Red Thistle Ale | Golden Valley Brewery and Pub

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Red Thistle AleRed Thistle Ale
27 Ratings
Red Thistle AleRed Thistle Ale

Brewed by:
Golden Valley Brewery and Pub
Oregon, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 27 |  Reviews: 16
Reviews by freed:
Photo of freed
4.23/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Having recently tried this in a bottle and liking it, I was pleased to see it on tap at a local restaurant. Pint Please!

A nice solidly amber beer arrived shortly. It was a rich hue around the edges with a nice dark core. The foam filled the last centimeter of the pint, nice pour! The beer was a little bit cool, so the aromas were subdued. sweet malt and a crisp hop aroma were present, though tough to pick up at first.

As it slowly warmed, the taste went from good to better. A nice warm and rich red, the maltiness was very pleasing. It had less of an "abbey" flavor to it on draft, and was probably better for it. A slightly toasted malt flavor, almost of a stout, was present. It complimented the Italian food much better than the subsequent Peroni, but you have to learn these things before you know them. It was not a hoppy beer in the slightest, but a hops provided a nice rounding of the flavors, marking the boundaries of the beer. Now I really must visit the brewery.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.47/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reddish brown color, murky, homebrewesque appearance. Continues in the murky, musty, bad red ale vein in the aroma.

Malty, lacking hops, gritty red ale, but has some roastiness in it for those that it appeals to. Some sweetness. For being labeled as aggressively hopped, this one fails to deliver.

Unpleasant acidity leads to an unpleasant aftertaste, and in conjunction with the sum of its parts, made for an overall unpleasant drinking experience.

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Photo of J_Sager
2.7/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Boozecamel
3.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of rogerthegill
3.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of KrisQ
3.75/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of johnrobe
4.27/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very tasty brew, one of the best irish reds I've ever tried. I sampled several beers at the Golden Valley brewpub but this red ale is the one I came back to for more. It pours a deep reddish amber with an off-white head. The taste is quite fruity and malt (lightly toasted malt) dominated, sweet but not cloying. The hops are there for balance only. A dangerously quaffable brew.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
3.9/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Their flagship (since '93). Heavy malt bill with noble hops, according to their beerlist/factsheet.

Amber caramel color, with an offwhite/tan.

Rather mild aroma, but I get a good roasty malt and spicy hops off it.

Taste isn't all too 'big', but the flavors are there, good roasty malt and a spicy herbal earthy hoppiness. Getting a slight bit of pine sap in there too. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and it has good drinkability.

This one really pairs nicely with food, had it with a good burger on their patio and it was a delicious combination.

It's kinda forgettable, and doesn't touch red ales like BR's Red Rocket or Deschutes' Cinder Cone. It's just not unique or outstanding in any real way.

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Photo of hyprlt
2.43/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz poured into a 16oz tumbler.

A: reddish amber with no head to speak of

S: none at cool temperature. in comparison to beers of same style "ESB," there was higher concentration of aromas

T: no hop bite, more mild flavored acids. somewhat grainy flavor.

M: too thick for an ESB. the wrong parts linger on the tongue for too long. also seems like the carbonation disappears pretty quick.

O: not very good. my parents brought this back when they went to visit my brother. just about everything else from oregon has been awesome. im sure they have good beers, but I was not a fan of the tannen bomb the first time I had it. i wouldnt recommend, but maybe it tastes good on draft. I'm sure a lot of hard work went into the beer, but hard work doesn't always equal success.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is pretty subdued ..but what there is ,is fresh and mostly malty. Nice looking beer dark brown with a large light tan head..great lacing.. The flavour is pretty simple..slightly roasted malts and a mellow hop aftertaste. I actually liked that this beer was low carbonated..helkped in drinkability for me.. Reminded me rather of a simple Scottish ale.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.76/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Explodes out of bottle with five+ finger cream head that fades to a ring leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Hoppy/caramel nose. Starts sweet becomes balanced then slight bitter/hoppy finish. $1.40 for a 12oz bottle from Liquid Solutions Tigard, Or.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.28/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Good colors for the appearance, holds reddish brown all over it, lacks head, lacks clarity, even acknowledging that it is a darker beer. Aroma had that wet, humid red malt thing going, I didn't like it.

Malty, not enough hops to be balanced, mild roasting, but not what it claims to be. Acidic. Bad red malt aftertaste. Way too hot of a beer, says 5.5%, drinks like 11.5%.

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Photo of eggmaggi
4.5/5  rDev +35.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Price to abv to taste ratio is on point.

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Photo of mrkinnex
4/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of sinistersteve
3.13/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice thick 1/2 inch head of the pour which setled down to nice layer covering the entire top of the beer which laced nicely down the glass.

Deep amber red color which allowed very little light through.

Not much off the aroma.

Taste is decent...seems to be on the bittersweet side.

Overall, nothing makes this beer stand out above others. Purchase a bottle or two, but stay away from a sixer.

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Photo of jtosch
3/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of beerguy101
3.84/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A beautiful deep Red color, small white foamy head. A light bodied red ale. Lightly caramelized malts. Mild yet spicy hops. Good flavor. Smooth taste. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is malty with a very slight bitterness.

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Photo of Knuckles
2.19/5  rDev -34%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I picked up two beers from Golden Valley while I was at the Seal Rock Grocery: Tannen Bomb and Red Thistle. I had never actually heard of this brewery, and (like most BAs) I'm always interested in trying new things when I'm out and about on vacation. Sadly, these two beers made me wish I'd just grabbed two more Terminal Gravity IPAs, as these both were underwhelming and actually ended up in the drain, rather than my belly.

Appearance: By far the best feature of the beer. Not a deep red, but very solid amber. Poured with minimal head, and what was there left quickly.

Smell: Damn. The cold yeast smell I was dreading. Cold in that the malts really don't have any presence in the nose at all, and yeast as that's all I smell in the finish. No hops whatsoever.

Taste: Well, the malts that I was looking for in the nose were here in the taste, they were just unremarkable. What makes this beer unpleasant for me is the yeasty finish. It almost has a lager yeast quality to it, and I simply don't enjoy it at all.

Mouthfeel: Doesn't have the great mouth presence of a Fat Tire (as much as I may dislike the beer itself, it really is well-crafted) or a Mac & Jack's, but it's ok.

Drinkability: For me, not at all. I won't mark it down as awful, because it wasn't. I just simply didn't like this beer at all. Red is a style I'm very familiar with, and enjoy quite a bit, and this one was way below average in almost all the criteria.

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Photo of NickSMpls
3.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of chumba526
3.12/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appears medium bodied orange with an off-colored white head.

It smells of fruit (raisons and prunes and grapes), I get a strong molasses smell as well. There is also a sweet bready malt smell to the beer. The smell is comprised of sweet malt though the smell is not completely one dimensional.

It tastes initially of earthy molasses and caramel flavored malts. This is soon followed with a sweet fruity aftertaste. The aftertaste is composed of a sweet molasses flavor. It tastes pretty decent though it is a little sweet then I like most ESBs.

The carbonation is medium low the mouth-feel is quite smooth.

The drinkability is limited it is quite rich and is a bit too sweet. Though it does go down quite smoothly.

Overall a average example of the style. though it is a bit too sweet in my opinion.

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Photo of CoryR
3.63/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of shelby415
3/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of fredmugs
3/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of RedDiamond
3.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Red Thistle is Golden Valley’s flagship ale, an odd call in my opinion, for the beer’s most standout feature is its lack of standout features. Nothing daring or risqué here. Just a simple, mildly bitter ale that works well with food. It is crimson-brown with a thin head, cameo lace, and an aroma that embodies the properties of light malts, yeasts, and dishwashing detergent.

(I’m serious about the smell of dishwashing detergent. This is an isolated problem, but it absolutely must be remedied.)

Red Thistle is based on a special bitter recipe and leans just slightly to the sweet. It is a decent house standard, but beware of dusty bottles.

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Photo of jtfest
3.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very hazy, deep auburn/mahogany color with a large light caramel head that diminishes rapidly. Smelled kind of musty-oak to me. Thin but satisfying mouthfeel with a 'fizziness' to it and a taste that is somewhat grassy, malty, with a slight bitterness. It’s good and interesting, and I'd probably try it on tap -- but there are a lot of brews I would pick over this one when out buying bottles.

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Red Thistle Ale from Golden Valley Brewery and Pub
Beer rating: 3.32 out of 5 with 27 ratings