twice because a beer like this deserves a double cheers!
Consumer Comments: The favorite of this month’s tasting panel, the pFriem Double IPA from pFriem Family Brewers has a fresh and fruity character which is beautifully balanced on its requisite hop-crafted foundation. This pint says howdy with an enthusiastic head, tempting the taster with almost as much citrus as hops. The pFriem Double IPA is every inch a robust hoppy ale but its deft balance and amiable bitterness wins wide approval. If the bottle’s elegant labels have anything to say about the brew inside, a great deal of care and skill went into its creation — this Hood River brewery justifiably takes pride in its product.
Hop Valley Brewing Company: Alpha Centauri, Springfield
9.0% ABV; 100 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Big flavor. Intense pine and citrus aroma. We keep the malt profile clean in this Imperial IPA to let the love lights shine on the fine Northwest hops.
Consumer Comments: Bring on the hops! A classic double IPA if ever there was, Hop Valley Brewing Company’s Alpha Centauri epitomizes everything you love about IPAs — then double it! Alpha’s nose starts softly with a bit of floral and citrus but quickly brings on the hops, grabbing the taster firmly by the tongue. From start to finish, this brew builds to a crescendo, its big bitter finish belying its more subtle lemony handshake. If you’re looking for hop-forward and in-your-face, this bold brew’s for you!
Coalition Brewing Co.: Dropping Science Double IPA, Portland
8.0% ABV; 85 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Brewing epitomizes the intersection of science and art. In this spirit, Coalition is proud to present our newest year-round creation, Dropping Science. This uniquely delicious and balanced double IPA provides the best of the art and science of brewing. Deep copper in color, aromatics of pine, spice, and citrus from northwest grown Chinook hops entice your nose, while a mellow sweetness from caramel malt and malted oats balances the 85 IBUs. Hop flavors of citrus, pine and spice from Cascade and Sterling hops intermingle beautifully in this supremely drinkable double IPA.
Consumer Comments: The earthy-hued amiability of Coalition Brewing Co.’s Dropping Science Double IPA might be the initial clue that this brew is laid-back and mellow — a great choice when you prefer less brass and more nuance in your glass. Not as hoppily insistent as its brothers, this brew’s medium malt body and subtle hops are framed with gentle citrus, a bit of butterscotch along with nutty smokiness. Panelists unanimously attested to the easy drinkability of this unpretentious pint.
Claim 52 Brewing: Fluffier, Eugene
8.0% ABV; 75 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Double Fluffy IPA with lactose is brewed with wheat and oats and hopped with Citra and Mosaic. This beer was made to honor the first anniversary of Willamette Valley’s original Fluffy IPA. There are notes of passion fruit, pine, grapefruit and sticky green.
Consumer Comments: I don’t know about fluff, but Fluffier from Claim 52 Brewing infuses a lot of personality into your glass! More exotic than classic, Fluffier’s tropical nose seduces with notes of pineapple and papaya with an underlying floral tease. On the palate, the island fruit yields to citrus but expresses as an extremely drinkable brew — don’t worry, you won’t mistake it for Malibu. Panelists were nearly unanimously delighted with this pint, more than one suggesting a teriyaki pairing.
Stickmen Brewing Company: Iron Mountain IIPA, Lake Oswego / Tualatin
9.5% ABV; 80 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: A citrusy and bright Double IPA with heaps of Summit, Centennial and Cascade hops for bold aromatics and flavor.
Consumer Comments: Robust but evenly-tempered, Stickmen Brewing Company’s Iron Mountain IIPA has a bite but is marked by good manners. A medium-to-full-bodied brew, the Iron Mountain is well-balanced and not too heavy. Panelists noted its creamy head, moderate hops, and traces of wheat and rye, all leading to a clean finish. If you’re trying to please guests with a range of tastes, this brew should do the trick — IPA enthusiasts and virgins alike will agree.
When I think about it, maybe I haven’t quite become everything I ever made fun of yet — but I’m pretty sure it’s only a matter of time until the dementia, bad driving and incontinence set in. Until then, I intend to keep finding the funny stuff and celebrating this wacky, unpredictable journey. I know that doing so in decent company will pay off in unexpected ways. Like me, one day you may look back and realize these ordinary moments with good friends and great beer are more special than you thought.
By Gail Oberst
For the Oregon Beer Growler
It happens every year when I serve this style at our monthly blind tasting. Someone asks: What are amber and red ales? And as usual, I talk about toasted malt flavors that lend robust, sweet, caramel or fruity flavors, with emphasis on balance, even though in Oregon you may find this style hopped to the hilt.
And as usual, all of my so-called expert opinions fall apart as my tasters move through Oregon amber and red ales’ variety of flavors, colors and textures — from high-alcohol imperials to Flanders-style sours and all variations between. I’m not alone in my confusion. Even the biggest contests in the U.S. put reds and ambers into categories together. The caramel and medium-toast malts give the ales their distinct amber to red colors and full bodies, but after that, especially in Oregon, anything goes.
So, with all this fuzzy variety, how do you know what you’re getting when you buy an ale named “red” or “amber?” You could spend your time reading the description on the label or bar menu – that might help. Sometimes, breweries name their hoppier reds and amber “IRAs” or India red ales. The higher alcohol ales might have an “imperial” designation. Or, you might skip the reading and go straight to the tasting. The combinations of flavors in this style are sometimes genius, sometimes edgy, sometimes weird. You decide. And take your time.
To get you started, here are the favorite reds and ambers chosen by visitors to our blind tasting:
Rusty Truck Fender Bender Amber Ale, Lincoln City 6.2% ABV; 35 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Not your Mama’s amber ale, Fender Bender has notes of chocolate barley and an assertive hop character.
Consumer Comments: I’ve been on the road awhile and wasn’t sure where I was until I tried this – Oregon – hoppy, laid back. A nice red with a medium-hop character. Good malty flavor. Nice bitter finish. Dark beer taste with center of the Earth power.
Fearless Loki Red Ale, Estacada 7.5% ABV; 45 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This big, bold red ale has a slightly spicy sprinkle of rye malt. Roasty malt flavors are accentuated by massive helpings of Galena and CTZ hops. Just like its namesake, it can be a little sneaky!
Consumer Comments: Unlike me, this beer has a backbone. I like it! Well-balanced, medium and delicious. Amber taste with a kick. Great beer with a perfect amount of bitterness. This could be dangerous, but I don’t care. Sweet aftertaste.
Full Sail Amber Ale, Hood River 6% ABV; 31 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This amber is a sweet, malty, medium-bodied ale with a spicy, floral hop finish. It’s brewed with 2-Row Pale, Crystal and Chocolate malts and hopped with Mt. Hoods and Cascades.
Consumer Comments: Nice and malty amber. Good and sweet malty flavor without the bitter aftertaste. Very refreshing with a hint of roses and chocolate. Romantic! Valentine beer. Dark, but not heavy. Love it.
Elk Horn Viva La Rouge, Eugene 8% ABV; 20 IBU
Brewer’s Description: This sour red saison was aged on plums in a red wine barrel for 14 months with lactobacillus, pediococcus and brettanomyces.
Consumer Comments: Love this sour. Cherries? A sour beer! This seems like a higher-gravity ale, but it’s still well-balanced and level. I don’t like sours — well, I used to not like sours, but this one is tart and refreshing.
Leikam Grateful Red, Portland 7.1% ABV; 70 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Chinook, Columbus and Willamette hops take this into IRA territory, but the specialty malts offset any overwhelming hoppiness.
Consumer Comments: Refreshing on a hot, summer day. Woodsy. This is odd, but good. I’d want to drink it with split pea soup. Very good. Enough hops to be an IPA. Roses?
GoodLife Redside IRA, Bend 6% ABV; 50 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Named for the unique subspecies of rainbow trout found only in Oregon’s Deschutes River, Redside India Red Ale is one of a kind. Bright hops and a red malt base create a flavorful, aromatic and balanced ale with notes of guava nectar and a fresh floral hop bite.
Consumer Comments: Very balanced, unlike me. I can, and will, drink this all night! Light and tasty, and pretty hoppy for a red — just the way I like it! Oregon-style.
Royale The Visitor Red Ale, Portland 6% ABV; 42 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This is a rich, malty, flavorful red ale with a lush red color and a subtle tropical fruit and berry hop aroma. Medium-bodied, this ale has toffee, caramel and baked bread flavors that are malty, but not too sweet.
Consumer Comments: I like the malt. I’d like some more of this, please. Pretty beer! Perfect malty taste with just the right hopping. Another glass, please. Great!
Stickmen Red Kit Northwest Red Ale, Lake Oswego 7.1% ABV; 75 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This Northwest red beautifully balances four different malts with four fruit and citrus-forward hops for a harmonious drinking experience. The ale is dry-hopped with Amarillo, Citra, Pacifica, and Simcoe hops.
Consumer Comments: Nice hop nose and aftertaste, almost like a red or amber IPA. It’s been a long day, but with this beer, the night will finish nicely. Long live the night! Love this one! Excellent bitterness.
Plank Town FURTHR Ambr, Springfield 5.8% ABV; 32 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: A smooth, malty, English-style ale with seven U.K. malts balanced by a variety of noble hops, leading to a clean, dry finish.
Consumer Comments: Smooth! It’s sweltering out, but this beer makes it worth it. My mouth feels wonders. Is this a brown? I like it. Take it to the park, forget your troubles and watch the river go by. This one goes down easy.
Worthy Eruption Imperial Red Ale, Bend 8% ABV; 100 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: The numbers say it all. This brew is bursting with flavor. There are six pounds of hops per barrel, including Cascade, Centennial, Crystal, Meridian and Mandarina Bavaria. Despite all of that volcanic bigness, Eruption is incredibly smooth.
Consumer Comments: Two Exclams!! Oh my king, as in, King Louis IV. Sweet, malty and good. Pretty hoppy for a red, but nice citrus flavor. The malt balances the hops, making it very drinkable.
Burnside Too Sticky to Roll IRA, Portland 6.2% ABV; 72 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This is a Northwest-style red ale with medium bitterness accented by chocolate malt and candy-like sweetness from caramel malt. It is brewed with Centennial and Millennium hops for both bitterness and hop aroma.
Consumer Comments: Well-balanced with depth. Smooth between sweet notes and bitterness. That’s real good. Malty enough for a 95-degree day. I could drink this with a nice steak dinner. Mommy just took me to the candy shop and bought me a drink.
By Gail Oberst
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Sometimes, just to engage the thirsty crowds that show up for the monthly Oregon Beer Growler tastings, I quiz them like a beer-serving schoolmarm. “What is a double IPA?” I asked. The answers included: “More hops, more alcohol!”
That response does prompt the question, though: more hops and alcohol than what? Certainly in Oregon, an IPA 7 percent and higher — even without the “double” designation — is not unusual. International Bittering Units above 80 in a pale ale are also common in hop country.
Double IPAs, sometimes called imperial IPAs, are in the category foremost for their palate-jacking hop characteristics. And, despite its official designation as an “American” style, the double probably originated in the hop-centric West, especially in Oregon and Washington, where most American hops are grown. Because we’re hopheads, many Oregon brewers don’t even bother to designate their high-alcohol, high-hopped beers as “doubles,” preferring instead to list the hoppiness on the label and let the drinker beware. I had no idea until recently, for example, that one of the first hoppy beers I ever loved — Lompoc’s C-Note, featuring seven hops that start with “C” — is considered a double.
Oregon hopheads also know that “hoppiness” does not always mean “bitterness.” The hops in doubles are sometimes floral and fragrant, complementing the extra and often sweet malts required to push up alcohol content, and sometimes tricking your tongue into thinking this beer is less alcoholic than it seems. Don’t be fooled! Read the label. Pour wisely.
Our tasters chose the following Oregon double IPAs as their favorites. All are available now on tap, at the breweries, or in stores:
Rogue: 8 Hop IPA, Newport 8.88% ABV, 80 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: These aroma hops are grown at Rogue Farms in Independence. Then brewmaster John Maier selects and blends eight varieties to create the brash and burly flavors of this IPA, the boss of Rogue’s IPA family.
Consumer Comments: Bubblegum yeastiness! Well balanced and not overwhelming. A true IIPA, yum! McDreamy in a glass. Multiple hop flavors blend together. Floral, like a field full of flowers. Sage and pine. A bratwurst kind of beer. Woodsy and yummy … a lumberjack beer. Tongue-tingly goodness.
Gigantic: Ginormous Imperial IPA, Portland 8.8% ABV, 100+ IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Developed in a secret testing facility deep in Southeast Portland, Ginormous is powered by seven mighty hops. His mission is simple; to deliver a massive hop punch to those in need.
Consumer Comments: Refreshing, apricot and peach. I want a pint! Smooth — I’d bathe in this. Interesting flavors. Nice malt and nice balance. The best so far! Spicy! Great river beer, when you are looking to get lost on a beach. Deep flavor, fairly smooth with light bitterness. A good starter beer. Lingering pleasant aftertaste.
Silver Moon: Maui Wowie Double IPA, Bend 8.2% ABV, 100+ IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This small-batch beer, brewed only a few times a year, is not your average hop bomb. The “Big Three C’s” — Chinook, Centennial and Citra hops — create a high-gravity, hazy copper ale with an intense pine, pineapple and citrus flavor.
Consumer Comments: Killer beer! It’s my favorite so far. A hot beer for a cold day. A delicious amount of hoppiness. One taste is not enough. I’ll have a pint, please. Juicy and tropical. Are we on the islands? Super easy to drink.
Two-Shy: Ignition Double IPA, Roseburg 9.5% ABV, 115 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This has a balanced, but mildly sweet malt profile with Nugget, Simcoe and Cascade and dry-hopped with Citra and Cascade.
Consumer Comments: Peaches! I could drink this with a meal, especially with pork. Light, fluffy — something to drink on a patio in the sun. Not overly bitter. Nice and fruity. Bubbly and refreshing with a light kick. A poolside beer for sure. A good winter solstice, curl up by the fire during a blizzard beer. Strong, but smooth. Drink by a roaring fire in a cabin in the snowy woods.
StormBreaker: Triple Double IPA, Portland 8.5% ABV, 90 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Achieving a triple double in hoops is impressive, but achieving it in your beer is even better. Ten hop additions of three hop varietals — Mosaic, Citra, and Amarillo — scores on your palate, rebounds with big aromas of grapefruit citrus and pineapple, and is assisted by citrus flavors to balance the slight upfront bitterness and big ABV.
Consumer Comments: Roasty with a nice finish. Nice, light and malty. Yummy perfume for the tongue! Semi-sweet finish. Mellow taste with great finish. No strong bitterness, something you can drink in a relaxed setting. Nice mixture of citrus and tea. Anytime! Citrus upfront, good flavor, I dig it!
Barley Brown’s: Tank Slapper Double IPA, Baker City 9.2% ABV, N/A IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Intense pine and citrus notes in this double IPA come from massive amounts of Simcoe and Chinook hops. At more than a half ounce of hops per pint, this is not for the faint of heart.
Consumer Comments: Good smell with bitter hops. Well-rounded flavor. Malty flavor that has a nice bitter front taste that goes away nicely. Honey-like. Yogi and Boo-Boo climb a cedar tree on a hot day to get to the honey. Wahoo! Cantaloupe melons and butterscotch. Solid gold grapefruits.
McMenamins: Major Threat DIPA, Portland 8.39% ABV, 62 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: A true West Coast DIPA in which hops were incorporated at every step of the brewing process from mash to keg. Nugget hops were used for bittering while Chinook and Simcoe were used for the main hoppy flavor. Simcoe and Mosaic were then overloaded in the back end of the boil for a great tropical aroma. Finally, Mosaic was used again to dry hop each keg for a huge burst of hoppy dankness.
Consumer Comments: Bitterly delicious. Not overly hoppy. Very good, some sweetness, pleasant bitterness, drink in winter and early spring. Delicious and refreshing beer. Hoppy, earthy hops. Caramel and pomegranate. Mango! Nice and fruity, slightly sweet.
Ninkasi: Tricerahops, Eugene 8% ABV, 100 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Double IPAs are noted for their hop profiles. Earthy, floral hop aroma and flavor are abundant in Tricerahops. The bigger body and higher alcohol balance the large volume of hops to create a beer that is very flavorful while still being balanced and drinkable. The beer can be deceiving, as it is very smooth.
Consumer Comments: I really like this one! I could drink some more of this! This feels like a day of cutting pine trees. The pine flavor resonates in the mouth. Basically good. A bubbly tongue blaster. Nice hops, lightly malted, but still balanced. Nice malt. Oddly delicious.
Plank Town: UnObtainium, Springfield 8.6% ABV, 100+ IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Our mad scientists added eight varieties of hops combined with U.K. Maris Otter and Crystal malts to make this an unforgettable third version of our annual double IPA brew.
Consumer Comments: Really nice. Magical brew made of fairy dust! Hooray! I’d pair this with a spicy meal. Hands down favorite. Good anytime. Strong beginning and great finish. It’s weird, but awesome.
By Gail Oberst
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Can you smell football in the air? Then it’s time for tailgaters, the best part of football season for some of us. The homemade snacks come out. The barbecues are lit, and relit, and lit again — never mind the rain! The jokes become ribald. In Oregon, the coats take on garish hues of orange and neon green. The true Oregon flag — a blue tarp — waves proudly in both Duck and Beaver parking lots. And best of all, craft beers reign at tailgaters.
For the past three years, we’ve delivered papers to Oregon’s Civil War tailgater events, and I’ve always been amazed at what great taste in beers Duck and Beaver fans have. They raise their glasses full of local craft beers, and like good cheerleaders, defend the practice. “My beer comes from my neighborhood,” says one Beaver who lives down the street from Flat Tail Brewing. “I wouldn’t drink anything but this,” said a Duck fan as he raises a glass of McMenamins beer. Then he adds: “Today.” And his crew laughs.
Because why choose just one when you live in Oregon? The world is your glass. Fill it up.
In honor of the Civil War between the Ducks and Beavers Nov. 27 this year at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, the Oregon Beer Growler has gathered seven beers from Eugene-Springfield breweries and seven from Corvallis-Albany breweries. We presented the beers this year at The Bier Stein in Eugene at a blind tasting and let consumers choose their favorites. Block 15’s Sticky Hands in Corvallis won the most votes, besting Eugene’s High Street McMenamins Grandma Betty’s Quilted IPA by one vote. Oakshire’s Line Dry Rye from Eugene was a solid third. The rest are listed in no particular order with comments from the tasters.
Block 15: Sticky Hands, Corvallis 8.1% ABV, 110 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This ale features ample additions of sticky, resinous, lupulin-packed hop buds grown in the Pacific Northwest. Aromatic blast of tropical fruits, citrus and dank herbs; luscious hop flavor with a balanced bitter finish, pale malted barley and fermented with our privately banked brewer’s yeast.
Consumer Comments: Yum! Ba da da da da, I’m lovin’ it. Great Taste. Best flavor. Hoppy beer for game day. Infused with leaves and footballs — in a good way. Hoppalicious.
High Street McMenamins: Grandma Betty’s Quilted IPA, Eugene 7.1% ABV, 80 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Mosaics, Mosaics, Mosaics. A patchwork blanket of Superior Pilsen, Pearl Pale and C-15 malts woven together with an insane amount of Mosaic hops.
Consumer Comments: Grapefruit. Great on a hot day. Great game day beer. Not too heavy tasting. Great IPA with great flavor. I’d drink more. A pretty decent beer. Citrusy, fruity and delicious.
Oakshire: Line Dry Rye, Eugene 6.3% ABV, 66 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: A crisp, aromatic, honey-orange colored IPA is crafted with 15 percent rye for a complex malt profile that adds a touch of spice. Balanced by a generous portion of American hops for a snappy bitterness with a slight citrus grapefruit flavor and a piney aroma.
Consumer Comments: Love this one! Very mellow, but not too light. Perfect for drinking with tailgater snacks. Smooth and full-flavored. Very hoppy and delicious. Good flavor and a really good beer. Complex.
Ninkasi: Lux Helles Lager, Eugene 5.3% ABV, 20 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: The lightest of the European lagers, this Munich-style beer has a clean aroma with just a touch of grassy hops leading to a sweet, toasty malt flavor. This sustains to a crisp finish with just a hint of noble hop aroma.
Consumer Comments: Light and easy to drink. Yes. People would like this. Good lager. I could drink a lot of this. I really enjoyed this beer. Drink often!
Oregon Trail: Brown Ale, Corvallis 4.8% ABV, N/A IBUs
Brewer’s Description: A multiple award winner at the Great American Beer Festival in 1994 and 1995, this brown is medium-bodied, yet slightly dry, with a nice hoppy middle and roasted finish.
Consumer Comments: Coffee? Good for an early game. Breakfast beer. Nice light stout? I’d drink it — a lot of it. Sort of smoky or roasty. Enjoyable winter beer.
Flat Tail: Tailgater Kölsch, Corvallis 5.5% ABV, 25 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Our lightest brew. A bright straw-hued, crisp, lager-like ale with German Tettnanger hops adding a spicy bouquet and firm bitterness.
Consumer Comments: Seems like a good tailgate beer. I could drink this all day. I could drink 10 of these. I don’t like beer, but I do like this. Tastes like a complex lager. Good smooth flavor. I could run a 10K on this.
McMenamins on Monroe: Liberty Harvest, Corvallis 5.9% ABV, 23 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: An Oktoberfest beer made with German Kölsch yeast, a third of the grains are Vienna and Munich malts with Victory malts lending a light toasted flavor. Made to be quaffable!
Consumer Comments: Tasty. Pears. Nice Finish. Complex. Interesting. A lot going on. Easy to drink. Good flavor. Smooth.
Plank Town: Oktoberfest, Springfield 5% ABV, 22 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Our salute to the classic Oktoberfestbier. The spicy, sweet, herbal hop aroma draws your tastebuds deep into this malty beer.
Consumer Comments: Fruity and sweet. Easy-drinking and flavorful beer. Definitely something I could drink a lot of!
Elkhorn: DBR (Ducks Blue Ribbon) Kölsch, Eugene 5% ABV, 20 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This light refreshing ale is composed of entirely German-sourced ingredients. It has a classic pilsner-like profile of light grain, spicy hops and unsurpassed drinkability. Straw in color, light in body and light on bitterness, a perfect beer for any occasion.
Consumer Comments: Very light session beer, I like it. Smooth and drinkable. Light and fresh. Dry and crisp.
Mazama: Mosaic Eruption, Corvallis 6% ABV, 60 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This IPA showcases Mosaic hops that give it a bold grapefruit twist. This beer is triple-hopped with a blend featuring Mosaic, Amarillo, Citra and Centennial hops.
Consumer Comments: Great taste. This beer would go great with tailgate foods. Floral. Grows on you. I’d be the star of the tailgater with this one. I usually don’t like hoppy beers but this one is great. Delicious and fragrant.
Mancave: Exalted IPA, Eugene 8.2% ABV, 100 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Weyermann Pale and cara-type malts give this beer a uniquely sweet flavor — like the cheesecake of IPAs. GMO-free barley, Simcoe, Cascade, Citra, Amarillo and Columbus hops.
Consumer Comments: Fruity! Caramel and rich. Strong-tasting.
Deluxe: D-Lite, Albany 3% ABV, 19 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This German Leichtbier is under 100 calories, a truly bold craft light beer. It is bright and refreshing with light citrusy notes and a hop character that the “big” domestic light beers can’t match.
Consumer Comments: Buttery. Light. Very light and super easy to drink. Tasty for such a light beer.
Calapooia: Paddle Me IPA, Albany 6.8% ABV, 72 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Paddle Me IPA is a spicy brew with Maris Otter Pale imported malts and loads of high-alpha hops, including Summit and Simcoe for a pungent tickle of front-of-palate grapefruity flavor and aroma. An extra dose of Nugget and Centennial hops provide a playful slap of mid-range to back-end bitterness.
Consumer Comments: Tastes like fruit upfront. Delicious, hoppy and rich and pretty strong. Bitter or almost sour — I like it. Good bold flavor.
Claim 52: Claim House Weizenbier, Eugene 4.6% ABV, 10 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This hefeweizen-style beer is perfect for the pregame tailgater or anytime.
Consumer Comments: Love it! My favorite. Light but not watery. Is it hefeweizen? Full of flavor. Surprisingly good. Light with a good aftertaste.
NEXT FREE TASTING
Belgians: 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at F.H. Steinbart Co., 234 SE 12th Ave., Portland
By Gail Oberst
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.
Oregon Beer Growler each month invites consumers to “blind” taste a different style or group of beers at various locations across the state.