Owyhee Amber Ale & Stagecoach

Good Evening Drinkers,

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Gabe, how can you pair the classic 1939  John Ford film Stagecoach, set against the striking backdrop of Monument Valley, with a beer made hundreds of miles away in Oregon? Well, tonight’s theme isn’t about spatial relations. Rather, tonight is more more thematic. Beer Valley Brewing Company has an Old West feel about it’s labeling and it seemed only fitting to step back in time with this historic movie. Besides, it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want.

For those of you who haven’t seen the original 1939 Stagecoach, which stars John Wayne in a role no different than any other role he’s played, it really embodies all of the tropes of a great Westen movie. There are cowboys, Indians, chivalry, guns, racism, sexism, whisky, strong Republican values (there’s discussion of tax and deficit reduction) and, of course, surprise births. But what is truly remarkable about this film it not its classic character archetypes or distinctive cinematography, but its subtle undermining of its own genre. Women’s opinions are valued, military authority is questioned and interracial marriages are discussed (sparingly). For these and a host of reasons, this movie stands out as truly an American classic and should be required viewing for any Western fan. In similar news, it probably has one of the earliest depictions of a lovable alcoholic.

What real men look like. Yeah I'm looking you Taylor Lautner!


So what about my Stagecoach ride down into Beer Valley? Well, it was first journey with Owyhee (Way-Hee? Oh-Why-Hee?) Amber Ale and I have mixed feelings. I was initially quite excited about this beer as it poured a deep, rich amber color and smelled faintly of chocolate. I was all geared up for a rich and flavorful amber and, at first taste, I wasn’t that disappointed. Despite fairly mild carbonation, the beer had a solid taste that was just barely bitter. But my real disappointment set in as the beer went down. Rather than a rich, lasting flavor that stayed with me, I was sadly left with a watery finish. There’s not really a better way to describe it unfortunately. The flavor just sort of died and I found myself taking another sip simply to keep the taste going. The upside is that I had a 22 oz. bottle so it lasted awhile and the 5.5% ABV had some time to work it’s magic.

So maybe Owyhee (Oh-Hee? Oh-Way-Hee?) Amber Ale didn’t provide me with the rough and tumble drink I was looking for. It wasn’t a bad beer, it just fell short of what it could have been. In contrast, despite Stagecoach’s vintage racism and lack of actual driving plot (seriously, the movie is mostly about people and places, not narrative), it holds up quite well. Stagecoach is definitely one of those movies you’re supposed to see and, despite the 5.5% ABV haze, I think I understand why.


Tonight’s Tasting Notes:

Owyhee Amber Ale 
Deep amber color.
Promising, rich smell.
Lackluster, watery finish.

An American classic.
Beautiful scenery and cinematography.
Geronimo enjoys mindless violence.

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