Well, let’s be technically accurate. I could have toured the DESCHUTES BREWING facility in Bend, Oregon – I drove right by during touring hours. But then I would have had to look at kettles and tanks and lackeys mashing the wort, when all I really care about is drinking the product. You scientist/brewing types who dig that sort of thing – well, bless ya. You make my hobby/vice what it is. But no, I went to the “DESCHUTES BREWERY & PUBLIC HOUSE”, which was the original home of the brewery in 1988 and is now a restaurant and pub. It was something that was an absolute must on our vacation to Bend, and my wife and son were kind enough to accompany me as I got busy with their beer.
Had I been left to my own devices, I would have done some real damage here. In the late 90s, their BLACK BUTTE PORTER was one of my go-to beers, along with MIRROR POND PALE ALE. Now, as then, those are their flagships, but they’re still a very renown brewer among beer dorks thanks to limited, seasonal, high-alcohol masterpieces like THE ABYSS and MIRROR MIRROR. My friend Erica, who lived in Bend during her formative years, told me that the pub was the place to try all their “experimental” beers that they were considering for wider distribution – and so it was in 2010 as well. I had to hit them up for a sampler; here’s what I tried:
- SAISON DE LA BLONDE – Excellent, classic saison.7.5/10.
- HOP TRIAL STRONG ALE – No real recollection on what this was, I’m afraid, but I scored it a 7.5/10.
- TROPISH BRUIN – A fruity, Belgian brown ale that uses the tamarind fruit. I’m guessing this doesn’t make it into bottles anytime soon. 6/10.
- BLACK BUTTE XXII – Wow. This new version of their amped-up Black Butte Porter (last year’s was, naturally, BLACK BUTTE XXI) is going to whup some serious tail. I absolutely loved this rich, creamy, intense imperial porter. 9.5/10.
- BELGIAN IPA – 7/10.
- MCAYELAH SCOTCH ALE – Way too sweet, definitely an experiment that maybe shouldn’t have even made it this far. 5/10.