An original Oregon ale, at
least that's what the Nor'Wester Brewing Company (a division of the Saxer
Brewing Company) would have us believe. They claim "OPA is no India or
American Pale Ale. It is specially brewed for Oregonians." Hey! The rest of
us can enjoy it too! I received this beer through a beer of the month club,
two different ones actually.
This is an unusual beer in that it employs decoction mashing, in which a
portion of the mash is removed and heated to a boil, then returned to the
mash tun where it raises the temperature of the entire mash. This has the
advantage of giving the finished beer unique toasty flavors from the
formation of chemical compounds called melanoidins. The direct application
of heat to the mash, or infusion method, doesn't impart these, though some
specialty malts can to a lesser degree. The decoction process is usually
used in lagers, especially German-style ones; this beer is patterned after
an English ale. The English generally use infusion.
The beer has an attractive burnt-orange color and a fruity- citric nose. The
palate is quite malty and slightly toasty from the decoction mashing and
malts (Vienna, Carastan, Pale, and Caramunich) with hints of buttery
diacetyl, then the citric hoppiness takes over and in turn yields to an
impressive 46 IBU bitterness (Chinook, Cascades, Centennials, Goldings are
used). A pleasant refresher, and a fine accompaniment to chicken (and
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.