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MacTarnahan's Amber Ale - Portland Brewing Company

MacTarnahan's Amber AleMacTarnahan's Amber Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

204 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 204
Reviews: 143
rAvg: 3.46
pDev: 13.29%

Brewed by:
Portland Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
32 IBU

Malts: 2 Row Pale, Caramel
Hops: Cascade

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-11-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 204 | Reviews: 143 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BVukelich


3.13/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Rich copper color with a thick head. I didn’t pick up much on the aroma, light floral hop notes. Taste was not overly hopped and definitely not too sweet but a bit thin, watery. Unfortunately, it just across as mediocre at best. Not a real standout in aroma or taste. Incredible lace that absolutely decorated the glass. Mouthfeel was average, light body. No horrible aftertaste but also nothing that pulls you back for another sip. The low abv and average character make it a sessionable contender but not on a regular basis.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2014 17:43:26 | More by BVukelich
Photo of GlennSt


3.71/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a glass mug. It formed a creamy, foamy head but the reddish amber color looked really nice. The smell is balanced but mostly malty, oddly nondescript, although you know this isn't Bud Light; there is some substance. The taste is mostly malty with a slight hoppy bite, nicely carbonated, the way I like it. The aftertaste is slightly bitter but nothing overpowering. This would be a pretty good session beer, depending on the price point. I got it one the cheap and am happy I got to try it.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 22:27:55 | More by GlennSt
Photo of vkv822


3.05/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12oz : tulip

Clear, coppery orange with a foamy off white head, decent lacing.

Light citric hops backed by caramel, biscuit malts in both the nose and taste.

Medium body, mild foamy carbonation.

I rated this fairly average across the board, because that is what it is. Easy drinking, unoffensive, but also fairly forgettable in this wide world of beers we live in.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2013 09:28:43 | More by vkv822
Photo of Murrhey


2.38/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Reviewed live.

A- One finger cream colored head. Mediocre retention. No lacing. Copper color, high clarity.

S- Floral, aromatic hops. Brown sugar. Some light grassiness.

T- Muted hops, coppery flavor with a slight bitterness at the end. Ultimately very standard for an Amber.

M- Aggressive carbonation, light feel with a syrupy finish on the lips.

O- Might be an alright session beer, but not very impressive.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2012 03:10:13 | More by Murrhey
Photo of lwillitz


3.38/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle into Samuel Smith "Tulip" pint glass

A - transparent amber body under 3 fingers of foamy off-white head; moderate carbonation bubbles

S - prominent Cascade hops; hint of grain in the background; not impressive

T - bitter hops lead into biscuity grain in the middle, grapefruit and pine combine for a dry finish

M - highly-carbonated light body

O - MacTarnahan's Amber is mediocre at best. More substance to the body would help, as would more sweetness to keep those Cascade hops in check. Both the carbonation and the bitterness are unnecessarily high. In other words: more body, less fizz, and more flavor balance would improve this one.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2012 01:18:14 | More by lwillitz
Photo of MadTown1000


2.75/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours from a 22 oz bottle into a 12oz glass. Slightly cloudy golden copper, about a quarter inch of off-white foamy head. Leaves nice lace.

S: Distinctly hoppy aroma, reminds me of an IPA.

T/M: Sweeter, more floral, less hoppy than expected. Relatively thin flavor, not very substantial. I'd almost guess it was going bad, but I had this in Portland, home of the brewery.

O: The taste and mouthfeel are quite disappointing. More like an unrealized pale ale than an amber - little malt, lots of hops, but they just come off flowery. Not awful, but not recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 03:00:09 | More by MadTown1000
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.35/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at The Wine Corner in Paia, Maui, Hawaii. I picked this one up because I have never seen it in California.

Pours a clear copper amber color with a 3 inch foamy light tan head that settles to a small cap. Thin broken rings of lace line the glas on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and some herbal and citrus zest hops. Taste is of malt, slight caramel, and more of a citrus zest hop flavor. There is very little bitterness to this one after each sip. The mouthfeel is pretty disappointing with a very watery aspect to it. Overall, this is a pretty good amber ale and I am glad I picked one up but I don't think it's all that special.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2011 08:57:26 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of Nerudamann


3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look - amber in color, clear, with good carbonation and about two fingers' worth of frothy tan-colored foam that dissipates slowly.

Smell - fairly malty, but maybe with some hints of hops. I almost get a sorghum kind of aroma out of it, but that might be wrong.

Taste - it tastes a little more hoppy than it smells, but the hops still aren't terribly present. There's a fair bit of bitterness, but not a lot of bite. The barely used tastes interesting, but I don't think sorghum was actually used.

Mouthfeel - the texture is more on the watery side.

Overall - not a bad brew, and fairly interesting to taste and think about.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2011 03:15:46 | More by Nerudamann
Photo of HuskyinPDX


3.48/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Portland Brewpub.

A - Pours a crystal clear, medium orange with a smaller cream-colored head. The head fades to about half and lingers while leaving pockets of lacing on the glass.

S - Smells are prett mild. Some maltiness is dominate, but some slight hoppy floral tones come through as well.

T - Taste is like a dull ipa, with a roasted malt finish.

D - Good carbonation and average body for the style.

O - Easy drinking amber.

Serving type: on-tap

09-08-2011 01:15:52 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of Knapp85


3.4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a reddish amber color. The head was decent but fizzled away after short amount of time. The smell of the beer had a decent amount of malts on the nose. The taste of the beer was grainy and semi sweet. The mouthfeel was pretty good. Overall I found the beer to be kind of the refreshing side, not sure if it's one I need to have again. But not too bad.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2011 19:17:06 | More by Knapp85
Photo of katybee


2.95/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

translucent light amber yellow, and 1/2' head of quickly dissipating creamy foam tracing the rim of the glass.

very minimal smell, trace hops

mildly pungent dry-hopped taste of peppery cascade hops with light lemony overtones; dry, delicate bitter taste with no real bready or malty tones I could detect. Only very slightly sweet.

Light bodied, tingly

Thirst quenching, but not exactly memorable, nor a beer you'd "sip"...

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2011 03:03:24 | More by katybee
Photo of MaltsOfGlory


3.35/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When I first had this beer I thought very highly of it, when I later reviewed it, I even said that it was the second best amber I had ever had, let's see if it still lives up to that. Pours a pretty standard one finger head, the head is white, with mostly small bubbles, some medium sized bubbles. The head looks like a pretty standard head, not creamy, not frothy, but also not crappy and soapy looking, just standard. It's not hanging around too long, which is too bad, but it's leaving good lacing throughout the glass. The body is a classic amber color, dark red, with slight hints of orange. If you wanted to know what a standard amber should look like, this wouldn't be a bad example. The body is pretty see through for an amber ale, which is disappointing, I know amber ales aren't supposed to be cloudy, but it's nice if they have some stuff floating around in them. Carbonation is medium-high, looks pretty nice though, right around where it should be. Overall the look is good, not amazing but pretty good. Well when I first cracked open the bottle I got a big wiff of hops, but now that I'm smelling it out of the glass, it's hard to pick up smell. I get a small small note of hops, and a little note of malts on the nose. Not the greatest smell because 1) there isn't much of a smell, and 2) malts are slightly more dominant than the hops. Overall not a bad smell, but not much to talk about. Well the first thing I notice is a soapy flavor, and I don't know what's up with that, maybe they didn't clean there bottles very well, I know it's not my glasses because I rinse my glass out with hot water, and that's it. Small bitterness and sourness, but not much hops, the sour and bitter flavors are coming from somewhere else, almost like the beer is infected, no best by date, so I can't tell if it's fresh or not. Just very soapy on the flavor. Maybe a tiny bit of hops, but mostly sour and bitter. Malts are noticeable, but not too prominent. Overall it's just soapy. Is the taste horrible? No, not at all, just soapy...and it's not extremely soapy, it's not a huge flavor, but it's a big enough flavor that it dominates the other ones. I hate giving this beer a 3 on taste, because I feel like I might just have a bad batch or something, but that's not my problem. The mouthfeel is pretty perfect for a amber ale, it's big enough for the style and the carbonation is spot on. Drinkability is a little rough around the edges, just because of the soapy flavor, but overall it's not horribly hard to drink, it's light enough. Overall on this beer....I want to give it a second chance, because I remember it being much better, and I fear that I simply have a bad batch, but I have too many other beers to review. Overall on the beer itself, it's not that great, taste isn't horrible, but the soapiness brings it down for sure.

After drinking more of this beer the soapy taste left and it turned into more of just a watery taste. I guess this beer just doesn't have much flavor. I don't think it's infected at all, it's just not an amazing amber. I think I graded it right after all.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2011 22:51:36 | More by MaltsOfGlory
Photo of hiku7


3.35/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured in a pint glass by an adorable barmaid at Pyramid Alehouse in Walnut Creek, California.

A - Copper pour with a small white head. Not impressive lacing, could be the glass.

S - Mild cascade citrusy hops coming through. Mild maltiness, but not as up front as the hops.

T -Tastes somewhat more like a APA than an amber, with a solid hop backbone. Toasted maltiness comes through as it warms.

M - Somewhat thin bodied, especially for an amber.

D - Light enough to drink a few, but not sure I'd want to.

Serving type: on-tap

04-06-2011 03:15:36 | More by hiku7
Photo of chumba526


3.78/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appears light brown color with an off white head.

It smells of bread and caramel malt. I get a mild grassy hop smell as well.

It tastes much like it smells. There is an initial mild caramel sweet flavor. I also get a bit of a nice bread like dry malt flavor. The beer ends with an ever so slight bit of a grassy hoppy bitterness.

The carbonation is medium. The mouthfeel is medium bodied.

The drinkability is quite good it is a very smooth beer. The flavor is quite mild and it goes down very easy.

Overall a slight better than average amber that goes down smooth.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2011 01:36:58 | More by chumba526
Photo of bagpiper2005


3.73/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour: Effervescent, medium copper color. Two finger of frothy white head that retains decently and leaves some lacing on the glass.

Smell: Bready with sweet undertones of caramel and pale malt. Some hops coming through as well.

Taste: Follows the nose pretty well. Delicious caramel sweetness in the front followed by yeast and biscuity tones. Finishes up with a light iced-tea bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium with high carbonation.

Drinkability: Smooth and refreshing. Not overly complex.

Final Notes: A solid Amber Ale, and to me more resembles and Irish Red than an American Amber. Regardless, it's a sweet treat beer that would pair well against dessert, and would make a very beginner-friendly beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2011 23:51:09 | More by bagpiper2005
Photo of LazyL

British Columbia (Canada)

4.28/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I could drink this all day. A new favorite that I found at Pyramid brewing. I had a pint on tap and later found a bomber. Both were great and had the perfect amount of hops that make this ale really bust open with flavour. More hops than I am used to in an Amber Ale, but it really works here and is very typical from a Portland beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2011 02:22:46 | More by LazyL
Photo of kwjd

Ontario (Canada)

3.55/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at a 7-11 in the middle of the night in Vancouver, Washington. This seemed to be the most interesting beer there that I hadn't tried, so decided to give it a try. Pours a amber colour with off-white head. Some mild lacing. Head dissipates eventually, though I was drinking this slower than usual I think. Smells of sweet caramel and noticeable amount of hops. Nice balance of bitterness and sweetness, though it tends more towards the sweetness side as a amber ale typically does. Big carbonation level. Nice enough beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2010 04:06:31 | More by kwjd
Photo of lovindahops

New York

3.25/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Ok my first pyramid brewery brew... I mean magic hat conglomerate... I mean NAB offering from the current group

A- pours a light red appearance. Very light, but I like the frothy head

S- bready scents with slight malt and faint, faint hops in the end

T- good emphasis on the malt and spices. Not much going on though other than some dryness

M- creamy and big time carbonated

D- mac isn't too bad. I would like more of a hop presence to keep the tastiness transfer into drinkability though

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2010 23:28:16 | More by lovindahops
Photo of BeerAdvocate


3.48/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine May 2007.

New packaging, new marketing push, same beer. They are not trying to reinvent anything, but rather trying to push a brand that has been around for quite awhile. Most brands in any business are due for this, and now it is Mac's turn. So let's revisit what's inside the packaging.

Exceptional froth forms a sticky, web-like lace on the glass over a stunningly clear amber-colored brew. Lots of citric and floral notes in the nose; mild malt and caramel in the back. A very clean aroma. Perfect smoothness within a moderate body and medium carbonation. Very clean palate with a fluffy character throughout, if perhaps a bit thin. An imploding flavor profile of bread, caramel, malt sweetness, citric-hop flavor and bitterness with a bite shows balance and complexity within an easy-drinking session beer. Finishes dry with a fading flavor of grain and hop.

Beer snobs need to recognize that without beers like this we would still be in the dark ages of beer--retro Lagers would have never become retro and everything would still be yellow and fizzy. A healthy plate of sweet and spicy slow-cooked beef brisket with twice-fried potatoes and collard greens ended up being a stellar pairing--and the bottle of Mac's in the beef made it that much better.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2010 18:26:22 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of djbreezy


3.63/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a lager glass.

appearance - transparent amber, shallow head with some retention, not much lacing

smell - cascade hops, citrus and dank, resin profile

taste - resinous hoppiness, malt

mouthfeel - light, well carbonated, some hop dryness in the finish

drinkability - light, balanced, decent showcase of cascade hops

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2010 03:16:10 | More by djbreezy
Photo of honeybrewer


3.48/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz poured into a snifter
Clear amber color with a little white head that dissapates quickly.
Smells of hops, but not strongly, almost bland.
Well balanced malt and hops. Nothing really complex going on here, but still very good. Low carbonation is just right.
Altogether this is a very easy drinking beer, and for the price, is definetely well worth it.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2010 00:09:44 | More by honeybrewer
Photo of beertunes


3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a clean, clear honey amber color with just a thin cap of slightly off-white head that dissipated quickly and left a bare minimum of lacing.

The aroma was mainly crisp hops with some malt in the background, just the opposite of most of the style. The flavor was similar to the aroma with more malt showing up than in the scent. There seemed to be a slight fruity sweet flavor on the finish.

The body was good, smooth and clean. Drinkability was good, I drank a 22 without getting too bored. Overall, a decent beer and a different take on the style. If you're looking for a change from Fat Tire or Alaskan this Amber may be for you.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2010 23:17:21 | More by beertunes
Photo of jdense


3.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle purloined from buddy's fridge.

Amber brew, one finger off-white head, quick disappation, minimal lacing. The nose is a bit sweet, pears, apples, with breadish malts presence, minimal hop presence. The taste is a nice balance of malts bready and sweet, a bit syrupy, and once again little malt presence, perhaps due to this isn't a fresh bottle. Nice carbonation and very drinkable. This northwest session staple may have been surpassed by big and bolder beers, but still a very drinkable, classic version of this style.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2009 14:32:34 | More by jdense
Photo of Offa


4.4/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a good lighter ale, uncomplicated but still with some character, enjoyable, pleasant, and pretty well balanced.

Bright amber, it has a medium off-white head soon thinning to a thin foamy ring and wisps, leaving a little weak lace.

The aroma is strong ripe apples, generally fruitiness, grain and a hint of bagel, hints of lemon and white wine. I sometimes note a fleeting hint of peach but this may be reaching.

The taste is similar to the aroma, a light appley fruitiness, light toasty grain, crisp green apple peel, hints of lemon, caramel, and green grass. The green grass and lemon come on stronger in the finish, making it a little drier and adding to the crispness before a light caramelly, faintly toasty grain aftertaste. It is light and fairly crisp, the light sweetness and bitterness nicely balanced. It is somewhat light and uncomplicated but the character it has is pleasant, firm, and has enough light complexity to keep it interesting while the elements are nicely integrated and restrained without being bland. The feel is solid, light and slightly frothy, neither watery nor oily, just a very solid session-beer feel. Combined with the balance, this all makes this a highly enjoyable beer that is both very easy to drink and characterful enough to keep wanting to.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 22:32:11 | More by Offa
Photo of PDXHops

South Carolina

3.38/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

See-thru amber body with 1 finger of off-white head that quickly settles into a skim. A little lacing.

Smells chiefly of caramel malt, with a bit of floral hops and some bready/yeasty aromas.

A little more interesting in the mouth. Sweet and biscuity malts are balanced with mild floral and citrusy hops.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. A fairly crisp finish with some mild lingering citrusy bitterness.

Overall impression: Solid amber ale.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2009 06:26:36 | More by PDXHops
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MacTarnahan's Amber Ale from Portland Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 204 ratings.