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Deschutes Experimental Cascade Ale

September 14, 2011

I know I’ve said it many times over but I love going to the Portland Deschutes Pub because they always have something on tap that I haven’ t tried.  Case in point this “Experimental” Cascade Ale. The Cascade is an every day brew for Deschutes so for this one it was dry hopped a bit which upped the slight bitterness it normally has. This is a golden ale and is definitely sessionable at 4.5%. Golden in color with a slight chill haze and a nice white fluffy head this beer was delicious in a satisfying “that hit the spot” kind of way. Slightly malty with a little citrus this is a back porch mow the lawn type of beer. Great to bring to a picnic and will go over well with everyone in attendance.Deschutes Experimental Cascade Ale

Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA

August 30, 2011

Deschutes Chain Breaker White IPAThis is a new style(at least to me) that seems to be popping up in the Northwest. A White IPA. It’s the one in the snifter on the left. My wife loves it and she is particular about her beer(aren’t we all?)

Essentially a hefeweizen bred with a toned down IPA. It has some interesting qualities, some spices, coriander, slightly peppery, and the silky body of a hef. Slightly cloudy and a pale golden color. A little hint of hoppiness on the nose.  The head lasts for days along with the aroma which is inviting.

This beer is truth in advertising as it tastes exactly as billed. If a hefeweizen and an easy drinking IPA had a baby, this would be it.

Deschutes is actually producing two versions of this now, an A and a B. Deal alert if you are in the Portland pub area you can get 2 snifters for 5$ and try both with FULL pours. I didn’t taste a HUGE difference between the two and even then it could have been a mind trick. Deschutes has been known to SAY there is something different when there really isn’t. Case in point I am part of their tasting review club and they gave us two SUPPOSEDLY different six packs of the Mirror Pond Pale Ale and asked us to rate which one we liked better. I could have sworn there was something off with the second one I tried but they said they were from the exact same tank. Palate fail

I have had this one before and would definitely go back for it. Especially since D will follow me to Deschutes if it is on tap so I can get tastes of Chainbreaker AND something new I haven’t had. Big plus.

Coronado Brewing Company Idiot IPA

August 22, 2011

Coronado Idiot IPAI love my imperials. I’m all for subtleties but sometimes you just need to be smacked with flavor. In the case of double or imperial IPA’s, depending on who’s labeling it, I love the bigger body that’s inherent with a bigger grain bill.

This double clocked in at 8.5% ABV. Slightly cloudy and a nice copper orange color with a decent head. Malty, bready, tropical fruits on the nose rather than a big pinecone grenade I knew this wasn’t going to be a an IBU monster.

This was a more malt forward double reminiscent of an English style IPA rather than the “San Diego” style it’s brewer purports it to be. This wasn’t a bad thing but it just wasn’t truth in advertising. I enjoyed this one for what it was, refreshing, non tastebud taxing, and a nice beer.

Hop Valley Alpha Centauri Binary Imperial IPA

August 12, 2011

As luck would have it this was the very first beer I had at The Oregon Brewfest. Yes, I know it’s a HUGE ipa at over 100 IBU’s and I was risking burning my tastebuds for the multitudes ofHop Valley Logo beers that were to come but I didn’t care. This was my first brewfest and I was going to go big or go home. This is a smack you in the face ipa no doubt about it. Even the 1/4 pour I got for my one wooden token had no qualms about giving off an aroma of what I knew was going to be a hop bomb. Pine and tropical fruit, mango, and tree resin. That first taste was pure delicious double ipa flavor. Peering down into my mug a dark golden hazy cloudy brew stared back at me. This had the body that I love, thick and viscous. The carbonation was spot on, not too much not too little.  I can only compare this to my all time favorite IPA Deschutes’ Hop Henge because Alpha Centauri blew everyone else out of the water. I would love to taste Hop Henge and Binaryside by side in a grudge match because I’m not sure I know who will come out on top. I started the day off with this beer and I ended it with a full mug. 4 wooden tokens, totally worth it.

Brewfest Mug and Wooden Token

Brewfest Mug and Wooden Token

Widmer’s Gasthaus

August 8, 2011

Full disclosure here, one of my best friends works for Widmer but I pride myself on my ability to stay impartial.

The Taps at Widmer Gasthaus

My only gripe with Widmer is that their Germanish Gasthaus is across the river from me because it is a tight race for best food(so far) at a pub. You don’t come for salad(they have it) though, this is  brats, schnitzel, beer cheese soup, and bourbon bock bacon burgers. It’s a good thing they have the substantial food because they have some substantial beers to go with it, and many of them you can’t get in the stores, yet.

I love it when pubs offer beers on tap that aren’t available in the store. Right now Widmer has several like their Timbrrrr, a raspberry saison, a collaboration Belgian golden and more. The prices are great and they are happy to pour tasters till you find the one you are happy with. D can’t wait until the winter time when they bring out their Brrr, a winter warmer, and I am partial to their Brrbon which is bourbon barrel aged and definitely robust.

Bourbon Barrel Aged at Widmer

I always characterize Widmer beers as “clean.” There’s no grainy aftertaste on anything I’ve ever had. Some of the highlights are definitely their “Pitchblack” a black IPA, or Cascadian Dark Ale if you are from Oregon. Hands down the best example of the style I have had. Lately my go to traditional IPA has also been their x-114. IPA’s are always a challenge to pair with food but it’s not too bitter but has got great flavor without wiping out your tastebuds. I could go on about some of the many beers I’ve had but I’ll hold back for some individual review posts.

Widmer Gasthaus Food

If you want some great food with some great beer head to the Eastside Gasthaus.

Deschutes The Dissident

August 3, 2011

Deschutes has a stable of beers that are pretty special. They call them their Reserve series. I’ve reviewed The Abyss their imperial stout, but they also have Mirror Mirror a barley wine,I’ve had Jubel a strong ale, Black Butte a porter, and The Stoic a Belgian quad that is brand new and hasn’t been released yet.

The Dissident is a sour brown Deschutes Brewing The Dissidentor Oud Bruin that has been brewed with cherries for 2010. That’s a distinction for this review, this beer has been layed down for nearly a year. I had it on tap when it was released in their Bend pub so I have a good reference point of what it tasted like fresh out of the barrel. The difference was quite remarkable and definitely for the better. I had the same experience with year old Abyss. The complexity of the beer increases 10 fold and becomes much more enjoyable.

The Dissident is the first and only beer Deschutes has ever brewed with the funk making yeast Brettanomyces. Fermented in isolation, and aged for a full 18 months, partly in pinot and cabernet barrels the beer is, as Deschutes says, “Coddled, costly, and worth it.”

There was little to no head on this beer. As you can see this picture was taken seconds after the pour, and nada. Color was a nice amber.

The nose was slightly sour barnyardy, major cherry, and some caramel sugars. This beer was VERY complex with the nose changing as it warmed to funky funky barnyard that still managed to be endearing somehow.

Carbonation was low,  cherries, orange zest with some pith thrown in. Body was light to medium. The evolution of this beer was really nice as it warmed. I think the mark of a good beer is that as it warms you want to keep drinking it because you want to find out what it’s going to taste like 5 minutes later.

I really enjoyed drinking this but it’s definitely (like all sours) not one that I would want to drink the whole thing by myself. It’s a sharing beer for a special occasion where you can sit around and contemplate the nuances of it like a true beer geek.


Deschutes Brewery in Portland

July 28, 2011

I grew up visiting the flagship Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. I’ve had every beer that they brew regularly and I’ve posted on a lot of them, including Hop Henge, my favorite IPA and a top 5 all time beer, The Abyss an imperial stout, and Twilight their seasonal Summer ale. I am always looking for new things, different styles, different takes on old concepts so when we moved to Portland less than 10 blocks from the Deschutes Portland outpost I was excited to find out that they have a LOT more taps and a LOT more unique beers than Bend does.

Check out those taps!

Taps

More taps here than in the flagship in Bend.

They also have some  impressive toilets. I mean, normally I’m not impressed by that sort of thing but these are HUGE!!

Giant Urinals

These are absolutely HUGE!

The food is the same from place to place but the beer list in Portland DEFinitely outshines Bend. I know that they recently bought the space next door so that they can expand so hopefully they will be offering the same variety that Portland does. I can get the best pretzels at both, but keeping me happy with multiple styles is only a Portland thing right now.

Deschutes pretzels

These are the best TRADITIONAL Pretzels I've had