2 Towns Ciderhouse

Just a few feet from Mazama Brewing is 2 Towns Ciderhouse, conveniently enough, but since we’d spent longer than expected at Mazama we only had time for one of the wild cider flights they were offering as a Corvallis Beer Week special. They had something like twenty ciders available, and most of them sounded pretty cool. Only got to try four, though. I’ll definitely have to re-visit 2 Towns next I’m down there. I’ve seen a few of their ciders here in Seattle so I’ll be able to add a few to the list (e.g. their Rhubarbarian), but none of it’s the really interesting stuff.

wild cider flight at 2 Towns

2 Towns Ciderhouse — Corvallis, OR

    Rob’s Picks

  • Newtown Pippen Sour – 6.9% – Very slightly sour with sweet apple balance. Easy drinking.
  • Cidre Bouché – 6.5% – Barrel aroma. Dry apple with a bit of sweetness. Slight funk and alcohol edge. Very interesting.
    The Rest

  • Afton Field Farm – 6% – Funky apple. Dry, with unfiltered mouthfeel.
  • Marionberry Sour – 6.9% – Berry flavor with sour/funky edge and a bit of sweetness.
  • Rhubarbarian – 6% – Very light, but good rhubarb tang over the apple. Bit of dryness. A little too light on the tongue for me.

And thus concludes the brewery and ciderhouse visits on my September 2014 Corvallis trip. Maybe next time I’ll take a couple more days and hang out in Portland, too. Bend would also be great. And Hood River. The coast would be nice, as well. Hmm, maybe two weeks would be better. Or three.

Mazama Brewing

The second day of my 2014 Corvallis trip had a leisurely start, but we eventually made it to Mazama Brewing, located in an industrial park on the eastern outskirts of town. Nice taproom, and they were doing periodic brewery tours as part of Corvallis Beer Week. Maybe a dozen people were on the tour we joined, and there were quite a few questions — so, it took a lot longer than I expected, and reminded me why I haven’t done too many official tours lately. But oh well. The brewing space was nice enough, and I did learn that the barrel aging they’re doing is all in a separate area. And we got a taste of their new bock they had not yet kegged.

Mazama sampler flights

Sampler flights at the Mazama Brewing taproom — Corvallis, OR

    Rob’s Picks

  • Wizard Island Wit – 4.8% – Light, with good coriander and light orange flavors. Touch of breadiness. Very light but very drinkable.
  • Belgian Style Blonde – 7.7% – Fairly assertive banana/clove flavors and breadiness. Light alcohol edge and a touch of spiciness. Long lingering flavors.
  • La Gaule Du Matin – Herbal hops with honey flavor. Light funk, a little bit of spiciness, and a touch of caramel. Aged in port barrels with a bit of lacto, but didn’t really notice that. Hmm.
  • Grand Cru – 10% – Light alcohol aroma and flavor. Herbal hops with honey flavor, and a touch of caramel. Fairly smooth for 10%. Similar to La Gaule Du Matin but with little to no funk and a bit heavier body.
  • Belgian Style Dubbel – 8.4% – Brown sugar and plum aroma. Brown sugar, dark chocolate, and bit of plum flavors. A little bit dry, too.
  • Pyroclastic Porter – 5% – Big coffee/chocolate aroma and flavor. Roasty malt, too. Little bit of citrus hops. Medium body.
  • Hop Eruption – 6.8% – Sharp boozy maltiness like a triple IPA, but not as intense. Big herbal and earthy hops. Interesting.
  • Mazamafest Bock – Preview taste during the brewery tour. Light and lagery but with some breadiness, bit of alcohol, and honey sweetness. Good body.
    The Rest

  • Rasplendent – 5% – Raspberry aroma and flavor, plus light orange and hibiscus. Touch of tartness. Light and clean, but not my thing.
  • Saison d’Etre – 6.3% – Interesting melange of flavors and ingredients. Coriander, orange, and juniper. Lightly peppery, very light funk, and a hint of bubblegum.
  • White Wedding – 5.2% – Belgian Wit and Northwest IPA hybrid. Sharp tropical fruit/mosaic hop aroma. Flavor balanced by coriander and breadiness from the wit half. Bit of funk, too. I’m doing my best to not make a halfwit joke, but it’s hard. So so hard.
  • Mosaic Eruption – 6% – Sharp tropical fruit, catty, and touch of pine aroma and flavor. Light malt. Lingering flavors to a bit of bitterness.
  • Mazamanator Doppelbock – 9.9% – From a bottle bought at Corvallis Brewing Supplies. Caramel aroma and flavor. Lots of malt flavors. Caramel, brown sugar, to a roasty finish. Slight alcohol edge that increases as it warms. Touch of spiciness on finish. Interesting but a bit too malty for me.

I hadn’t known much at all about Mazama before going in, and yeah, I was pleasantly surprised. They’re doing some good stuff, and I’m looking forward to visiting them again next time I’m down in Corvallis.

Sky High Brewing

It had been a while since my last visit to Corvallis, and so I went down for a three day weekend to visit a couple friends, drink some beer, eat some great food, drink more beer, drink a little cider, and drink even more beer. As it turned out, the day I showed up was the start of Corvallis Beer Week, so Kappy and I hit the kick-off event on the roof deck of Sky High Brewing. Tried a few beers from other breweries, then headed downstairs to the pub level where we did the full taster thing. Sky High occupies an entire three or four story building, with pretty nice views of the ground floor brewing operation as you walk up the stairs (not to mention the pretty nice views from the roof deck).

Sky High samplers

Sky High Brewing — Corvallis, OR

    Rob’s Picks

  • Beet Helles – 4.8% – Bright red. Light, bready, bit of berry flavor. Earthy beet flavor shows up in the finish.
  • Korn Kölsch – 4.8% – Made with rainbow corn. Nice and light. Some honey, with light citrus and some herbal hops. Rainbow corn very subtle, but mixes well.
  • River Cross IPA – 6.2% – Tropical fruit and earthy hops. Solid malt base.
  • Panorama Porter – 5.8% – Coffee, some chocolate, and roasty maltiness. Nice citrus edge. Light and drinkable.
    The Rest

  • Base Jumper Amber – 6% – Lots of caramel, some breadiness. Bit of herbal hops at the end. Not bad for an amber.
  • Bavarian Hefeweizen – 6% – Banana/clove and honey sweetness. Too much of the honey sweetness for my tastes, though.
  • June Bug Wheat Ale – 4.9% – Light and bready. Touch of spiciness. Not much else.
  • Dream-On Pale Ale – 5.4% – Caramel malt and floral hops, with some earthiness on the finish. Standard pale ale.
  • Linus Pauling Ale – 5% – Made with orange and lemon. Citrus flavors are present but not as big as I’d like. Bit more of the citrus peel bitterness than citrus flavor. Light and drinkable, though.
  • Freewheel IPA – 7% – Citrus, herbal, earthy, maybe some floral hop flavors. Quite bitter finish. Underlying caramel. Would really like it if not so bitter.

Yeah, so, not quite sure how to wrap up this post. If you have a few days in Corvallis, it’s worth the trip to Sky High for a beer while enjoying the views. With limited time, though, it might be better to visit Block 15, Mazama, Oregon Trail, and/or Flat Tail first.

Flat Tail Brewing

Corvallis is a college town, and the otherwise unfortunately named Flat Tail Brewing is all about the OSU Beavers. But now Corvallis has three breweries (not counting the McMenamin’s), which is not a bad thing as far as I’m concerned. Kappy and I showed up for lunch and ordered the beaver tail-esque taster paddle to accompany it. I was a little surprised that several of the beers were made with fancy spices and whatnot, like coriander and rosehips, and two were made using open fermentation, and so I got my hopes up for some interesting brews.

taster tail

Flat Tail Brewing’s taster tail — Corvallis, OR

    Rob’s Picks

  • IPA – 6.8% – Citrusy aroma. Big hoppiness — mostly citrus flavored, but some floral, too. Decent balance — not the best IPA, but good.
  • Dusseldorf Alt – 4.5% – Really nice. I wish this had been their Pale Ale. Great maltiness and nicely balanced. Very drinkable. Unfortunately, the line “I was born in Dusseldorf, and that is why they call me Rolph” kept going through my head as I drank this.
  • Porter – 6.8% – Decent balance of dryness, hoppiness, and chocolate and alcohol flavors. Good lingering flavor.
  • De La Rose – 7.5% – Floral aroma. Nice balance of floral and other flavors. This is the one with the coriander and other spices. Complex but drinkable. I like it.
  • Six – 6.5% – Like a lighter, hoppier tripel. Good sweet caramel flavor balanced by hoppiness rather than alcohol flavor. Nice!
  • KSA – 3% – Kind of like sour cherry cider. Very sour, very strong cherry flavor, almost no maltiness or hoppiness. Pretty fun, actually. Made with cacao nibs, as well, but you really have to concentrate to notice it.
    The Rest

  • Kolsch – 5% – Light and bubbly. Somewhat lemony start to strong bready finish. But kind of dull.
  • Pale – 5.5% – Fairly light. Subtle floral hops, decent malty base. Drinkable, but nothing too interesting.
  • White Tail Wheat – 4.5% – Fairly crisp for an unfiltered beer. Nothing interesting going on with the flavors, though. Drinkable, but meh.
  • Saison de la Tail – 10% – Very light on the tongue. Strong floral hoppiness, subtle caramel sweetness. Can’t believe it’s 10%. Did they accidentally swap this one with, say, the De La Rose?

With the way the Kolsch, Pale Ale, and Wheat came out, I’m glad we skipped their Amber. I was also glad they were out of their raspberry ale and pumpkin stout. But hey, they had some good beer, and the food was decent. So, I’d say Flat Tail is a fine addition to Corvallis. Go Beavers!

Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail Brewery is in an odd location. It’s tucked into a corner of the Old World Deli, which has all sorts of old European facades inside to give you the feeling that you’ve stepped into a 19th century European village. Unfortunately, the cheap, cafeteria-style tables and chairs detract from the feeling. The little deli in the back has the Oregon Trail beer on tap, but they don’t have any formal taster trays. One of the women working there improvised with those little plastic salsa containers, though, and she gave me some complimentary chips to go along with the pint I eventually ordered. Did a brewery tour, which was fun. They’ve crammed a lot into their small but vertical footprint — the rooms aren’t particularly big, but they have three floors and have incorporated gravity into the beer-making process. Fun. Also got to try their Hopdoctor, a hopped-up version of the Beaver Tail, and it was really good.

Oregon Trail

Oregon Trail: the Old World Deli refreshment — Corvallis, OR

    Rob’s Picks

  • Wit – very drinkable, really nice balance
  • Brown Ale – very drinkable
  • Beaver Tail Kolsch – very drinkable
    The Rest

  • IPA – hoppy and crisp, but more on the soapy than citrusy side
  • Ginseng Porter – odd but okay. Ginseng flavor not too overpowering, but brewer said they were dialing it down a bit.

Block 15

Block 15 had 13 beers on tap, but the taster tray was limited to five. Probably for the best because a lot of their beers had pretty high alcohol content. Not that that’s a bad thing. Since this was the first brewpub after the beer blogging suggestion, the pictures will start here.

Update!  November 30, 2011: During a recent stay in Corvallis, I re-visited the burgeoning Block 15 beer empire. In addition to their brewpub, they have now opened a European-style gastropub next door called Les Caves. It is European-style presumably because they serve a whole lot of bottled European beers (in addition to two Les Caves-only Block 15 beers) and the food’s much fancier than in the brewpub. Ended up tasting eleven more of their beers. Yikes! Good thing it was spread out over two days. The difference between the old and the new tasting notes are pretty noticeable…

Block 15

Block 15 sampler block and logo glass (original photo) — Corvallis, OR

    Rob’s Picks

  • Caves IPA – 6% – Good floral aroma. Very strong hoppiness — nice floral/citrus blend. Full malty base with slight caramel flavor. Big, strong IPA.
  • Caves Saison – 5.5% – Has that banana aroma and flavor, but the flavor was well-balanced by maltiness and strong hoppiness. Quite smooth, too. Kappy didn’t taste the banana, so maybe it’ll come off as clove if that’s your thing.
  • Strawberry Fields – 7% – Sour kick to strawberry flavor. Interesting, especially the aroma: sour creaminess, kind of cheese-like.
  • Imagine – 15% – “Bourbon barrel Belgian Imperial Stout” — Holy cow! Strong bourbon aroma. Bourbon stout explosion to a chocolate finish. Thick and strong. A huge beer! Wow. They only sell this every other year, apparently — I wish I’d bought a bottle or six…
  • Bent Shovel – 10% – Alcohol aroma. Great caramel/alcohol balance. Bitter finish.
  • Hemp Nut Brown – 5% – Fun tangy flavor to the nut brown. Interesting bitter aftertaste, slightly floral. Not light, not heavy, but elements of both. Second hemp beer I’ve seen, and I’ve liked both. Hmm…
  • Alpha IPA – hoppy and crisp, kinda citrusy. Yum!
  • Print Master’s Pale Ale – quite nice, very drinkable
  • Aboriginale – Big! Like this better than Print Master’s, actually. 7.1%!
    The Rest

  • Glo, Golden Lager – 5% – Fairly bubbly. Bready start balances the lightness. Lemony finish.
  • Apricot Ale – Apricot aroma. Strong tangy apricot flavor that lingers.
  • Ridgeback Red – 6.3% – Floral aroma and flavor. Strong hoppiness. Okay.
  • Super Fly Rye – 7.5% – Floral aroma. Pretty hoppy, but in the same floral way. Some maltiness, but not too much. Lingering bitterness.
  • Dunkel Weissbier – 5.5% – Alcohol aroma. Interesting alcohol/hop/malt balance, but a little watery.
  • Chocolate Porter – very chocolatey, maybe too much so. Slight licorice edge to aroma and flavor. Finishes with root beer flavor. Kappy sez, “Tastes like Chocolate Red Vines.”
  • Nebula Oatmeal Stout – kinda weak, but at 6.8% it won’t take much to do the trick
Block 15 redux

Visit #2 = 2 sampler blocks — Corvallis, OR

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