Sticking close to the home front with this next review, I am slowly rounding out all the local breweries near me. Flat Tail Brewing, a college town’s ideal of a brewpub, has been crafting interesting and sneakily good beers in downtown Corvallis since 2010. They have grown from a college themed, small 6 bbl operation to a Great American Beer Fest medal winning brewery with lots of room to grow further. So, sit back, grab a beer, and read on to learn more about this dam interesting craft beer joint.
- Beer – As I mentioned above, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the quality and variety of beers on tap every time I stop in. The fundamentals behind the beer are strong, as is the desire to keep things new and exciting with a constantly rotating tap list. IPAs abound throughout their menu, but you can also find other options, be they dark, light, or funky. Even better, there are always one or two experimental beers on tap that really bend the mind and the palate. I think everyone will find a beer they like here and will be equally impressed by the quality. Score: 4/5
- Brewery – You would be forgiven for mistaking this place as a college town sports bar at first glance. The outside is an unassuming red-orange brick with about a dozen tables scattered around their patio. The indoor seating encompasses most of the large, slightly shabby room, with a moderate sized bar at one end. The décor is (obviously) OSU themed with signed posters, pictures, and banners draped over most of the walls, with a decidedly orange and black color palette to boot. As with the beer, the food belies the appearance of the taproom. The menu is mostly pub-style food, such as burgers and wraps, but the portions are large, and the flavor is great. I strongly recommend the fried pickles (frickles) if you are looking for an appetizer. Expect to spend about $30-40 for dinner and drinks for two people, on par with most of the other breweries around here, and they are open from lunch until late every day, providing plenty of flexibility for your visit. Score: 3/5
- Ambiance and Entertainment – Televisions abound at Flat Tail, which is no surprise considering how busy this place becomes on the various game days. Aside from that, they host a weekly trivia night, which is one of my favorite things to do in a bar. Add in a few tasting events, beer releases, and fundraisers and there is almost always something going on here. The one exception is live music, which I haven’t seen any indication they host, though the place isn’t really set up for it either. Score: 3/5
- Location – Right in the heart of downtown Corvallis on the river walk, they picked a great spot to open a brewery. With dozens of shops, restaurants, and bars within an easy walk, there is always something to do if you don’t spend all night at the brewery. The area is very bike and pedestrian friendly, which is good as parking can be a bit of a pain some days and is mostly all street parking. Be sure to check out the river walk while you are there, it is a lovely stroll in the evenings. Score: 4/5
- Customer Service – This is the only category where I have not been as impressed. After visiting a half dozen times, I’ve yet to have an experience that didn’t leave me a little disappointed in this category. While I have usually been seated quickly, it invariably takes at least 10-15 minutes before being acknowledged and having drink orders taken. After that the service is usually decent, with the food and beer coming out fast enough. I understand that several of these times I have come on games nights (the most recent being a Portland Trailblazers playoff game) that are busy, but those can and should be planned for with enough staff. It’s not enough to put me off from coming back in the future, but it also makes me less keen to visit with any regularity. Score: 2/5
Total Score: 16/25
Favorite Beer: Comrade Pulp – 7.8% IPA
Final Thoughts: A solid brewery whose beer and food quality belies a sports bar feel. Suboptimal customer service is the only thing holding them back from a higher score, though I still feel they are worth visiting if you are in the area, or at least buying their beer if you come across it in the store.