Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Some (mostly) Oregon beers

Eric is now in Glasgow for his beer and pubs art project, and he was nice enough to bring some Oregon beers to share with a few interested malt-worms. We met up with a bunch of bottles (and a couple of jugs of water) to taste them.

Upright Gose: An Oregon recreation of a defunct Prussian style, I wasn't sure what to expect as I have no idea what Gose is supposed to taste like. It presents like a Weißbier at first, but drinks more like a witbier; there's a certain creaminess to it that reminds me of some minor witbier brand whose name I've long forgotten. Pretty good but not really my thing.

Hair of the Dog Adam: Syrupy, dark brown, marmitey, beef jerky, I didn't like this at all.

Bridgeport Highland Ambush Scotch Ale: Eric says: "I figured we might as well throw in a Scottish ale and see what the Scots think, right?". Most of what I get from this is a weird scent of penny-tray sweeties, pink shrimps to be exact. It's not unpleasant by any means and the underlying beer does have recognisable toffee notes that remind me of my youth drinking McEwan's. Being from Oregon, it's over-hopped, but not dramatically so, just a bitter finish that's never been in any other strong scotch ale I've ever drunk.

Laurelwood Organic Free Range Red: The fourth beer we tried, it was also the first one we all thought was really outstanding. I don't usually go for red beers but this was one I'd have again. As the others were making fun of me for writing notes about the earlier beers I stopped writing at this point, so you'll never know what this one actually tasted like unless you go to Portland and get some for yourself. Blame them.

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale: This disappeared the fastest of all the beers. That means it's good, right? We all thought it dangerously quaffable for its gravity.

Bison Brewing Imperial Brown Ale: Now according to the ABCP no beer may be called Imperial unless it has been exported to the court of a European despot before 1860, but leaving that aside, this is a nice one.

Ninkasi Spring Reign: This was perhaps the most British-tasting of the beers we tried. I'd be delighted, but not surprised, to find something tasting like this on cask at my local tickers' pub. Maybe it's because it doesn't drink its weight; it's 6% but tastes more like 4%. Lovely bitter finish.

Bear Republic Racer 5: More fruity and flowery in aroma than Spring Reign, this is a great beer and one where the 7% alcohol is noticeable. It's fairly sweet but in a fruity way rather than a malty one.

Deschutes The Abyss: splendid imperial stout with prominent berry fruits flavour, almost as prominent as in the Williams Bros Ebulum we also tried.

Hopworks Secession Black IPA: Foresty, herbal hops, it's an IPA and a good one.

Thanks to Eric for carrying these beers across the Atlantic for us. I was expecting to be battered about the tastebuds with alpha acid, but it turns out he's chosen IPAs with more restrained hopping. It was a great opportunity to try beers that we never normally see here.


  1. Hey, nice review. While we do get a lot of outrageously hopped beers over in Oregon I didn't want to show you anything that wasn't what I considered quality (with the exception of the "Scottish Ale" that I had never tasted before). A lot of that overhopped stuff is only drinkable because your tastebuds go numb. Is it any different than drinking a tremendously cold lager? I guess it is a little.

    But yes, it was a blast. I stuffed it all into my luggage and because of that I left a lot of clothes home...including my wool outfits, which I am now regretting not bringing with me.

  2. It's not usually this cold in March! I thought I was dreaming when it snowed yesterday.