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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Community > Brewing Events & Local Gatherings > North West USA > Oregon HomeBrew Forum > McMenamins beer-not so great?
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Old 04-02-2008, 05:49 AM   #1
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Default McMenamins beer-not so great?

So, I live in Portland,OR and have a huge choice in craft beers. I like the McMenamins locations-they are very cool. The beer has become a big disappointment for me, which I find to be an opinion shared quietly by a number of Portlanders who seem to accept that the incredible coolness of the places where one can drink microbrew and eat pizza while watching a movie is enough compensation for medicocre beer. I am not saying that McMenamins makes bad beer-though I have had some that was just not right. It's just not up to what I consider to the Northwest standard (a very high one). When I go to a McMenamins I pray for a guest tap- that's pretty bad.

Seriously, I can think of 20 other microbreweries I can go to in Portland that are better and that's just the Eastside. I know the McMenamins sort of helped push the craft beer movement, and it seems damn near sacreligious to say anything negative about them to some people around here. I have tried to pinpoint what it is that makes the beer not so great-it seems to have gotten worse in the last 5 years or so...not going to go there right now.

Do any other of you Northwesterners feel this way too?

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Old 04-02-2008, 09:05 AM   #2
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Personally, I love McMenamins. Part of it is the atmosphere of old buildings they restore, and I do love the beer and the food they serve. It is possible that you may go to one that has less-than-perfect brewing practices though. One thing I have noticed is brews can be inconsistant from place to place. I normally order their IPA, and sometimes the hop aroma busts you in the nasal passages and sometimes it's.... lacking.

So that's my 2¢

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Old 04-02-2008, 04:09 PM   #3
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I used to love the beer. I guess it may be inconsistency. My last 4-5 trips to Edgefield,Crystal Ballroom and Kennedy School the beer quality has been all over the map. My buddy suspects either unclean taplines or just variations from so many locations brewing so much beer that some may become stale and/or quality control may suffer. I agree with the IPA as being one of the beers that is pretty consistent and good. I used to really like Hammerhead and Terminator, but my last few have been cloying (underattenuated?) and maybe a bit stale? Anyway-just not quite right. I go to microbreweries with a gang of 4-6 buddies on a monthly basis and we have all come the agreement that McMenamins are just no longer on the list of places to go. I hope we have just been victim of some random problems, and that the entire "Kingdom"is not falling apart.

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Old 04-02-2008, 04:20 PM   #4
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Brewtopia and I were discussing this on Saturday at the brewday and both agreed. There is no consistancy from one location to another. But to me, that's craft brewing. You're never going to get the same beer twice. Something will always be off. And for something like McMenamins that works. Would that work for Bridgeport, Widmer, Full Sail that distribute nationally? I don't think so.

I love McMenamins. They were one of my first OR/NW experiences. SWMBO and I got married at a McMenamins. It may no longer be a destination for us, but if we're out, want to get a bite and a drink chances are we're going to hit a McM.

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Old 04-29-2008, 11:58 PM   #5
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i used to live in centralia and i have to say i have become dissapointed also. even the food at the olympic club has been lacking. but on wednesdays i would still get a pint a movie and a burger for 10 bucks anytime if im in the area. i think the terminator stout is the most consistant for me.

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Old 04-30-2008, 12:25 AM   #6
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They're all over the map, beerwise. It seems to vary from location to location. That being said, I love the total package; food, ambiance, etc. I've been going to McM's since I was of age, and for me, it's like sitting in your old, comfortable chair. It may smell a little funky, but there's nothing like an old familiar spot to hang out.

One increasing trend that I've noticed in the past few years, however, is that the service STINKS. Somehow the potheads they hire now are slower than the potheads they hired 10 years ago.

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Old 04-30-2008, 12:33 AM   #7
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I am down close to Eugene where there is 3 of them although it is brewed at just 1 for all 3. I also have noticed a downturn in their brews. I don't know what it is, but I wish they would fix it. I go to a place called Cornacopia Deli and Bottle Market. They have 5-6 brews from different breweries and just keep switching all the time. Anyway get to try a lot of brews. If you are a hophead, they always have some pale ales and IPA's. Always a stout or porter to compliment those. If not they have over 100 different bottles.
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Old 04-30-2008, 01:28 AM   #8
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The Little Red Shed at the Edgefield is one of my all time favorite places on earth. I check myself in to that place when I need to decompress.

The beer can be inconsistent but the Hammerhead at Fulton Pub is still one of my favorite beers. I've been the first customer at every WA state McMenamins and a few Portland area ones.

I gained an appreciation for great beer at Mike and Brian's early locations, Produce Row Cafe and Bogart's Joint and have been fortunate to get to know them over the years.

There will always be a special place in my heart for McMenamins.

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Old 05-02-2008, 04:46 AM   #9
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Hey I am not crazy!! The Willamette week "Kvetch" issue in mid April listed McMenamins beer, food and service as something that irks Portland. They give props to the locations and the pioneering spirit.. they note that there has been an obvious dip in quality and consistency. That said, I just spent 3 hours on a couch at Kennedy School with a Pizza and a contraband 22 oz homebrew.

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Old 05-07-2008, 07:27 PM   #10
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Agree wholeheartedly with the majority of these posts. McMenamins has some really cool properties, seems like a really company, but their beer is mediocre at best. Their Northbank pub is one of the nicest places to drink a beer on a sunny day and I just stayed a night at the wickedly cool St. Francis School/Hotel in Bend (the Turkish bath was really nice). But, their seasonal oatmeal stout had a really cloyingly sweet taste and their normal brews don't do anything for me.

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