Aussies have recently been blessed by a flood of US beers hitting our shores, most of which have not (officially) been seen down under before. One of the new breweries sending their wares across the ocean is Deschutes from Bend, Oregon. I was pretty excited about this, because I knew that there were a few Deschutes beers in my book. So when I stumbled upon them on a shelf at my favourite bottle shop, I did what any good beer geek would do – let out a scream, slapped myself in the face, and grabbed a bottle of every one they had!
When I got home I opened up the book to confirm just how many of these great beers were in there. And wouldn’t you know it – not a single one was on the list! This meant I didn’t really need to write anything about them at all…but fuck it, I have to post something this week! So here are some random drinking notes from my hot sunny Saturday with Deschutes. Enjoy!
Deschutes River Ale
Fresh hop aroma from the start, followed by a little honey malt all wrapped in a soft and smooth body, completed by a decent bitterness for a beer of only 4%. The label that the importer has to put on the bottle actually says “River Ale (USA) – Great BBQ Beer!” and that comment is spot on! Put this in the same category as Pacific Ale and MG Summer Ale as a great summer session ale. Perfect way to start my Deschutes journey…
Mirror Pond Pale Ale
This beer seems to be backwards?! I swear I’m getting the bitterness at the start, with the tropical flavours chiming in towards the end – lychee and peach, fresh coconut, and some kind of unidentifiable lolly from my childhood, The bitterness is reminiscent of an ESB, giving it a tinge of british-ness, but the hops are defs American. Hmmm…the label says that it’s “aromatically complex, multi layered, and unmistakably honest” I definitely agree with the first two points…but I’m not sure how a beer could be dishonest?!
Now I’m in flavour country! Super zesty aroma as the bottle pops open. The taste is quite sweet, with melon and that same unidentifiable candy from my childhood, which kicks into a big lasting bitterness that tickles the sides of my tongue. It also has the same smooooth body that seems to be a characteristic linking all these Deschutes brews.
Chainbreaker White IPA
This is a White IPA. I’m not sure what a white IPA is, but it sounds like something I should enjoy. According to the label it has wheat, hops and Belgian yeast – yep, definitely right up my alley. The first aroma is Belgian wit fo’ sho’; cloves and citrus which is beefed up by the hops. There’s also some mango in there, but other than that there’s not as much showing from the hops as I was expecting. It’s a delicate balancing act, with the hops accentuating the flavours that make a witbier great without going overboard. So it’s definitely got the “White” part right, I just don’t know about the IPA part. It’s zesty and tasty for sure, great for a hot day – just don’t be expecting the typical IPA hoppiness like I was (I know, I’m just so hard to please)
These beers were good, even if there was nothing here that really challenged me. Which I’m cool with; after all, these are the core range of beers from Deschutes, not designed to be mind-blowing-palate-melting-hoppy-malt-bombs-aged-in-barrels-sprinkled-with-fairy-magic. But now that I’ve tasted some of the core range, bring on the Hop Henge/Chasin’ Freshies/The Abyss/The Dissident……..