I love beer. After now having visited over 335 different breweries, it’s fair to say I have sampled a lot of beer (follow me on Untappd). From post-race pints and run club meeting locations, to beer miles and relays, running and the kegged nectar seem to go hand-in-hand in Oregon. Our Kegs and Legs feature is where beer drinking runners like me can go to find some new favorite beverages.
We are lucky that there are a ton bottle shops littered across Portland and the Willamette Valley. For those of us who like to try out new beers, it’s always great that we are surrounded by stores that carry great bottles and cans. Recently, I have been traveling for work and have ended up in both Pendleton and Medford on seperate occasions. What I happily discovered is that, in these locations, there are actually quite a few different cans and bottles from other areas that line their shelves. For example, the bottleshop in Pendleton has many more options from Eastern Oregon, SE Washington, and Idaho breweries than I see here. And Medford’s shops showcase Southern Oregon and Northern California options.
Mad River Brewing, based out of Humboldt County, CA, has been around for almost 30 years now. I recently saw them in Southern Oregon and they sent us a couple of their flagship beers – an extra pale ale and a red ale – to try. The Steelhead Extra Pale Ale seems like a very simple and straightforward easy-drinking beer. It pours a nice golden hue and the hoppiness is pretty mild. It goes down quite easy and has been awarded numerous awards at the Great American Beer Festival. It took home Silver or Gold medals in the Golden/Blonde ale categories in 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2013, as well as bronze at the World Beer Cup in 2012 and 2014.
The Jamaica Red Ale also has an award under it’s belt – a silver medal in the Amber/Red category at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival. It is also extrememly smooth and drinkable. Ambers and Red ales aren’t really my favorite beery style, but I can attest that this is one of the few that I actually enjoy. It’s not overpowering, but has a little spicy goodness that balances well and sits on the tongue quite nicely.
After checking a few of Mad River’s beers out (and watching the Humboldt County video below), I feel like a Northern California road trip to their brewery and taphouse may be in order. But for now, all us Oregonians have to do is head south a bit and pick up some at our favorite Southern Oregon bottle shop!
- Steelhead Extra Pale Ale
- ABV: 5.6%
- IBU’s: 26.2
- Jamaica Red Ale
- ABV: 6.5%
- IBU’s: 45.3
- Steelhead Extra Pale Ale
- Brewery: Mad River Brewing