MacTarnahan's Amber Ale | Portland Brewing Company

147 Reviews
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MacTarnahan's Amber AleMacTarnahan's Amber Ale

Brewed by:
Portland Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
32 IBU

Malts: 2 Row Pale, Caramel
Hops: Cascade

Still called MacTarnahan's Amber Ale.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-11-2001

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Reviews: 147 | Ratings: 248
Photo of Offa
4.37/5  rDev +25.6%
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.

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Photo of LazyL
4.25/5  rDev +22.1%
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.

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Photo of SargeC
4.22/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy, deep amber color, strong, tan-white head.

Smell: Malt sweetness with an interesting malt character.

Taste: Great balance. Not overly sweet or bitter. Nothing stands out, but the result is very drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body. Good staying power in this brew.

Drinkability: Very satisfying. Great balance and craftsmanship.

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Photo of heyitsbyron
4.21/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a single from a six pack into a pint glass.

Poured perfectly. Nice inch of pearly head, clear amber color. Can't ask for anything more. I remarked to my friends how this beer poured perfectly.

Smell was so-so. Smelled hoppy of course, bit malty, maybe a bit sweet too. Good aromas, just the volume was turned down a bit.

Flavor was spec-freaking-tacular. I have never had an amber that was this balanced and this pleasant. No macro brew tastes, no funky chemicals. Just a pure balance of malts, hops, and taste of carmely sweetness.

Mouth feel was medium and smooth, no complaints here.

Bring it on! I don't usually like ambers, but I'd buy this again in a heart beat. Good for all seasons, for all occasions. I've had other MacTarnahan's beers and had low expectations but this is better than Great Lakes, Sprecher, or Capital ambers. Simply magnificent.

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Photo of hero27
4.2/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the pleasure of sampling this brew out of a MacTarnahan's Mix Pack..

Appearance: Golden-amber color with a thin head with decent head retention but spotty lacing.

Smell: Not a very strong smell to this brew. Hoppy aroma with maybe a hint of caramel/sweet malts...the hops are much more evident than anything else here.

Taste: This may be the best-balanced beer I've ever had the pleasure of consuming. I'm not a lover of strong hops, and the hops are definitely present here, but they are done just right. Malty sweetness fades into a nice hop bitterness near the end. Well done.

Mouthfeel: a rather thin mouthfeel with more carbonation than expected. I didn't mind too much because I'm not a big fan of beers that I need a knife and fork to drink.

Drinkability: Not very expensive and relatively easy to drink. Pretty smooth going down and tastes damn good. I will definitely have to try to find this on-tap somewhere.

Overall, I gotta say I'm fairly impressed with MacTarnahan's. A good amber ale to try.

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.12/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a lovely rich copper color that is topped with a nice 1/2" tan head that has staying power. The nose is a very pleasant and crisp sensation; highlighted by a contrast in the hint of pine hops and the sweet undertones of delicious malt.

The flavor is very dry and leaves quite the impression on the palate leaving away to a fine sharp bitter hop aftertaste. This is definitely a hop heads beer. Delicious! I am really enjoying this one. What a way to take off the edge of a grueling day and shitty traffic. Man, I am a happy camper :-).

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Photo of KoG
4.12/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Not too bad a brew. Nice amber color as it should be but the head disappears a little quick, lacing is slightly sticky.

Has a nice flowery hop smell, somewhat like green tea. Brewed a Pale Ale with Centennial and Kent Golding and this seems about right.

Taste is well balanced, not too malty not too hoppy, has a definate Kent Golding flavor.

Mouth is normal, light but smooth. Seems a bit thin.

Overall a pretty decent brew, especially if you're a big fan of Kent Golding, or Cascade hops. Might need to try this again sometime.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.1/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am on the phone so this review will be short. Smell is of caramel malts.

Taste is nicely balanced and sweet with some hop backbone. Dry hopping gives an extra aroma.

Crisp mouthfeel. Nice, sessionable amber ale. I could session this beer.

I'm surprised this came from pyramid

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Photo of Reidrover
4.1/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought in the 12 oz brown bottle with green tartan label mmm "Scottish Style Amber Ale"?
pours a beautiful amber , crystal clear..unlike others I got a good sized frothy white head on this beer.
Nice malty aroma though not too strong just right for my tatses.
The taste is also very nicelly done a combinatiuon of malty sweetness up front which is taken over by a good hop bitterness at the end..very complimentary.
Feels excellent in the mouth not too smooth yet easy going.
An excellent drinkable beer.

NOTES>... this is my main staple beer..its not to exspensive yet it always satisfies..this is also my camping beer( in cans)...ah i can just see those Cascade Mountain Douglas Firs with my tent underneath as the sun begins to go down..time for a fire and a few Macs!!

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Photo of elmocoso
4.09/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When i opened and poured this beer i caught the smell of (i think) cascade hops. It smelt great and got me all excited. By the time i got to my pc and got on the hopp smell had receded and there was a great carmaly hit to the nose-buds. The smell of this beer is a great and divers adventure. In fact, it smells slightly better than it tastes, and it doesnt tast bad at all.

The taste here is pretty good. There is a nice carmaly maltyness that covers the tounge accompanied by a zing of bitterness to the sides.

the mouthfeel is pretty darn good also. Smooth and flavorfull.

The further i get into this glass o' beer, the more a am appreciating it. It turns out to be quite drinkable. I suggest it.

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Photo of bharris
4.08/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a great beer. Received as a gift.

Great color with a good head. Looks like a beer I would like to drink. Aroma is not overbearing, enticed me into the first sip.

Strong flavor, light malt, the bitterness of the hops is apparent but not overbearing.

Feels like beer in my mouth, very very drinkable!

I recommend!

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Photo of jcdiflorio
4.07/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mixed sixer at the Beer Store,served in a nonic glass from a stubby 12oz bottle with a twist off cap.

Slightly hazed,brillant medium amber color with a good 1" creamy white head,good retention leaving some spotty lacing. Fair amount of carbination with some large soda like bubbles stuck on the sides of the glass and constiant stream of staggering tiny bubbles surging to the surface.

Good,moderate hop nose,floral/citrus with hints of earthyness and light sweet maltiness in the background.

Light sweet pleasing carmelly tastes,some grassyness balances out nicely with a crisp citrusy hoppiness. Good honest taste,nice well made beer.

Light,refreshing with a zesty mouthwatering tang. Very enjoyable a plesasing suprize from a random pick. Reminds me a bit of Hop Sun. Could session this beer, light enough to be a good summer drinker.

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Photo of DurtyUI
4.05/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A exuberant amber colour suits her naughty nature that leaves a lingering carmelicious citus after-taste.

She taunts you with a sweet hop aroma that lingers. A soft head fades into lickity legs down the edge of my glass.

I could drink 10 of her, easily.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.02/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew is a darker golden color, with a tiny white head. The scent is all malts, some sweetness to it. Caramel malt dominates up front, some candy elements present. Bitter hop presence in the back, blended in quite well. Big creamy mouth on this one, some acidity as the beer drains down the throat. Pretty good overall, on the sweet side of things.

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Photo of Rootdog316
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This amber ale has a definite hop aroma. The color could be described as a mixture of brown, red, and golden. The foaminess level is adequate enough. It doesn't produce a good head of foam, but it's acceptable. A little more complexity or additional malt flavor would have swayed my opinion a notch higher. But it's still a very good, hoppy ale. It's a little more on the bitter side than other beers, but hop lovers will think it's great!

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Photo of StevieW
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Nice medium copper color, fluffy beige head. Lots of rich hop bubbles. Very very pleasing to the eye. Nice full rich malty smell. Biscuit and toasted carmel malt dominate the first taste. Lots of full flavors. I would call it an amber ale, or a malty pale ale than a scotch ale. Sweet toasted malt taste. Nice feel, moderately carbonated. Rich full taste. A pleasant surprise and much better than average beer. It might not be as flavorful as some other scotch ales, but I'm not sure it is one. One of the better beers from Portland Brewing Co.

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Photo of ChiSox05
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lacing coats side of glass in patches, lasting creamy foam, amber orange

Almond malt, fresh "green" smelling hops, some spice not sure of

Roaster and bitter toffee, nip with a flavor not unlike scotch, bittersweet until a lightly spiced hoppiness ends the taste mildly bitter and toasted
Carbonation smooths it out and spreads the flavor, prevents from being too malty sweet, sweetness blanaces the roasted malt and faint hop bitterness. Moderate body.
Found a single in a shopping cart full of Michelob Ultra, Icehouse, mudslide mix and other random stuff for $.99, turned out to be a diamond in the rough. I could drink this all week, going back to that circus cart first chance I get and digging out the rest of these. Bravo, I though it was damn good.

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Photo of Redrover
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one while attending an industry meeting in Portland. The cocktail party featured several local brews. Its nice to have a choice beyond the usual BMC suspects.

The beer pours a nice red/amber with a off-white head.

I liked the aroma of fresh biscuits/crackers with a nice subtle grapefruit aroma in the background.

The taste is slightly on the sweeter side of the taste spectrum. The beer has a nice malt underpinning. I get the bread/cracker taste I expect and a more substantial hop presence as I worked through the beer. This is a great cocktail party beer as it went well with the appetizers.

Soft mouthfeel and excellent carbonation make this an easy drinking beer. I would have no problem keeping this one on hand if I could get it here in Illinois!

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Photo of Mitchster
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OG=13.0, SG=1.052, 30 IBU. Hopped with Cascades. "Scottish-style Amber ale".

Pours out to a clear light-copper with auburn accents, forming a modest off-beige head with average retention and rocky lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma is pleasant with caramel and a grainy touch of sweetness, fresh Cascade hops, vanilla and honey. Mouthfeel is bright and spicy with a medium body. Taste begins with lots of spicy Cascades, followed by an estery fruitiness, some firm residual cookie-like sweetness, a touch of isopropyl towards the dry finish, with lingering notes of honey and vanilla and caramel in the toasted aftertaste. Medium-strong herbaceous bitterness with an oddness that I can't put my finger on. Cleanly fermented.

A solid amber, but quite hopped-up compared to most, especially when compared to the "Scottish-Style" ilk. Kinda like a baby brother of Celebration Ale. I liked it...better than average.

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Photo of mynie
3.98/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice dark APA orange. Much more hazy than I'm used to. Nice.

Smells like light citrus and grapefruit hops and a bit of bread yeast. Standard but solid.

Surprising kick of hops up front. Lots of citrus. Oranges and lemons. Followed up a full balance of caramel malt and ends on a nice wavy bend of doughy yeast.

A good, solid APA.

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Photo of Thrasher
3.97/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I reviewed a can of Mac's and thought it was inferior to the bottle. Now that I am reviewing a bottle, I am proved right; this is better, although a draft pour may be the best possible method. The beer is rich golden bronze and the head sadly vanishes without a trace. Pleasing aroma of hearty malts with perhaps a crisp fruitiness, evocative of apples or pears. The flavor of the beer is substantial, yet remains easy to drink. It contains sweet bready malts, some cookie batter, and an element of single malt scotch, although very little in the way of smokiness or peatiness. A ghostlike shell of hoppiness outlines the beer and sets it in perfect relief; just the finest trace of bubble gum and grapefruit really brings out the flavor of the malts to their fullest. The balance is wondrous. The beer's mouthfeel is smooth, if a bit watery; this may be the same problem as the vanishing head. Drinkability is very high; it's an effortless brew to quaff and it should be suitable for a vast array of occasions and meals. A good beer for shaking off the chill on a rainy autumn day in Portland.

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Photo of brewQ
3.97/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Where's the date codes here guys?

Pours a clear deep bronze color with a 1" beige head pocked with bubbles.The nose was malty with floral notes abounding.

The taste had a good yin and yang- starts with sweetness and ends with some hop bite.

I especially enjoy the lip smacking finish.
This is my kind of session beer.

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Photo of malcontent
3.97/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear off-amber; iced tea-like color. Thin head holds form to offer a standard appearance for the style.

Strong caramel malt aroma with toffee-like sweetness toward the back.

Excellent balance between gently sweet malt and bitter earth tones. Honey, piney hop bitterness and wood a flit about the palate.

Almost creamy thickness is hampered somewhat by minor astringency.

By far one of the better ambers I've had in a long while. Hard to believe Pyramid (not my favorite by a long shot) is behind this brew. Quite good.

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Photo of WesWes
3.95/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry, yet malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts. It also has a mild hop aroma that adds excellent balance to the aroma. It's toastey with a sweet scent. The taste is good. It has a well balanced flavor that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a mild hop flavor. It goes down smooth with a creamy feel. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium bodied beer with a little too much carbonation. This is a good drinking beer. I like the aroma and taste. The carbonation should be scaled back so the creamy flavor can be better appreciated.

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Photo of gmfessen
3.95/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is a pale orangish-amber color with a thin head comprised of many fine bubbles. The smell is a good balance of amber malts and resinous hops. The taste is actually hoppier than you would normally expect from an amber but the maltiness is there, creating a pretty nice balance - slightly bitter on the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a creamy sort of carbonation. Overall, this is a very drinkable beer; quaffable even. I very much enjoyed this amber and would definitely recommend trying it.

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MacTarnahan's Amber Ale from Portland Brewing Company
3.48 out of 5 based on 248 ratings.
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