You probably know the name, you probably know the beers that are distributed pretty far and wide (Mirror Pond, Black Butte Porter, Inversion IPA, etc), but did you know that within each of the two brew pub locations (Bend and Portland) there are many more brews offered: Seasonal, a couple different ‘Series’ and a couple of Cask Conditioned Ales that aren’t bottled?
Lunchtime is a great time to go in and check these out – we had a terrific, fun server, Chad, who did his best to make sure my questions were answered. Thanks Chad! With a shared cheese and meat plate we sipped and savored, paired and picked, discussed and digested two flights of six. My cheeks and jaw were pretty tingly by the end despite two pitchers of water too.
My partner in wine, who boldly steps up to the plate when asked to taste beers, has a soft spot for hoppy NW-style IPA’s, but he prefers grapefruit & citrus hops. I, on the other hand, really enjoy pine, herbal and floral hops.
Deschutes (http://www.deschutesbrewery.com) brews with Cascade, Centennial, New Zealand Stella, German Saphir, among others. Quality malts, yeasts and occasionally something additional round out the ingredients. The big Brewery, where the distributed beers are produced, is across the Deschutes River from the ‘Old Mill District’, which now houses a multitude of chain shopping opportunities. But production at the Brew Pubs is on a smaller scale – each of the two Pubs experiments and then guinea-pig-tested brews are made at both locations to broaden the testing market. I personally don’t mind being a guinea pig in this case since the results are more frequently delicious than not.
All twelve beers had something good going for them; naturally we had some favorites though. Our top three:
Bond St Series (Year Round): Fresh Squeezed IPA (60 IBU’s, 6.4% ABV) the official description: ‘This citra hop IPA is “citrus bomb” in every way. The aroma and flavor scream citrus. Three types of hops: Nuggets for bittering and a whole lot of Citra and Mosaic hops all come together in this offering, which has become a put favorite.’ Unofficial description: lemon-lime nose and palate, easy drinking, super nice IPA.
Cask Conditioned Ales: Lemon Grass Cream Ale (34.5 IBU’s, 4.75-5.5% ABV) there is no official description available to me, so allow me to indulge: considering the hail and rain and generally non-June like conditions of the day, this is a lovely hot-day beer, like a muted creamcicle (lemon instead of orange), but not sweet due to the dry hopping with lemon grass. Considering the other Cask was a conditioned Obsidian Stout (yup, this is originally a distributed beer) and wintery in nature it was the perfect 180 to the Lemon Grass Cream Ale – and with the brat we had the stout was exquisite.
Reserve Series: Not the Stoic, Belgian Style Quad (15 IBU’s, 12% ABV) the official description: ‘This contemplatively brewed Belgian-styled quad was aged and sequestered in Rye Whiskey and Pinot Noir barrels, resulting in a complex flavor that is an entirely new rendition (with a nod to the original ‘The Stoic’ that was released in 2011).’ Unofficial description: the best fruit cake ever and when paired with Brie cheese it tastes like caramel candies! Have to love what the Pinot Noir barrels are doing to the beers we’re tasting in Oregon as the fruity quality that it brings to the beer is sublime. (Note: still haven’t had an Oregon Pinot Noir as we have been in ‘Ale Trail’ territory.)