By Matthew Meador
For the Oregon Beer Growler
I have a tough job. For several years, I wrote a wine column called “Cellar Dweller” which appeared in a Portland Metro-area market publication. Today, that column has moved to a magazine celebrating the increasingly world-class food and beverage options in Oregon’s storied wine country. As you might imagine, I like writing about food and drink — maybe I love it. At the very least, I get to enjoy outstanding cuisine and libations from chefs and winemakers of significant renown. If all that isn’t difficult enough, now I get to add beer to my menu. Are you feeling sorry for me yet? Like I said, it’s a tough job but, as they say, someone has to do it.
Beer was always an escape for me, a way to relax, something that wasn’t “work.” Bluntly put, with beer I didn’t have to pay attention. When I drink wine or whiskey — something else I’m known to write about — I am usually careful to note the appearance, the nose, the various stages of the palate. I could enjoy beer without stopping to think about it, parse it and put my thoughts into words for others to read. That’s all changed now.
I spent my 20s in Portland, back when Widmer was a small local joint and Buck Night was an eagerly-anticipated twice-weekly event. On Thursday and Saturday nights, well drinks were a dollar-and-a-half and we always followed our hours-long visits to Virginia Cafe with music and beer at Satyricon. Or something like that. You’ll forgive me if my memory is a little fuzzy.
Whatever the case, I’m now middle-aged, jaded and curmudgeonly. And I get to write about beer. Perhaps the most amiable and forgiving of adult beverages, beer might be the perfect cure for middle-agedness, cynicism and the accompanying urge to make one’s displeasure known. With that thought in mind, I joined with a panel of beer lovers to taste and discuss some great Oregon porters — and an outstanding stout. Maybe we’re onto something here.
Three Creeks: FivePine Chocolate Porter, Sisters
6.2% ABV; 55 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: A robust porter that features 2 pounds per barrel of the finest Belgian chocolate, making a slightly roasty pint with underlying chocolate sweetness. Malts: Northwest pale, Munich, wheat, British chocolate malt, dark crystal malt, brown, special roast
Adjuncts: Imported dark Belgian chocolate, flaked barley, yeast: American Ale
Consumer Comments: With an inviting coloring of brown honey; FivePine Chocolate Porter features notes of malt, caramel and molasses on the nose and palate accompanied by a delightful char character throughout. Several panelists described this brew as “roasty” and all liked its innate sweetness. One panelist thought this beer would pair perfectly with a sweet marinated beef dish.
Santiam: Coal Porter, Salem
6.2% ABV; 29 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Medium-bodied porter with a moderate hop character that allows the roast malts to shine.
Consumer Comments: Demonstrating a grassy affability, panelists enjoyed this pint’s spicy fruitiness. With notes of anise, coffee and maybe even a little bourbon, Coal Porter was a refreshing favorite, well-balanced and medium-bodied.
Calapooia: ‘Pooya Porter, Albany
5.0% ABV; 32 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: A dark, robust and balanced porter, [this brew is] medium-bodied and moderately-hopped, with a crisp chocolate finish. Willamette hops.
Consumer Comments: Panelists liked the easy approachability of this pint, suggesting ‘Pooya might be a great introductory porter for folks accustomed to lighter brews. With hints of leather and wood, this brew might be called masculine but you can be sure he’ll remain a perfect gentleman.
Rusty Truck: Taft Toffee Porter, Lincoln City
5.0% ABV; 20 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Named for the Rusty Truck’s home in the Historic Taft District, Taft Toffee Porter is a dark, velvety ale with significant toffee and chocolate notes. Slightly lighter in color than mass-produced porters, our version is a tasty twist on the dockworkers’ old favorite.
Consumer Comments: The coffee-like character of the Taft Toffee Porter had panelists suggesting this brew might also be a good candidate for people who want a friendly introduction to fuller-bodied beers. Panelists described this porter as straightforward and honest, a cold reward after a hard day’s work.
Three Mugs: Sinfully Yours Imperial Porter, Hillsboro
9.5% ABV; 38 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Go ahead, be bad ... you deserve it. Indulge yourself with this huge, chewy, malty, chocolatey brew, with nice residual sweetness and a hint of roastiness and hops to balance. A perfect ale to warm your soul on those cold, rainy Oregon days and nights.
Consumer Comments: Defined by clear notes of vanilla and coffee with a hint of burnt oak, the Sinfully Yours Imperial Porter was a clear favorite with panelists. Well-balanced and complex, this brew’s satisfying fig finish delighted our tasting panel. Closer to the holidays, we might say “now bring us a figgy porter” — a Sinfully Yours Imperial Porter, of course!
Migration: Terry’s Porter, Portland
6.7% ABV; 42 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Terry’s Porter is the perfect compilation of five different malts, including chocolate and caramel that create a deep brown smoky body coupled with a mild sweetness. Finished off with Nugget, Willamette and English Fuggle hops, making this one an instant Northwest classic!
Consumer Comments: With a darkly fruity character, the Terry’s Porter earned raves from panelists attesting to its fruit nose, sweet mid-palate and after-dinner coffee finish. More than one panelist suggested using the Terry’s Porter as the foundation for a round of beer floats or maybe even pairing it with treats like caramel corn.
Widmer: Steel Bridge Porter, Portland
5.6% ABV; 48 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Developed by homebrewer Noel Blake, [this porter] was a winner in the Widmer Brothers Collaborator Homebrew Competition with the Oregon Brew Crew. Like the Steel Bridge itself, this dark ale is a Portland original and carries more than its share of weight. Rich flavors of mocha, chocolate and toffee are well-balanced and complemented by a refreshing body, a hint of citrus and a dry finish.
Consumer Comments: Another porter popular with panelists, the Steel Bridge Porter’s deep hue, robust body and flavors of spice and smoke, along with the barest suggestion of thistle, make for a truly perfect pint. Innately layered, this brew was lauded for its complexity and spiciness. The Steel Bridge Porter might hit you in the face — but I promise you’ll be glad it did.
PINTS: Steel Bridge Stout, Portland
5.2% ABV; 22 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Rich and chewy, this robust stout is girdered together with Midnight Wheat, Blackprinz, roasted barley, Special B and chocolate malts. You can tell: it’s jet black with a thick brown head, loaded with espresso, coffee and rich malt flavors. Bittered with Columbus hops and finished with spicy Willamettes, it all holds together nicely.
Consumer Comments: The Steel Bridge Stout earned unanimous and enthusiastic approval from panelists. From comments like “This is why I drink stouts” to “This is better than wine,” tasters loved the brew’s luxuriant head and themes of malt, caramel, molasses and vanilla bean — followed by a lingeringly sweet finish.
StormBreaker: Fall of the Iron Curtain Baltic Porter, Portland
8.0% ABV; 24 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Flavor has a big upfront but balanced sweetness with prominent chocolate flavors and hints of caramel. No roasty coffee-ness in this one. Just a smooth and silky finish with a touch of alcohol warmth.
Consumer Comments: Panelists liked the initial palate of Fall of the Iron Curtain, calling it fruity and a little tangy with notes of caramel and the barest hint of tar. Several panelists suggested this brew might be best served to folks looking to enter the world of full-bodied beers.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I was being a little facetious before. I love my job. A friend asked me once why I was eager to share the box of then-illegal Cuban cigars I had stashed. I told him smoking a really good cigar is wasted if one does it by oneself — enjoying the pleasant things in life is inherently social. Likewise, beer is best enjoyed together, in the company of friends, with people who want to relax, unwind and maybe even celebrate a little. Beer brings out the enthusiasm we should all have for life, particularly life in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I’m pretty sure there’s no better place on the planet to knock back a cold one — especially since so many of the world’s best beers are crafted right here.
By Gail Oberst
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Here’s the conundrum I offered as conversation to a handful of party stragglers sipping the last of their brews around a solstice campfire: This will be the fourth, maybe fifth year I’ve written up the results of our Oregon IPA tastings. Surely by now, I say, everyone knows the India story — that English colonizers living in that faraway place, thirsty for their ales, packed their barrels with preservative hops to get the beer to India so it wouldn’t spoil along the way.
Or, do they? One person tells the tale of a beer server in Portland who suggested that IPAs were actually invented there. We all snickered, arrogant in our superior knowledge of beer. Did the fool not notice the name refers to India pale ales?
Someone suggested: “Why didn’t they name it Portland pale ale if this hoppy beverage were actually invented in Portland?”
“Because nobody wanted to order a “Pee-Pee A,” delivered Kate, ever the one-line queen.
Ba-dum-bum. Cheers all around.
Here are some of our consumer tasters’ favorite Oregon IPAs:
Ordnance Full Metal Jacket, Boardman 6.6% ABV; 53 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Western Europe meets West Coast in this quaffable IPA. A fusion of New-World hops are held up with a malty backbone reminiscent of a maltier English-style pale.
Consumer Comments: Floral, malty and thick. Citrusy, floral, nice smell, slightly piney. Strong bitterness but not too much, with a nice balance. Molasses. Easy drinking. Flavorage! Flowery smooth flavor. Sunny hop delight! Lightly floral and malty.
StormBreaker Handful of Hops V. 3.0, Portland 6.8 % ABV; 78 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: V. 3.0 of this experimental IPA series has aromas of mango, citrus and pine. Hoppy finish blends nicely as the slightly sweet fruitiness and characteristics of orange
citrus and pine find their way across the palate.
Consumer Comments: Hop in the sun for some of this fun! Fruity and sweet and a little bitter. A light citrus flavor and a smooth ending. Floral with a nice balance of bitter and sweet. Nice head. A bit tart. I love the citrus notes. Easy drinking. Crisp backbone.
Widmer Upheaval IPA, Portland 7% ABV; 55 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This IPA has more than two pounds of hops per barrel, unleashing a huge hop flavor and aroma with serious bitterness and a balanced finish. Brewed with wheat, the result is a hazy, bold IPA that’s unfiltered. Hops: Alchemy, Simcoe, Chinook, Willamette, Brewers Gold, Nelson Sauvin.
Consumer Comments: Piney, citrus, hoppy goodness. Sweet and smooth. Lemony hints. Spicy aftertaste with a little bite. Malty, sweet, easy drinking. Sticks to your tongue! Pleasant drink. Refreshing. Mowing the lawn IPA.
Full Sail Classic IPA, Hood River 6% ABV; 60 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: This Northwest-style IPA is generously hopped with Centennials from the Yakima Valley and brewed in the classic style with two-row Pale and Crystal malt. It has a full, malty body and a hint of fresh citrus. Perfect after your favorite water sport, even if that happens to be the grueling drag-the-poolside-lounge-chair-into-the-sun event.
Consumer Comments: Light and refreshing. Bubbly fun. Flavorful, nice crisp taste. Very good, balanced and good summer fun. Smooth drinking and easy flavor to savor. Citrusy and herbal, quaffable and simple. A good go-to beer.
Hop Haus Genie In A Bottle, Gresham 5.7% ABV; 70 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: A well-respected Northwest-style IPA. It’s smooth drinking with a late hop addition. This medium-bodied, palate-pleasing beer is definitely something you’d ask for in
one of your three wishes!
Consumer Comments: Well-rounded, balanced, enjoyable. Zippy. Some pine and citrus. Nice! My favorite! Very easy drinking. Great beer. Very simple, which is nice. Pool party beer. Summertime fun beer.
Big Horse Paragon, Hood River 6.4% ABV; 65 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: The Paragon is a light and bright summer IPA. Made with a blend of Amarillo, Centennial and Azacca hops, the Paragon pops with fresh citrus flavors of candied mandarin orange and subtle flavors of star anise.
Consumer Comments: Subdued flavor and not too intense. Sweeter with a floral aftertaste. A food one for a spring day when the sun is out, but still cold. Nutty. Licorice? Nice level of bitterness. Great color, light, dandelion notes, good spring beer.
Hopworks Pig War, Portland 6% ABV; 60 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Organic Hard Red Spring Wheat grown on Twin Oaks Farm on San Juan Island imparts tart flavors, medium body and signature wheat cloudiness. Pig War refers to the 1859 standoff between American and British authorities over San Juan Island. The only casualty of this 15-year standoff was one wayward pig.
Consumer Comments: Refreshing. Great for a summer picnic. I wouldn’t hate myself for drinking too much of this. Flavor on the palate jumps like a kangaroo with hops in its pouch. The hops are very unique. Wonderful flavor. Would be nice with a burger. Real citrus flavor. A very pleasant beer.
Silver Moon IPA 97, Bend 7% ABV; 75 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Packs a punch with bold tropical fruit and citrus zest flavors, creating a light pine aroma.
Consumer Comments: Sound sipping with a Sitka spruce. Fruity body with a warm, hoppy after flavor. Perfect for a hot day on the river. Good and fresh tasting. Floral and slightly sweet. Would go great with Chinese food. Fantastic. The hop notes are spot on. Roasty, but light.
McMenamins Hillsdale IPA, Portland 7% ABV; 100 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: The Hillsdale IPA greets your nose with the pungent, grassy aromas of Mosaic and Citra hops. A simple grain bill keeps the beer light in color and body, as sweet malts were excluded to avoid overshadowing any hop flavors. The name pays homage to the very first McMenamins brewery, opened more than 30 years ago.
Consumer Comments: Is it rude to ask for the recipe? Good basic IPA. Keep this one around for guests who love IPAs. Light and delicious.
pFriem IPA, Hood River 7.2% ABV; 65 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: When the first pale ales arrived in India in the early 18th century, outcries of “Zounds!” “Jolly good!” and “Huzzah!” were heard across the East Indian subcontinent. Expect the same exclamations when sniffing the piney aroma and tasting the big hops, huge citrus and candy-like malt.
Consumer Comments: The champagne of IPAs. Very good. Get me some curry. Great flavor. Smells like tropical fruit. Golden delicious. Candy with a bitter back. Long-lasting hoppy taste, coats my tongue.
Sunriver Vicious Mosquito, Sunriver 7% ABV; 70 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: The Sunriver Brewing Company’s flagship uses heavy handfuls of the finest Northwest hops (Warrior, Cascade, Centennial, Columbus and Simcoe), which define this pungent, resinous brew. This hop attack comes at you like the vicious mosquitos at our nearby Cascade Mountains.
Consumer Comments: Bitter like my sister-in-law after the divorce, but in a good way. Classic IPA with a nice balance. Easy drinking. Good taste with no lingering aftertaste. Yes! Light and refreshing. Great smell.
Portland Brewing and Double Mountain Subcontinental IPA, Portland/Hood River 7% ABV
Brewer’s Description: Brewed for Portland Beer Week, these two brewing giants collaborated on an IPA with pepper, cardamom, clove, cumin and saffron.
Consumer Comments: No way. Anise? This is Christmas on my tongue! It’s like running through a clover field on a beautiful summer day. Very good. Hint of cloves or some other spice. Low bitterness. Santa’s workshop IPA.
Wild Ride Electri-Fly, Redmond 6.3% ABV; 65 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Prepare to lift off and experience an IPA that showcases a blend of premium two-row and honey malts, which lay a perfect perch for the addition of hops. Flown in from the Southern Hemisphere, the unique hops give this beer a pleasant flavor and the aroma of
Consumer Comments: Floral aroma. Pine cones. Slight butterscotch. Good and smooth. Smooth and fruity and not too bitter.
NEXT FREE TASTING: Oregon Beer Growler’s Canned Beer Tasting 2 p.m. Saturday, July 9 at F.H. Steinbart Co., 234 SE 12th Ave., Portland
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
Saying you love pale ales is like saying you love beer. But of course you love at least one rendition of this versatile style. An American pale ale might be a blond, a red or amber, an India pale ale or even a farmhouse ale. Almost anything made predominantly with grains that have been dry roasted to a pale-colored malt is a pale ale, even if added grains make it dark.
Most pale ales have British roots, but Oregon brewers graft those roots with delicious oddities. Where British pale ales might feature European malts, hops and yeasts, American pale ales feature American-grown hops, two-row malt and fewer yeasty flavors. In the Oregon favorites listed below, rye malt, orange peel and a variety of hops are featured on the smooth canvas of the pale ale.
This month’s consumer tasting was staged during the annual Big Brew Day at F.H. Steinbart Co. homebrew supply shop. While their beers brewed in the sunny Portland parking lot, homebrewers dropped by to sample Oregon pale ales donated by commercial brewers.
Ordnance: RX Pale Ale, Boardman 5.6 percent ABV, 34 IBUs
Brewer Description: Pouring a light straw color, this extra pale ale gets its spicy flavor from a healthy dose of rye malt. The rye spice combines nicely with Citra and Mosaic hops to bring you a beer that is just what the doctor ordered.
Consumer Comments: How good is that? Lingering hoppiness. Happiness. Spicy and light. Balanced backbones. Solid. Slight Nelson. Earthy and piney. Drinking this on a hike through Forest Park. Juniper?
Elk Horn: Protestant Pale Ale, Eugene 6 percent ABV, 40 IBUs
Brewer Description: A light-bodied pale for the warm summer daze. Brewed with Summit, Cascade and Amarillo hops.
Consumer Comments: The perfect summer beer. Floral and hoppy. Strong. Smooth, light and easy summer beer. Fruity and floral. Mango sweet and not too bitter. A great beer for people who don’t like IPA. Full Nelson. Nice sweetness. Dry finish. Less bitter.
Hopworks: IPX Mt. Hood Single Hop Ale, Portland 6 percent ABV, 60 IBUs
Brewer Description: This single-hop ale series highlights signature aromas and flavors of specific hop varieties that are further multiplied through our unique dry hop process. Geek out on the signature nuances. Known for clean bittering and mild aromas, the Salmon-Safe Certified Mt. Hood hop was used in this IPX beer.
Consumer Comments: Nutty! Nutty, smoky good. Refreshing! Fruity! Is that a noble hop flavor? Balanced and clean. A super session beer. Fruit -- are those oranges? Way too easy to drink -- can I have more?
Columbia River: CRB Pale Ale, Portland 6.5 percent ABV, 52 IBUs
Brewer Description: A very well-balanced strong Northwest-style pale ale with refreshing and hoppy characteristics all supported by the correct amount of malt. Light in color -- big in taste!
Consumer Comments: Fruity and smooth. I liked how it went down, from my tongue to my belly. Spicy, herbal, light and hoppy. Good head! Grapefruit. Nicely rounded. Best so far. A bouquet of hoppy goodness. Great hop nose and wonderful balance. Zesty. English?
13 Virtues: You Down With OPP?, Portland 5.0% ABV, 40 IBUs
Brewer Description: Are YOU down with our orange peel pale ale? The name says it all -- we've combined the zest of sweet orange peel in a hoppy Pacific Northwest pale ale. This beer is easy drinking, finishes dry and has great orange-citrus flavor.
Consumer Comments: Sweeter. Very smooth. Sweet and slightly hoppy. Good balance. Fruit and pine. I can taste the hops, too. Really good. Light hops and solid flavor. Light as a summer day.
Stormbreaker: Right as Rain Pale Ale, Portland 5.6 percent ABV, 36 IBUs
Brewer Description: We set out to make our pale ale a pale ale, and not a baby IPA. It’s crisp and easy drinking with mild herbal, floral and citrus notes. The wort is hopped with U.S. Goldings, Centennial and Summer hops, which lends a smoother, less harsh bitterness for a clean finish that is indeed “right as rain.”
Consumer Comments: Lager-y finish. Skunky, in a good way. Hoppiest by far. Great pine bitterness. Run me up a pine tree and call me “beer.” Is it saison or farmhouse beer or is it just good? I like this taste. This is my favorite.
Ninkasi: Spring Reign, Eugene 6 percent ABV, 38 IBUs
Brewer Description: A lightly toasted British-style malt flavor balanced by bright Northwest-style hops. Spring forward with this refreshing seasonal ale. Notes of toasted malt up front, with a bright and crisp Northwest hop finish. It’s a session beer that everyone can enjoy!
Consumer Comments: Hoppy! Smooth, light and very nice. Malty. Good, sharp hop finish. Very nice balance. Sessionable, great beer. Second flavor wave, good! Simple and delicious. Pleasant fruit aroma. Smooth finish. Golden flowers and ocean spray.
Oregon Beer Growler each month invites consumers to “blind” taste a different style or group of beers at various locations across the state.