The Governator Ale | Portland Brewing Company

The Governator AleThe Governator Ale
Liked This Beer
3.35 w/ 32 ratings
The Governator AleThe Governator Ale

Brewed by:
Portland Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by sinistersteve on 01-13-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 32 |  Reviews: 30
Photo of Offa
4.4/5  rDev +31.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

As far as I know, this has been out of production for several years, but I recently found a lone bottle. If it is old, it has certainly taken the years very well, for it looks, smells, and tastes perfectly fresh and in fact very good.

Light amber, it has a medium, dense white head that steadily shrinks to a rocky, thin, foamy top that lasts, and leaves some lace.

The aroma is nice, yeasty bread, caramelly, with citrus (vaguely grapefruity, but only just), with some fruit.

The taste is very good, caramelly grain, hints of pine, honey, pear, citrus (again, fainly grapefruity, but barely), some English-like earthy-leafy qualities. It's light but full of flavour, zesty, lightly sweet then with balancing bitterness and a smooth, long finish. It is nicely balanced and very drinkable. Overall, it's a fairly standard, basic ale, but it's a very well-done, solid, and tasty interpetation. It's also somewhat reminiscent of Snowshoe Brewing's Thompson Pale Ale.

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Photo of sinistersteve
3.88/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Special beer brewed in Oregon in honor of the new governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Who would have ever thought that would ever happen with the love/hate relationship we Oregonians have with that state south of the border?? Very limited release with 22oz. bottles only being sent to California and local purchases allowed only at the taproom of Portland Brewing.

Thick white head donned this very limited release. The dark translucent copper color makes this beer very inviting. The carmel flavors seem to make this beer a bit more sweet than bitter. A mild lace is left behind on the glass, but doesn't stay stuck to the glass for long. Overall, not a bad drinker for being being a 'novelty' beer.

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Photo of Zorro
3.83/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clear amber brew.

Smell is malty with a citrus hop scent as well.

Taste is a bit sweet with a strong pine and citrus hops flavor. A hoppy west coast beer that avoids going too far with the hops. As I drink it the same sweetness that is extinguished by the hops bite continues, but a tea flavor appears.

Mouthfeel is good.

Surprisingly drinkable, I wonder if the bottle will ever be worth something on Ebay? Drink the beer THEN save the bottle!

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Photo of clvand0
3.83/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hilarious. Thanks to kmpitz2 for sharing this one. I expected this one to be just so-so, but I was surprised. Pours a golden color with a tall head that tries to hang around for a while and leaves a little bit of lacing on the glass. The aroma is hoppy - mostly grassy, grainy, and dirty hops, but it's nice and mild, so not to be overpowering. I was actually surprised that this is considered an ESB, and not an IPA, although it's not exactly pale. The flavor is much like the aroma. There is a moderate amount of hop flavor and a slight bitterness all backed by a strong malt backbone. The odd thing is that the flavor hops seem to be a bit stronger than the bittering, leading me to believe this one would be best categorized as an APA instead of ESB. Regardless, it's a surprisingly good beer and I'd have it again.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.83/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

How could I pass this one up when I found it at the beer store. This pours a nice deep golden/light copper color with a nice 3 finger head that falls to about a finger before I drink. The nose is kinda APAish to me, with the dirty hop nose. The flavor is a little more sweet/citrus in the hop than the nose would say. It is a little crisp as well. I kinda like it. The feel is a light moderate. Overall, not a bad brew at all.

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Photo of shapudding
3.8/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got to try this at the GenLafayette tasting! -and happy to get to try this with the current injunction by Ah-nohld!

Honey gold with white creamy head. Very hoppy scent, bit of sweetness in the background. Nice and dry with good bitterness. Very hoppy. Citrus and floral. The sweetness is in there, but not overwhelming. It dries your mouth out so that you are wanting more, so it leads to good drinkability.

Decent beer, but one ya really get for the fun factor! I was actually surprised to find decent tasted in there.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.72/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden amber color with a thin off-whit head made up of uneven bubbles. It's a decent looking beer but it looks oddly carbonated.

Smell: Sweet malty nose with a touch of floral scent.

Taste: Sweet maltiness to open with a touch of roasty bitterness in the middle. Buttery, earthy, soft malts with a sandy flavor. The hop flavor is rather convuluted but still enticing. Bitter hop flavor with a dry, grassy, linen, and leather taste. A light berry fruit ending very close to strawberries.

Mouthfeel: Soft and smooth. A bit of a stinging astringency near the middle to end of the beer, but it's still comfortable.

Drinkability: I had this beer in my fridge for a about 4 months. I bought it on a whil and just now decided to try it. Really it is quite good and true to the style. It's a bit over-carbonated and thus feels a bit like soda. But the flavors are complex and tasty. I would gladly drink it again. I won't seek it out, but I won't turn it away either.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.63/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22 Oz bottle with label showing drawing of rear view of a wieght lifter flexing his arm muscles a la Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Pumping Iron". Purportedly from "Pumping Iron Brewing", showing a small map of California (even though it's brewed in Oregon).

Appearance: Thin white head that lasted only a few minutes before disappearing completely. Attractive clear copper & gold color. Smell: Typical malty smell for the style. The kid in the room said "it smells like beer"- that about sums it up.

Flavor: Actually not bad, considering what I expected. Bitterness and little else, but it went pretty well with the pepperoni pizza leftovers I was having (such a gourmet!). Fairly simple, and easily drinkable, so long as you aren't expecting a lot of complexity. Overall: Nothing classic, but I actually enjoyed drinking it.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.63/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

AND PUMPING IRON BREWING BRINGS YOU… GOVERNATOR ALE… Orange gold color. Small white foamy head. Aroma is fruity and malty. A medium bodied APA/ESB.. Malts are fruity and sweet. Hops are grapefruity and slightly bitter. A little thin tasting But nicely balanced, with a nice dry finish. Nice but nothing special. I don’t feel pumped up after drinking this beer, but I will be back… Mouthfeel is full. Finish is clean and dry. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

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Photo of rowew
3.63/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22 oz bomber. While this was going for ridiculous prices on Ebay I picked one up for $2 at the liquor store. No freshness info or indication of what kind of beer this is on the label.

Appearance: Poured red orange with just a slight haze, and a nice head. Bubbles coming up from below kept the head sustained quite a while.

Smell: Lots of yeast in the aroma, and some biscuity malts.

Taste: Smooth mouthfeel with a relatively low level of carbonation. Taste is biscuity malts and a bit of yeast profile, and just a hint of hop bitterness in the finish.

Overall impression: Not a bad ESB - I assume this has been around a while, but it held up fairly well.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.53/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – The Governator is a clear, brownish-orange in color with a nice white head that looks like a pillowy cloud as seen from a top view, like what you see when you’re in an airplane above cloud level. It left some nice lacing, too.

Smell – There’s a light bitter aroma to this ESB. It’s a bit yeasty, too, reminding me more of an English Bitter. The malts are light as well.

Taste – The yeast and grain come out much bigger at the taste. Again, it’s more like a mild English Bitter. There is also a leafy type of vegetative bitterness in the flavor.

Mouthfeel – This light to medium-bodied ale is moderately bitter in the mouth with some light but sprightly carbonation.

Drinkability – Well, I know that the bottle is old as they weren’t making this for very long before Arnold closed down production under duress of a nasty lawsuit, but it held up well and was surprisingly not a bad drinker.

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Photo of sloejams
3.52/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Not sure why this has been retired, I still see it frequently in Southern California, perhaps these are old - the date on the bottle is not very legible. Having not had it in a couple years, I decided to give it another go.

It poured a golden color with a slight head. The aroma was malty with hops in the distant background with a slight citrusness and caramel. The flavor is sweet but subtle - perhaps too subtle. The hops give a lil kick not something I often associated with ESBs. The mouthfeel is smooth but thin. It went down relatively fast - very drinkable - to my surprise. Guess I was thirs-taaaay!

I'd say it's better than the dumb title gimmick would suggest, but nothing phenomenal.

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Photo of mzwolinski
3.51/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was pretty reluctant to pick this up. Gimmick beers are generally not very good (if it was good idea, why wouldn't they have made it before?) Heck, it doesn't even indicate what style it is on the bottle. But I bought it anyways. It poured a light, clear copper with a typhoon of carbonation leading to a moderately sized, off-white head. Not a bad, sheet-like lacing, either! Very light citric hops in the aroma. The flavor, too, is light, grainy, with a pleasant, but mild, and quickly disappearing zesty hop finish. More flavor than bitterness. Crisp mouthfeel, and pretty drinkable. Much better than I expected, but, as to be expected from a gimmick beer, nothing I would ever come back too. There's simply too many better beers of a similar style around. Give me a Brutal Bitter anyday.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.51/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Saw this at my local beer store whilst picking up some Stone VE04. A home made sign, ripped from a cardboard beer case had the words “banned in USA/CA” handwritten on it. Thankfully, not much price gouging was in order here, it was on sale for around $4 a bottle, OK then, maybe a little price mark-up perhaps. Still, for the princely sum I figured I would pick up one bottle to try.

Appearance: Pours with a beautiful clear amber color that has some coppery-orange hints when held to the light. The head is reasonable in size at first, but soon settles to a thin off-white collar that clings throughout the drink to the top of the beer.

Nose: Solid malt aromas with a light yeast character. Roasted nuts and some herbs/spices mixed in for good measure. Smells pretty good actually, but very delicate on the nose strength wise.

Taste: Nice malty start with a little bitterness in the middle and ending. The high carbonation levels gave this beer a very “Beer Shandy” feel at times. Nice balance of malts and bitterness, with a little herbal fruitiness, all embroiled in a lively drink that is very refreshing at times.

Mouthfeel: A light body, aided by the solid conditioning giving a medium mouthfeel. Spritzy in the mouth, it leaves a nice bitterness on the tongue after the swallow.

Drinkability: I found this to be pretty drinkable actually. Not that taxing and very quaffable, much like a low gravity English Bitter Pale Ale at times. It would certainly make for a great all round drinking beer. I could certainly manage a Gallon of this one quite easily without any problems whatsoever.

Overall: Not that bad and nicely balanced to boot, but certainly nothing special. Nevertheless, it’s a very quaffable offering with little in the way to complain about. It would certainly go extremely well with a big plate of greasy Fish n’ Chips n’ Mushy Peas, or even wash a spicy Curry down.

I don’t know why the Brewery is pissed that it had to ‘cease and desist’ with this offering and their use and blatant reference to the Governor of California’s imagery. I mean Come On!! It’s not as if any other Austrian by birth, who gained high Office in another country, and threw his weight around, caused any problems - Oh wait though! There was that guy called Adolf……..what was his last name again?

This Review is dedicated to all those sad f**ks who paid more than $4 for this on e-Bay, may your beer always be sour and your life empty.

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Photo of Dmann
3.5/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had to pick this one up when I saw it at the store, and it has just been chillin in my fridge till tonight. It poured a nice golden color with a decent head that faded quickly and did not leave much lace. The smell was decent with some nice fruit scents and a decent malt scent as well. The taste was ok, nothing special yet nothing bad about it either. It seemed like a pretty balanced brew with a good malt character and just a touch of bitterness. Would I buy this again? Probably not, but it is still a decent brew.

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Photo of rkhaze
3.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a golden copper with a spongy white head. Aromas of sweet malt, citrusy/floral hops and a hint of fruit.
Flavor mimiced the smell. Malty sweet with a tangy floral hop bitterness and a bit of citrus fruit.
Medium bodied with good carbonation and drinkability.
Nothing spectacular, kinda mediocre, just like...well nevermind.

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Photo of beergeek279
3.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in the 22 oz. bomber, into a pint glass. The color is golden, with a foamy white head, clumped in the middle. The smell is a good slight citrus hoppiness. The taste is a slightly hopped beer, without much malt shining through, and a slightly off bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is fairly thin. As for drinkability, I might have another.

Well, another gimmick beer that we won't have to deal with again. Not a bad pale ale at all, but not something I'd be paying $10 a bottle for on EBay either. I'm glad I tried it, but hopefully the next Governator will fit the name!

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Photo of jtfest
3.43/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

OK -- the whole thing’s a gimmick to take advantage of Arnold's celeb to sell some beer, but at least it's not spit water. True, I bought the thing for my bottle collection, but it wasn't such a bad brew, either. It pours a very clear golden/copper color with a moderate white head. The aroma is malty and slightly fruity. The taste is a bit thin, but the mouthfeel smoothes it out and it has a nice bitterness that gives the flavor some 'oomph'. The aftertaste leave a bit to be desired, turning slightly sour -- but if it was served cold on a hot day, I think this would be pretty easy drinking. Not good enough to buy more for drinking, but at least I didn't have to pour it down the drain to get the bottle.

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Photo of weeare138
3.37/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to hopdog for this...
Appears a hazy gold with a small white head that fades into a small collar with spotty lacing left around the glass.
Smell is of biscuit, earthyness, toffee, piney hops, caramel, and mild oxidation.
Taste is a step down from the same aromas but not awful.
Mouthfeel is of caramel sweetness that settles on the front of the tongue with a dry cardboard and lemon tartness feel.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear amber appearance. Virtually no head. Small edging which is an ivory white tone. Lacing is minimal. Toffee and butter on the nose with leathery tones noted as well. Mouthfeel is a little prickly and the body is about medium. Cardboard, toffee, diactyl and earthy hops mix together on the palate in an uninspiring sort of way. Barely better than average, but it is.

Thanks for the beer Sir Ahnold of Long Beach.

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Photo of harpus
3.25/5  rDev -3%

Photo of Countpopeula
3.16/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – clear copper color. Looks well carbonated but has a very thin white head, that dissipates quickly (normal for the style)
Smell – moderately hoppy, low fruitiness and malty aroma.
Taste – strong hoppy bitterness. Light toffee/malty flavor. The balance seems to lean to the bitter side, but doesn’t completely over power the malt flavor. The malt flavor seems to come out more as the beer warms.
Mouthfeel – Has a medium body. Carbonation is a little high.
Drinkability – A very refreshing beer, although the strong bitterness makes it hard to drink to much at once. For a ‘gimmicky’ beer it’s not bad, however I doubt I’ll miss it when the limited release is up.

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.15/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The Governator was recently pulled from all production after lawyers representing a certain steroid-laden governor of California leaned heavily on Portland Brewing Company with a lot of cease and desist talk. Oh well, hasta la vista, baby.

Belmont Station still has cases of the stuff on hand for the pumped up price of five bucks a bomber. I can think of better things to do with five bucks such as set it on fire, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to try The Governator just once. This is either an ESB or a pale, possibly an amber. Either way, it starts with a very strong fsss-ss-t as the bottle is cracked. The head soon grows soft and relaxed, as a cask-conditioned brew might, but not before releasing a crisp, hoppy aroma. Unusually large bubbles rise upwards through a body of clear, filtered copper.

The Governator’s body is surprisingly thin, given the marketing profile of this now extinct beer. The name, label, and ad hoc company name “Pumping Iron Brewing” are all suggestive of a certain body builder turned governor of a certain politically dysfunctional west coast state. I was anticipating the Governator to be no more than a crafty marketing gimmick and was fully prepared to despise this brew as much as I despise actors turned politicians. But I must admit the look and smell of this beer does actually possess merit. The taste however, showed little innovation or artistry. It’s palatable enough, but as I said, thin. On the whole, more hype than hop.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.15/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Given the special nature of this ale, I had several options before me: sell it on Ebay now, save it for posterity, or do something I've always dreamed of, holding a representation of a certain muscle-headed Republican upside-down in a toilet bowl! I want to have something floating in there! And no-one can get mad at me, because it's not like it's really an ego-maniacal, sexist, over-exposed film star, right? It's just a beer bottle!
So, I drink it first...crack the crown, and down it goes into a humungous Tuetonic tumbler, in ahnor of Ahnold...thick, prodigiously spotted, actively bubbly, milky white head, perfectly clear, perfectly amber color.
Aroma: soft, yet just a tickle spicy, with an herbal hop aroma, with minor citric fruit notes, a touch nutty, nice and adequate for style.
Decent cameo of hop bitterness on the palate, then all is smoothness, with a fruity flavor remaining in the background. Light bodied, to medium, maybe, with a meddium-length finish. A fine, if unexciting ale, just the thing to wash down weinerschnitzel or sauerbraten, but if you want an action hero, this is a box ofice bomb. Good for a grope, but not group sex.

Pumped-up thanks goes to db for sending this out to me.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.13/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Perfectly pellucid orange-amber topped by a sturdy beige head that is pitting for all it's worth. Scraps of pocked lace remain as the foam begins its slow descent. The nose isn't all that interesting; weak citrus, earthy hops and weaker caramel malt. It isn't bad, it just needs to be more outgoing.

The scores continue to fall. The body is way too thin and the flavor way too weak. I would hope that a beer named after a body builder would be more muscular than this. The thin, bordering on watery body is helpless to keep the flavor around long enough to make a favorable impression. I keeping drinking, hoping that something (hops, malt... anything) will speak in something louder than a whisper, but it's not to be. There's a faint metallic flavor on the finish, but even that fades into oblivion.

The Governator Ale was a great gimmick that received more than a little publicity. Problem is, MacTarnahan's must have--cynically, I might add--relied on the name to sell whatever they brewed. Is it too much to ask for them to have put a little beer in this beer? Thanks to Dogbrick for the bomber.

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The Governator Ale from Portland Brewing Company
Beer rating: 18.8% out of 100 with 32 ratings
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