Golden Valley Brewery

Over the final weekend of Spring Break, we visited some friends up in McMinnville (Oregon), home of Golden Valley Brewery. I got a chance to stop in briefly—long enough to try the sampler and snap a couple of quick pictures—just enough to write up an initial review.

The outside of the Brewery is fairly unassuming, but the inside is great. Plenty of seating, high ceilings with the raw-wood-open-beam architecture that I like, and dark wood everywhere. They’re a full restaurant and sport a full bar, which is the pride of the pub:

A distinctive feature of the brewpub is the bar, which is frequently recognized by visitors who remember when it hosted patrons at the Grand Old Hoyt Hotel in Portland. Dating to the 1920’s, it is made of solid Mahogany and stands fourteen feet high and twenty-seven feet long. From the bar you can watch the brewery in action as the brewers create some of our famous lagers & ales.

Here’s the amateur photo I snapped of it from the booth we were at:

Golden Valley Brewery - the bar

The decor in the rest of the pub is based around that, basically.

The beer sampler was presented in what is to date the coolest presentation I have seen:

Golden Valley Brewery beer sampler

They’ve taken the stave of a wine barrel (making perfect sense—McMinnville is in the heart of Oregon wine country) and bored ten holes big enough to hold the sampler glasses. The thing arches the entire length of the booth table. Plus, it’s ten samples for only $7—quite a deal! Those are Golden Valley’s full lineup plus two seasonals.

Here are my notes, from memory (and the handy sheet I kept); beers go from right to left:

  • 3rd Street Wheat: light, crisp, a nice lemony flavor, like lemongrass almost. I quite liked it.
  • Grand Island Golden: light, nothing too fancy, kind of like a mild Pilsner.
  • American Pale Ale: standard APA, a bit citrusy and hoppy but not too strong.
  • Chehalem Mountain IPA: Nice and hoppy and toasty malt without being too overwhelming. The hopping was fairly well done.
  • Red Thistle Ale: their flagship beer (since 1993), very much an amber ale, rich, not too dense.
  • Geist Bock: their spring seasonal; light, creamy, tasty.
  • Tannenbomb: their winter seasonal which I’ve reviewed before. Yum!
  • Dundee Porter: a dry porter with lots of coffee notes.
  • Muddy Valley Stout: creamy, dense, roasted malts and some chocolate.
  • Black Panther Imperial Stout: wine barrel aged, so you know I loved this one. Big, malty, rich, and dangerously tasty.

I think the three I liked best were the 3rd Street Wheat, the Tannenbomb, and the Imperial Stout—though the rest were all good, solid beers too.

I also picked up a mixed six-pack to go. They have a limited selection of bottled beers, so I picked three beers (two bottles each) that I haven’t seen locally (except maybe for Red Thistle): American Pale Ale, Red Thistle Ale, and Geist Bock.

Golden Valley Brewery 6-pack to go

I’ll definitely try to go back! It’s a great place.

Golden Valley Brewery
980 East 4th Street
McMinnville, OR 97128
(503) 472-BREW (2739)

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