Only two and a half years old, Southern Oregon Brewing Company, based in Medford, is one of Oregon’s newest breweries. Until recently, you could only find their beer in select place in, er, Southern Oregon—but since October of last year, they’ve been bottling three of their regulars: Pale Ale, Golden Ale, and Porter.
These three only just arrived in Bend (at Whole Foods) within the last couple of weeks or so. I picked up a bottle of their Pale Ale and Porter, and naturally enough, had to include at least one review for Oregon Beer Week: their Pale Ale (in this case).
Southern Oregon Pale Ale is 5% alcohol by volume and based on their specs at their website, is brewed with seven different varieties of hops; I don’t think that’s a record, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s close.
Appearance: Very clear, honey-orange in color. Head is off-white and clean.
Smell: Hops—bitter with a hint of citrus. Almost a Grolsch-y bitter aroma—not actually skunky like those green-bottle lagers, but similar bitter aromas.
Taste: Fresh, juicy, crisp wheat grain, earthy bitter hops. Subsequently the hops come forward and scrub the palate, but in a good way.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, refreshing, clean with a satisfying hop aftertaste.
Overall: Very nice "freshman" effort, a solid, drinkable Pale Ale—although based on this experience I’d almost rather classify this as a Bitter (or even ESB).