Archive for the 'Deschutes' category
The latest trend/fad in beer styles is the White IPA (soon to be renamed by the Pacific Northwest as Cascadian White Ale) with Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA, Samuel Adams’ Whitewater IPA, Saranac’s White IPA, Anchorage’s Galaxy White IPA, Harpoon’s White IPA, and even Shock Top Wheat IPA (does that mean the style has already “jumped the shark”?) all being announced or released recently. I can understand why brewers are hopping on the White IPA train because it seems like a sales juggernaut to combine IPA (which is the largest selling single style in the US) with a White Ale (Witbier) (with Blue Moon producing upwards of two million barrels of the stuff a year* and their dollar sales increasing even faster than craft beer’s), and I am surprised it has not happened sooner. Commercially the White IPA combination only came about recently with a collaboration between Boulevard Brewing and Deschutes (this statement will probably be proved wrong by either a former employee of the The Vermont Pub & Brewery or Ron Pattinson), when they brewed their aptly named White IPA. Now I have in my stash said beer (the Boulevard Brewing version of the recipe), and decided to crack the beer open and find out what this White IPA style is all about.
“Enticing” was the first word in my head, when I caught the first whiffs of aroma, orange and fruit, emanating from the bottle. Poured into a tulip glass the golden-colored beer produced a rocky white head with a good inch and half depth that lasted four to five minutes, and did not disappear until half the glass was consumed. As the head’s bubbles burst, aromas of orange, green apple, herbs and yeasty tang ensconced in my nose. My first sips were full of coriander, and sage, which I did not find overly enjoyable, and a sour yeast finish. With time however, the beer’s orange and fruit flavor, initially noticed in the nose, made a more pronounced showing, though never truly overcoming the initial herb flavors. The sour was also counter balanced by a light bitter note. The beer throughout the session had a dry, crisp, and refreshing finish.
Now my foray with the White IPA was not on the best of terms. As I was drinking the beer I happen to notice on the label a “best by” date (in my opinion “best by” dates should be found more often on craft beer) of 02-2012, so my beer was nearing the end of its “life”. With that in mind, and my belief a fresher White IPA would display a stronger IPA characteristic that would counter balance the herbal notes of the White Ale, I am still on the fence with the White IPA style. Adding white ale’s herbal characteristics to the fruity chracteristics of the IPA style did not do anything for me. I am not a fan of herbal beer, and this did not help change that. I did however enjoy the sour-bitter combination the yeast imparted, and the dry, crisp, refreshing finish of the beer, so I am not against trying the White IPA style again. And with so many White IPAs coming out in the ensuing months, it looks like I will have plenty of opportunities to decide which side of the White IPA fence I am on.
*Guesstimate based on this post.
Photo Credit: walknboston, Creative Commons License
photo credit: walknboston
My wife traveled out to Oregon on business last November and brought back some beers from Deschutes Brewery. Deschutes does not distribute in MA, so it is nice to be able to try their wares out. I find that recently I am enjoying the Porter style more and more (I had McNeill’s Pullman Porter a few nights back and was quite pleased with it), so now seems like a good time to crack the Deschutes Black Butte Porter open.
The beer is a rich black with a tan head. The head lasts as long as it took me to write the introductory sentences of this post (a few minutes), and recedes to a full thin coating of the beer. The aroma is of chocolate, with a nice subtle sour twang finish. The beer runs clean and light through the mouth, with an enjoyable carbonation tingle throughout. Sweet chocolate is the predominant taste for most of the ride, though the chocolate becomes delicately roasted in the finish. Along with the roasted chocolate there is a pleasant and refreshing sour note in the taste’s finish, just as in the aroma.
A good, very drinkable beer that I would frequently pick up in six pack form if it was distributed in MA.
My wife recently went on a business trip out to Oregon. I asked her if she could pick me up some Deschutes Brewery beers, since I have heard good things about them. Though she had to walk the complete Portland International Airport in search of them, she was able to procure six different bottles of Deschutes beer. Is she not the best?
I thought I would tackle Deschutes’ IPA first. When trying a new brewery, I go for the IPA if available. I feel I have a pretty good grasp of the IPA ‘style’, so I know what I will be getting. I also happen to love hops, so that helps in the decision process.
To start things off a finger of off-white head topped the beer’s orange-amber body. This head dissipated to a thin layer after a few minutes, leaving some very nice lacing on the walls of the pint glass. To round off the visual display, hovering effortlessly inside the beer were very small pieces of debris.
The nose of the beer was straight pine hops. I sniffed for a while, and all I noticed were hops. This was a little disconcerting, because with IPAs I enjoy a balance of flavoring to them. Save the straight hops for the IIPAs, thanks.
I had little to fear however. The beer started with a non-surprising pine and hops character, but this was met with a caramel and bread dough character. This malt presence provided a nice chewyness to the beer, leading to a medium feel in the mouth. The beer finished with a crisp, bitter snap, readying the mouth for another sip.
I have not had an IPA in a few weeks, and this one was much needed. Two words that kept popping into my head while drinking this beer were quality and balance. The hops and bitterness were great, but with the muscle and flavor of the malt, the hops did not take over the beer. The only fault I could find with this beer… I can not get it on local retailer’s shelves.
This is a little gem that I brought back with me from lovely Seattle. You see a lot of Deschutes brews over there, and it’s a good thing, because they make some pretty mean brews. Since I’m quite excited about the holiday beers coming around, I’m very glad to give this one a try.
The Jubelale pours a deep purplish brown with an aroma full of sweet spice and dark fruits. There are certain hints of dark cherry in the aroma, as well as various holiday spice and a touch of licorice (just a touch). In the mouth, this beer has a great, full flavor. The first flavor is slightly grapelike on the tip of the tongue. On through the mouth, some noticeable bitterness springs up that is both hoppy and reminiscent of horehound. Finally, there is a nice base of sweet malt that is intertwined with lots of holiday spice to give this a continually interesting ride all the way through the mouth to the back of the throat, leaving you with a sweet and rooty aftertaste that sticks to the roof of the mouth and plays its way up into your nose. All in all, a great beer, and one more that I can complement Deschutes on.
You may have noticed a recent trend towards ‘fresh hop’ or ‘wet hop’ ales. I wouldn’t say it’s a huge trend, but I’ve noticed a number of breweries trying it out. The process to create one of these brews involves the brewery getting started brewing the beer while a cohort simultaneously rushes to and from the hop farm in a refrigerated truck full of ‘just-picked’ hops so that the beer can be created with the freshest possible hops. In theory, this will impart hop flavor of superior freshness. Honestly, I’ve had a couple of these, and I haven’t been blown away by any of them. Most of them have been good, admittedly, but none of them have lived up to the cost and effort to create the beer, in my opinion. But, Deschutes makes some great stuff, so I’m anxious to try their take.
The Hop Trip pours a deep golden that is unexpectedly clear. It is obviously well filtered and glistens under the light with a very thin but persistent head. The aroma of this beer is quite nice, while not especially pungent. There is a fresh floral aroma that contains an odd hint of pine resin that gives it an extra, but subdued, bite. In the mouth, this beer is hoppy with a substantial malt backbone. The hops don’t taste exceedingly fresh, but they are well defined and not harsh at all. The hop flavor is floral, but also lightly sweet, and I’m still detecting a slight bit of the pine-y hint that I mentioned earlier. Underneath all of this is a decent malt sweetness that balances this out into a beer with a full mouthfeel that really coats the tongue and pleases on many levels. The aftertaste carries bits of all these flavors, but is predominantly a hop bitterness that sticks in the back of the mouth with a light syrupy-ness. Again, for a fresh hop ale, I don’t really feel the effects of these ultra fresh hops. Rather, it just tastes like a well made beer that is balanced and flavorful. Who knows if the fresh hops really contribute much to this, but you gotta love a good beer either way. Furthermore, there’s a nice label on this big bottle that is of thick cardstock and has a charming illustration of an old flat-bed pick up full of my favorite greenery (I’m talking about hops). Recommended, regardless of any gimmick that may come along with it…