May 15th, 2013 MARTIN CIZMAR | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Yellow Bellies

Which local mustards pass muster?

dish_mustards_3928IMAGE: Kurt Armstrong
Most shelves at the Made in Oregon store are stocked with the obvious: Jams made from native berries, our famous wines and cheeses, the blankets our pioneers traded to indigenous people before stealing their land.

Then there’s the oddly large stack of mustards.

For some reason, this state makes a lot of mustard. Maybe it’s our climate, which isn’t so dissimilar from Germany and France. Maybe it’s because Cascadian cuisine features so much sausage and cheese.

With so many to choose from, a taste-off made sense. So six WW tasters sat down with nine kinds of sausages and two boxes of Super Pretzels and set to work. Here’s what to keep in your fridge.


Monastery Mustard Deli Original (82 points)

Made by Catholic nuns in the small, heavily German town of Mt. Angel, this versatile deli-style mustard would be at home on almost anything we’d care to eat mustard on. The only downside: In Portland, it’s only available at places like Laurelhurst Florist, Sheridan Fruit Co. and the Grotto gift shop, and runs about $6 a jar.

Tasting notes:

“Perfect deli mustard—versatile, nice kick, a little pepper.”
“Classic mustard. I could stand behind their religion.”
“Fuck yeah, nuns. Divine inspiration. A gospel mustard.”


Gustav’s Dijon with White Wine (81)

Straw yellow with a super-smooth fine grain, the bottled house mustard from this local restaurant chain gets surprising bite from a blend of three vinegars.

Tasting notes:

“Spicy bite. Good with dry salami.” 
“Lots of kick for a Dijon—what would you eat this on? Sharp, tart, vinegary.” 
“Crane kick to the sinus.”


Laurelwood Tree Hugger Porter Mustard (79)

The fat grains in this dark, rich mustard using the porter from Portland’s Laurelwood Brewing look almost like sesame seeds and have the same satisfying pop as the tapioca balls in bubble tea. Three types of chili peppers provide extra kick, but it remains quite balanced.

Tasting notes:

“Delightfully smoky.”
“Yep. Great for sausages and anything off the grill.”
“Love the feel of those fat, juicy mustard grains. Great for pretzels.”


Willamette Valley Mustards Dill Mustard (75)

Almost pastel yellow in color with strong egg and pickle flavors, this oddball mustard from Pendleton—which is nowhere near the Willamette Valley—proved divisive among tasters. On the plus side, you can substitute this spread for mustard, eggs and pickles. 

Tasting notes:

“Love that dill flavor. So rich and supple.”
“Good flavor, nuanced effect on the breadiness.”
“Tastes like really good salad dressing.”


Laurelwood Workhorse IPA Chipotle and Apricot Mustard (72)

Sweet, and a little bitter, this orange-yellow mustard looks like pureed apricots and tastes about the same. 

Tasting notes:

“Fucking sweet. As in baby food.”
“I’d put it on a sandwich—by itself.”
“Very good versatile spread. Even if no discernible IPA quality.


Beaver Sweet Hot Mustard (70)

This grocery-store staple from Beaverton advertises itself as “rich with honey.” It’s dark and syrupy, almost the same color as natural peanut butter in the bottle, but the intense burn is what sticks with you. There’s more sugar than mustard seed, but the seeds are on the spicy side.

Tasting notes:

“Very, very hot. Not sweet. Eyes watering. Ouch. Rich with honey, my ass.”
“A milder kick than Gustav’s, but I prefer the full-on punch.”
“First add mayo, then spread thinly so you don’t blow your sinuses out.”


Portland Ketchup Company Organic Yellow Mustard (69)

If regular yellow French’s mustard was made with apple-cider vinegar, it would be indistinguishable from this. Locavores who want a standard yellow mustard for their Ball Park Franks should look no further.

Tasting notes:

“Regular hot-dog mustard for committed locavores.”
“Kicks French’s to the curb.”
“Super boring.”


Inglehoffer Stone Ground Mustard (67)

This “full-strength” mustard is actually an imprint of Beaverton Foods, which makes Beaver mustard. It features big, fat grains and would be right at home on a big bratwurst.

Tasting notes:

“Lotsa kick.”
“Classic stone ground.”


Monastery Mustard Apricot Ginger (66)

The Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel actually make about 10 different styles of mustard. This one is pale and eggy.

Tasting notes:

“Dull.”
“Delicately charming.”


Willamette Valley Mustards Sweet & Hot Stone Ground Mustard (66)

Thoroughly unremarkable, this small $1.75 jar is perfect for those who just want to keep a jar in the fridge.

Tasting notes:

“Almost relish.”
“Pretentious. Doesn’t pass as mustard.”
“Lacks anything exciting.”


City of Roses Pinot Gris Creamy Mustard (64)

Eggs are the first ingredient in this sweet, farm-y spread, which looks and tastes a lot like mayonnaise.

Tasting notes:

“Tastes like white wine, all right. Very light and fruity.”
“Creamy, novel, flavorful, complementary condiment.”
“Like creamed deviled eggs.”


Inglehoffer Horseradish Mustard (64)

A lot like the regular Inglehoffer deli mustard, but with a little horseradish.

Tasting notes:

“Not much kick for horseradish—nice flavor but a little soft.”
“Balanced, smooth and pleasant.”
“Good texture, bland taste.”


Beaver Dijon Garlic Mustard (61)

This offering from Beaver seemed more like garlic spread than mustard.

Tasting notes:

“Pickle juice and herbs. Some caper flavor in the garlic?”
“Pickled garlic. Period.”
“Spreadable garlic—beats the fuck out of your tongue.”


Fatdog Mustard (51)

Sweet, eggy and onion-y, this jar of thin gray-yellow mustard costs $8.50 for a 9-ounce jar, proving you don’t always get what you pay for.

Tasting notes:

“Looks like Totino’s cheese spread that’s gone bad. Too sweet. Kool-Aid sweet.” 

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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