Monday, July 5, 2010

Southern Oregon Red Ales — Klamath Basin vs. Southern Oregon Brewing

Klamath Basin
Drop Dead Red Ale

ABV 5.9%

Cranberry red.
Piney hops, sweet, bready malts.
Starts malty sweet then moves into a soapy, minerally flavor.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Bitter, piney and minerally.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):
Mediocre +

Southern Oregon Brewing
Woodshed Red Ale

ABV 6.3%

Sweet (almost like wort) and floral with some smoky roasted malts.
Citrus hops.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Hoppy.
Long lasting citrus bitterness with a touch of dried grains.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

Winner by unanimous decision
Southern Oregon Brewing.
On our recent trip to southern Oregon we found tons of bottles just itching for a fight. These two red ales seemed particularly feisty, so we threw them both in the ring to see what they were made of. Turns out, they were both made of water, hops, barley and yeast, but, in our opinion, the SOB was superior.

But before we get into the details, what the hell is a red ale? Well, to be extremely simplistic, it is an ale that is reddish in color. Other than that, red ales don't really have any specific style guidelines. Brewers are free to interpret red ales in any way they choose. Some choose to make them sweet and malty like an amber, while others choose to ramp up the hops and make them into reddish IPAs.

If we were judging by color alone, the Klamath Falls would have won easily. It had a gorgeous red color reminiscent of cranberry juice. It also had a great nose — a good combination of piney hops and sweet malts. Unfortunately, the flavor did not follow suit. The piney hop flavor was so intense that it tasted minerally and almost soapy. The SOB wasn't as flashy in the glass, but it made up for its duller red color with a more complex flavor profile, offering roasty notes along with the floral and citrus hops.

Now is when I should make a joke about the Drop Dead being taken behind the Woodshed and taught a lesson, but I just can't bring myself to do it. Instead, I will conclude by recommending that you find time in your busy schedules to check out southern Oregon — it's a beautiful area that offers plenty of craft beer to go along with the myriad of recreational activities.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for avoiding the "red-headed stepchild" jokes as well. :-/