A few years ago, while at a food and art walk in downtown Medford, I stumbled across a couple of guys pouring beer from a hastily converted cooler-cum-kegerator to a mostly disinterested small crowd standing in line for pizza. Never one to turn down a free beer tasting, I introduced myself and tasted all three of their offerings... a golden ale, a pale ale, and a porter. The guys were genuinely nice, their pours were more than liberal, and the beer was surprisingly refined considering no one had heard of them.
Fast forward to 2010, and Southern Oregon Brewing is one of the largest and most ambitious brewers of beer in Southern Oregon with one of the most impressive brewing facilities and coziest tap rooms around. Which brings me to the 22oz. bottle of their Woodshed Red Ale.
Poured into the glass, the Woodshed Red surprised on a couple levels... first and foremost, it was barely red at all! It poured with a large head that dissipated within a minute, and was more of a dark amber in color with a significant amount of effervescence. The nose was pleasant and had a sourdough odor to it.
Upon drinking it, I was immediately confronted with an aggressive hops assault with a nearly champagne-like lightness and effervescence. This quickly subsided and the subtle malt backbone gave hints of whole wheat bread and orange liqueur. As quickly as it came on, the ale had a relatively short linger and was surprisingly unbitter on the finish given the hop profile.
The SOB Woodshed Red Ale is a bold beer up front, but (wisely) leaves before overstaying it's welcome. This probably too big a beer to convert a non-beer drinker, but it is an incredibly drinkable session beer that brings big flavor without coming across as too heavy or thick.