By Johnny Beaver
Last year I took a tour of local breweries and experienced the joy that was exploring the deliciously diverse selection of brews available to thirsty Corvallisites. Liter for liter, our fair burg’s beer kingpins destroyed this writer’s concept of Portland as Oregon’s brew mecca. A year later, I’m unwavering in my flattery.
All that said, I must have found the best beer I’ve ever had, or the holy grail, a Bavarian-style wheat ale that actually tastes like one… right? Well, no. Very close, on multiple counts, regarding the former… and the latter is a white whale of sorts, so that can’t be held against anyone.
The fact remains, if you’re new to Corvallis or a longtime resident that hasn’t ventured forth, you’d be doing yourself a solid by checking any of these out. Hell, play pin the tail on the donkey with this page. The destination couldn’t possibly disappoint.
33930 SE Eastgate Cir.
Just outside of town, Mazama has made itself known as a force in the brewery game from day one. Available in the tasting room or from select stores in bottle form, they offer a great selection of powerfully tasty brews. Personally I’m in love (literally) with the Grand Cru and Wizard Island Wit, but perhaps the most notable of their offerings is the Pyroclastic Porter. I was lucky enough to taste a proto batch of this a while back and it has only seemed to get better. I don’t really even like porters.
Sky High Brewing
160 NW Jackson Ave.
Sky High has certainly flourished in the last year, opening up their rooftop (one of, if not the best view in the city) and expanding their bar. Like Mazama, they’re known for their porter, Panorama, but my personal favorite is the traditional Czech-style Bohemian Pils. And for those of you that can engage in it with a straight face, there’s a bunch of cornhole on the roof to keep you busy while you slam down that frothy nitro.
Oregon Trail Brewing
341 SW 2nd St.
You know those swollen little kegs of beer you see in the store—the ones that look like pigs that spent too long in the tanning booth and are now about to explode? Those are full of Oregon Trail beer, and you should go ahead and buy one. They likely won’t explode. Also found at downtown landmark Old World Deli, the Ginseng Porter and the surprisingly authentic Smoke Signal German-style Rauchbier have really stuck in my mind. They’re also at a nice central location if you’re doing a stumbling foot-tour of all the local breweries. If you call it base camp, it’ll sound quite official.
Flat Tail Brewery
202 SW 1st St.
Like Block 15, Flat Tail is a restaurant that also brews. Or is it a brewery that also restaurants? Who cares. Throughout the time I’ve lived here, Flat Tail has had perhaps the most bizarre rotation of fantastic beers I’ve ever witnessed. The Cucumber Cuvee (not currently offered) haunts my dreams. If I had to vote for the current MVP, however, it’d go to the Kolsch: Tailgater. Expertly crafted, that’s all there is to say about it. Quaffing a pitcher of it is like pouring a cloud being ridden by a river into your belly. Flat Tail brews can also be found in bottle form around town at select stores.
300 SW Jefferson Ave.
Similar in more ways than one, Block 15 shares Flat Tail’s sense of a fantastic rotating selection. All things considered, the favorites have to be old stalwart Aboriginale or my current favorites, the smooth Cask Ale and the Golden Glo.
2 Towns Ciderhouse
33930 SE Eastgate Cir.
Oh em geee, it’s not beer! Nobody cares. 2 Towns has made a serious name for itself in a very short period of time, stocking its tasting room, local taps, stores, and events with its ridiculously good, and in some cases, powerful, cider. They seem physically unable to make a bad brew, having put out great products such as The BrightCider, Cherried Away, Made Marion, Rhubarbarian, and, my personal favorite, The Bad Apple (10.5% alcohol…).
Nectar Creek Honeywine
33848 SE Eastgate Cir.
Hey, guess what? Nobody cares if this isn’t beer either (notice the trend?). If you’ve never had a chance to try some mead, you’re missing out. Refreshing and not overly sweet at all, it really is a treat to have a mead brewery here in town. If you’re wanting to enjoy your mead, shall we say, more traditionally… and fear that the medieval garb will scare people, you can pick some up in bottle form from select shoppes around town.
2001 NW Monroe Ave. #106, 420 NW 3rd St.
There are two McMenamins locations in town, though the one on Monroe also has a brewery. I’m not sure what kind of wizard they have working there, but the first McMenamins nitro stout I had was made right here in Corvallis; it remains my favorite of all time. In fact, I’ve had at least one dream about drinking my way out of a swimming pool of it. Not hyper local, but certainly not to be ignored. These folks care about the quality of their craft and the taste truly reflects it.