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 Spikester
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours medium amber with almost no head.

Grapefruit, pine needles, malty.

Hops win over malt.

Mild lacing.

Too bitter for my palate, hopheads should enjoy.
Looking forward to trying the draft version.

Not a session ale for me. Bitterness predominates the flavor.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
2.95/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz from the Coop for about $1.50.. shared with a buddy.. mine from a shaker pint.. listening to Sasha and Digweed Communicate while talking shop.

Very short and shortlasting head... crystal clear orange brew.. not very amber at all.

Bready malts and an abundant citrus hop character.. could use more.

Fruity yeasts and a lite body... lite carame and toasted malts.. cascades I assume.. sorta metallic lingering finish.

good at first, but by the end I came to think that this was simply an average PNW amber.. I remember this beer better than this glass... simply needs a little more of everything.. aroma.. body.. flavor.. sorry.. but that's the way I see it. Still drinkable for sure but not a brew I go for when I want an amber fix.

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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 ElGordo
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Body is a bright orange-amber hue, topped by a small creamy white head. Mild aroma of light caramel and amber malts, with a light, fruity hop presence and a hint of sweet biscuit. Palate is mild and pleasant. Lightly sweet, biscuity malt mingles with just a touch of hops. Finish is a touch sweet, with a very light fruity quality. Body is smooth and just a little creamy. A classic amber ale, it's a shame that this seems to have fallen out of favor with local bars in the past few years. Hopefully Pyramid's efforts to reenergize the Mac's brand will prove to be effective.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.56/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Couldn't be happier to see more Portland, OR beers find their way to Central KY. This beer is a standard, solid Amber for any occasion. Pours a ...well.... amber color with very good head retention and soft carbonation. Smells malty with very low caramel, toffee notes. Of course it's assertively hopped, but not outside of balanced. Tastes quite malty and rich. Hops certainly offset the sweetness, as well as offering a citrus, grassy taste. Soft fermentation flavors (almost lactose) give the beer some spirit going into the finish. Quite clean and crisp in late, with a mild hop lingering. Good stuff to chase down the wings and pizza.

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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 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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Photo of Vancer
3.51/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An easy pour yielded a voracious topping of ivory head, my new Sammy BA pint glass strained to hold ‘er down. Nice lacing in such a fine drinking vessel, on top of a clear amber honey brew.

Aromas hint of an English Pale ale, woody and resinous. The quaff, sharp and crisp, also pops in with some doughy pine. Just a bit too rough and edgy to make for a smooth amber, more malts would help balance this cat out. In fact – I would say this is more PA than amber. But still a decent to good tasting brew.

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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 BeerBelcher
3.52/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. Generally when I see "amber ale," I think "ZZZzzz," but this one was really pretty good, well-balanced with a nice amount of hop bitterness.

It poured a beautiful copper color with lots of bubbles coming up from the bottom of my beer-clean glass. The beer had abundant head that agressively stuck to the side of my glass and slowly and inconsistently faded, starting from the middle of my glass. This beer really was quite attractive. Aroma was surprisingly hoppy with a nice caramel malt smell. Flavor was a very nice balance of Cascade hops and caramel malt. Mouthfeel was nothing extraordinary, but I still thought this beer to be well done.

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Photo of rm0312
3.47/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on Horizon Airlines and it was in a plastic cup so that may have diminished the quality somewhat (but it was a complimentary beverage on an airline so who’s complaining?). Had a thin head that dissipated quickly. The aroma and color were adequate. Flavor was good and the dry-hopped bitterness still seemed to come through pretty clear even out of the plastic cup. I would like to try this on tap before I pass it off as average – I think it has potential.

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Photo of zeff80
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a copper/burgandy color with a foamy, off-white, two-finger head. Left some lace.

S - It smelled of malt and grass/hops.

T - It tasted quite hoppy and spicy. A good toasted malt flavor, as well.

M - It was crisp and sharp on the tongue. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good amber. It is a very hoppy beer for the style.

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Photo of Cresant
2.79/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a nonic. Dated best by: 52407. Pale amber/copper color with two fingers of cream colored head. Sheets of lace remained in the glass.

Smell was of a faint metallic twang. a bit earthy but overall very quiet.

Taste was hop flavors, pungent, organic. Moderately sweet. As it warmed considerably I noticed a faint tea-like quality. Caramel notes also arrived late.

Mouthfeel was solidly medium in body and carbonation. I end up liking this one more by the finish, however, it is a middle of the road pale ale.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Light amber. Off-white head. Mild retention. Decent lacing.

Smell - Grapefruit, yeast, bread, pine, and caramel.

Taste - Sweet caramel blends with the g rapefruit, yeast and pine. The finish has a hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied. Creamy. Little carbonation.

Drinkability - Definitely session-able!

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Photo of RJLarse
3.9/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought a six-pack of Mac's Amber Ale at a grocery store. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a shiny copper color and is clear. A bubbly, slightly fizzy one-finger head forms, but dissolves quickly, leaving little lacing on the glass.

The smell is fruity, with citrus and pine notes.

The taste is reasonably well balanced, with a malt backbone, and a significant hop presence. It's a little hoppier than I was expecting from an amber ale.

Mouthfeel is good, zesty, well carbonated, perhaps a little thin and watery.

A very drinkable beer. It's light and zippy for an amber, and would be a good thirst quencher on a warm day. I would probably have this again, it's a good beer, but it's really nothing special.

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Photo of isaac
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. to pint glass.

"From Here. Brewed Here." ...seems a bit redundant, don't you think?

well, "Portland's Original Amber Ale" pours a bright orange body with very big, very visible carbonation and a short-lived, frothy head of pearl - the bubbles look a wee bit too big for my liking. from the smell, it is quite clear that they weren't lying about dry-hopping with Cascade, but that cool-fruity-grapefruitness dominates the nose and only slightly hints at a sort of toasted-marshmellow-y malt profile. the taste is quite sweet, not cloying, but odd and sort of fruit-soda-like (Cascade-soda, that is) with an added caramel quality. mouthfeel is taken down many a notch due to the over-carbonation (the big, stabbing bubbles make me think this was heavily injected with CO2 rather than bottle-conditioned, a notion furthered by the utter cleanliness of the bottle), but remains a somewhat thin, refreshing quaff. quite drinkable, but entirely predictable, this beer is, well, it is what it is.

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Photo of rocketmotor
2.8/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle, outdated be 5 days.

Ok appearance, light red/amber color with a small amount of haze present. Leaves a nice lacing on glass.

Smells of American hops, woody and with a little bit of sourness present.

Tastes of light malt, hops and woody. The hops are just a little bitter, but plenty of mild hop flavour. Mouthfeel is weak, almost like water to me.

Easy to drink, I can take it or leave it.

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Photo of stephendr
3.12/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle- color of medium amber , with a decent eggshell color head - nose of bitter hopps , earthy , citrus , malts , and roasted – taste of citrusy hopps , earthy , slightly dirty , and lime zest - body thin, and with medium to high carbonation – aftertaste of citrus , and tar

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Photo of BeerIsland
2.7/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is a funny beer. It looks and smells pretty good but the taste is kind of off and there's not too much finish. I expected more from the slightly cloudy amber tone and clean aromas. The malts are a little thin and there's a dry citusy aftertaste. Not the best beer I've had.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pumpkin color. Clean. Average sized light beige head.

S: Decently hoppy for a red. Light citrus notes, grapefruit and red fruits.

T: Begins with some honey tastes on the tip of the tongue. From there the citrus notes comes thru. Finishes with some orange blossum memories.

M: Juicy, good balance.

D: Not a bad beer. Good balance going on.

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Photo of BigBry
3.72/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the selections in the Summer Brews 10 Great Beers case brought back from the States.
Same 12oz brown bottle as in the picture. Pours a clear coppery color, with a creamy, chunky 1 inch head. Has the smell of a pale ale (citrus, grapefruit, pine) but very subdued. Same story with the taste. It is all there, but just not the hoppy 'kick' that I was craving. Pleasant aftertaste of cascade hops (as per label). Medium carbonation gave an appropriate mouthfeel. Refreshing and tastey and quite drinkable, but just seems to be a little tame in the aroma and flavor. Good as it is, but average for the style.

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Photo of woemad
2.95/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry’s in Spokane for $1.49. No visible freshness date.

Pours an orange/copper color, with a modest white head. Occasional, spotty bit of lace. Not terribly interesting looking.

The nose is of very mild, caramel-ish sweetness, with an equally mild floral hoppiness. Inoffensive smelling, to be sure, but there’s not much of note going on here.

The flavor is one of mild, sweet maltiness, with an earthy, slightly citrusy taste in the background. Not a very memorable tasting beer.

This is a relatively thin-bodied beer, thinner than most ambers I’ve had. The mouthfeel starts out fizzy, then drops off to character-less in rapid time.

This is an inoffensive but otherwise uninspiring beer that I will not feel the need to buy again, unless I come across it at a very good sale price. Sure, it goes down easy, but you’ll forget it as soon as it has.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

According to the bottle the Celts brewed pale ale's with Cascade hops.
Pours a copper color with a well retaining 1/2" cream colored head. Smells of bananna and pine forest. Hint of rubber in the smell.
Taste is of caramel and piney hops but there is some metallic flavor that keeps this from being a very good beer. Mouthfeel isn't bad but it's boring. This could be a very good pale ale, but there's just a couple of things that are off that are holding it back. The metallic finish and the mouthfeel.

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Photo of Enola
3.18/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured with a creamy head that has left lots of lacing. The color is a orange like hue. The smell is hoppy with a slight harshness. The taste is bitter. There is a slight herbal aftertaste. The mouthfeel is fairly smooth with a lingering fruity feel. The drinkability is fair. Not too bad. I could probably drink these again.

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Photo of bort11
2.89/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up at Bubbles on North Oak after mowing the lawn all day. It was on sale but looked interesting, worth a shot.

A- 12 oz bottle poured into my Honey Brown "Beer God" pint glass. Big chunky head, about 2 fingers. I had to take a bite out of it so as not to overflow. The beer is a very clear copper color. Not as much streaming in the carbonation as you would think from loking at the head. The head receded after about 5 minutes, but maintained a tight lace on the surface.

S- Not much going on here. Slight hops smell but nothing else.

T- Not much taste either. Cascade hops only come though in the aftertaste. It's not bad, just not interesting.

M- Medium to light. Balanced carbonation.

D- This is a pretty boring APA. It's not really doing much of anything flavor-wise, but it was refreshing after mowing the lawn. This could definately be a session beer, if there's nothing better available.

Edit- I had a few more the next day, and there was some improvement in taste and smell. That first one may have just been off. Still an averqge APA

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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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