As a frequent visitor to Bend, Oregon, I’ve been a long-time frequenter of Bend Brewing Company. I’ve always enjoyed the restaurant’s amazing food and family-friendly-ness and of course, their beers have always been amongst Central Oregon’s best.
Late in 2015, BBC announced a changed in ownership that made fans hope for new developments to ensure BBC’s future at the forefront of the brewing community here. As Bend’s 2nd oldest brewery (just behind Deschutes), BBC is an important fixture downtown. They have a very limited upstairs brewing production floor that limits their growth as craft beer has exploded in the last 10 years.
It didn’t take long for new owners Patrick and Leslie Deenihan to get to work. In the spring of 2016, construction began on a street-front bar/serving area renovation. The new space, pictured below, features 4 taps, new seating areas, and an opening door that invites you in for a pint and a meal.
On Friday, BBC announced that the new owners purchased the vacant land just south of the brewery. This exciting news means that BBC will expand southward, creating more jobs for downtown Bend and expanding one of this beer fan’s favorite eateries.
In the Bend Bulletin article regarding the bold move, Patrick Deenihan said the current plans involve a large outdoor patio that’s “uniquely Bend”. Considering the property has a riverfront view, facing Mirror Pond, this is a fantastic move.
Also, in the article, the co-owners noted that they’re on the hunt somewhere in Bend for space to expand their brewing capacity. This would take brewing (at least, in part) outside of their current upstairs spot and move it, aptly, to a more suitable location. As downtown Bend real estate is pricey and limited, moving production to a different location only makes sense.
Kudos to Patrick and Leslie for the bold move, we’re excited to see where the next year takes Bend Brewing Company!
Editor’s note: This is the fourteenth in the Beer Advent Calendar 2015 series. Likewise, I’m going to be posting a beer review each day. Some will be Christmas or Winter ales and other selections will be beers I’ve been wanting to review for some time.
For today’s beer review, let’s travel to Bend, Oregon and check out Obsidian Stout from Deschutes Brewing. I’m a huge fan of dark beers, which is why I love this time of year where they’re back ‘in style’. I use quotes because in my opinion, dark ales are always in style.
Obsidian Stout is available year round from Deschutes and comes in at 6.3% ABV and a pretty hefty 55 IBUs.
How does it taste?
This beer pours as black as night, as a stout should. Obsidian gives off a smell of roasted malt, dark roasted coffee and a bit of molasses. It’s a treat to the nose.
When you sip it, you sense a slight sweet start and then the roasted toffee taste comes out followed by an caramel aftertaste.
This beer looks thick, feeling and maybe puts some people off. But don’t let this stout deter you – it’s super drinkable and ultimately satisfying. This beer pulls off being flavorful and robust, but incredibly smooth and soothing at the same time.
Should I buy it?
Yes. Get the 6-pack. You won’t be sorry, so long as you like dark beer.
Editor’s note: This is the tenth in the Beer Advent Calendar 2015 series. Likewise, I’m going to be posting a beer review each day. Some will be Christmas or Winter ales and other selections will be beers I’ve been wanting to review for some time.
Deschutes River Ale, from Deschutes Brewing, is a session ale, which is an easy drinking brewing style.
According to Beeradvocate, their definition is:
Any beer that contains no higher than 5 percent ABV, featuring a balance between malt and hop characters (ingredients) and, typically, a clean finish – a combination of which creates a beer with high drinkability. The purpose of a session beer is to allow a beer drinker to have multiple beers, within a reasonable time period or session, without overwhelming the senses or reaching inappropriate levels of intoxication.
From my experience, session ales are super flavorful and not as strong in alcohol. One of my favorites is Full Sail’s Session Black IPA.
What does it taste like?
This particular beer, Deschutes River Ale, pours golden and clear. the aroma isn’t overpowering but is complex and pleasing with hints of orange, lemon and herbal essences. The brew tastes of slightly toasted malt with hints if citrus, orangey hops. There’s hardly any bitterness, but someone who’s used to Coors Light would notice it.
Deschutes River Ale is floral and a little bit fruity but it has enough malty influence that makes for a balanced, good drinking ale.
Should I buy it?
As a beer lover, I’d actually recommend Session Ale from Full Sail as a first session ale. But for mainstream beer drinkers who are new to craft beer, Deschutes River Ale is a perfect entry point.
Editor’s note: This is the eighth in the Beer Advent Calendar 2015 series. Likewise, I’m going to be posting a beer review each day. Some will be Christmas or Winter ales and other selections will be beers I’ve been wanting to review for some time.
Today we’re looking at Mirror Pond Pale Ale, perhaps the most well known beer from Deschutes Brewing other than Black Butte Porter.
Named after Mirror Pond that winds through downtown Bend, Oregon, this pale ale is popular because it’s easy drinking and smooth. Mirror Pond Pale Ale is available widely in 6 packs of 12 oz bottles, 22 oz bombers and on draft.
What does it taste like?
Mirror Pond Pale Ale combines four different malts and Cascade hops to give it a unique taste. This beer pours a clear golden color that leaves little to no lacing on the glass.
When you first taste Mirror Pond, your tongue senses the gentle hoppy-ness first, which can be described as more floral than citrus. There’s a hint of pine on the palette to accompany the caramel aroma.
When I first started drinking Mirror Pond Pale Ale, I remember it being more hoppy. I estimate that Deschutes Brewing has toned down the hops to maximize this beer’s widespread appeal.
Should I buy it?
Yes. If you like a smooth drinking mildly hoppy pale ale that is plain tasting and goes down easy. If you want a more interestingly tasting beer with amped bitterness or malt complexity, then skip Mirror Pond Pale Ale.
Editor’s note: This is the sixth in the Beer Advent Calendar 2015 series. Likewise, I’m going to be posting a beer review each day. Some will be Christmas or Winter ales and other selections will be beers I’ve been wanting to review for some time.
For today’s Advent ale review, we’re heading back to Bend, Oregon to try out Pinedrops IPA. Let me preface this review with the fact that I’ve had many, many IPAs over the years. I’m pretty picky when it comes to IPA and it takes a notable taste to make me excited.
With that, let me introduce you to Pinedrops IPA. It’s pretty darn special because of how it’s created.
How does it taste?
In three words: pretty damn good.
Deschutes Pinedrops IPA pours a surprisingly clear golden color with a very light head on the top. To your nose, you smell the pine along with spruce with a hint of grass.
This beer is as much a treat to your nose as it is to your tongue. It’s brimming with atmosphere and flavor. It tastes a little dry at first. There’s no hoppy punch-you-in-the-face action going on with this IPA. Its strength is its subtle flavor and experience. There’s a slight grapefruit taste followed by a unique pine aftertaste.
With the mix of tree like freshness including pine, spruce and herbal hops that remain in your palette, the formula is complete with the light sweet and graham cracker tastes of the brew. What remains is a dry and crisp hoppy lingering taste on your tongue.
This beer is complex yet simple. It doesn’t try hard…but it’s incredibly tasty.
Should I buy it?
OMG YES. It’s worth the extra money you’ll pay for this limited edition ale. Get it, share it and let me know what you think of it!!!
Editor’s note: This is the second in my Beer Advent Calendar 2015 series. Likewise, I’m going to be posting a beer review each day. Some will be Christmas or Winter ales and other selections will be beers I’ve been wanting to try for some time.
Each year, Deschutes Brewing in Bend, Oregon brings us Jubelale, a festive holiday beer that is available from October through January. Like Wassail from Full Sail, Jubelale pours a dark mahogany color.
One thing I love about Jubelale, from year to year, is the flavor changes slightly as Deschutes tweaks the recipe.
Another cool factor of Jubelale is the label art. Each year, Deschutes selects a local Bend artist and features their art on the branding.
From Deschutes’ website:
..in 1995, we began commissioning local artists to create a piece of art for us that appears each year on the beer’s packaging. Our team looks at several portfolios throughout the year and ultimately chooses an artist that has a unique and interesting style. We don’t really give any guidelines other than it must be different and distinct, festive and wintery, and will look brilliant on a label.
How does it taste?
Jubelale pours dark brown and reddish in color. Te brew leaves a thick tan head because of it’s moderate to heavy carbonation.
When the ale hits your tongue, you taste toffee, a little bit of cherry and light fruit notes. The end of the sip is where the mild hoppy flavor takes hold for a refreshing finish.
This strong ale has a few different flavors going on, but it’s not overly complex and Deschutes is careful to make this beer to seem like it’s trying too hard. Each component of the flavor profile compliments the other.
To your nose, Jubelale is moderately spicy as you notice the nutmeg, cinnamon, with a bit of citrus, reminiscent of an orange peel.
Should you buy it?
Without a doubt. Buy this beer. Get a six-pack and share with family and friends.
In this edition of fresh hop ale news, let’s take a look at the king of fresh hop pale ales – Fresh Hop Pale Ale from Deschutes Brewing.
For those unaware, Hop Trip ale is brewed in Bend, Oregon – after the crew comes to Salem, Oregon and handpicks the choice hops they want. Then, the hops are trucked in a Uhaul back to Bend and boiled immediately. The result is a succulent pale ale with a mild taste and bold fresh hop taste- sans the bitterness of a traditionally ‘hoppy’ ale.
I enjoyed Hop Trip in the best way possible – directly from the keg.
Upon your first pour, you’ll see how clear the pale ale is, with hardly any lacing on the glass. Your nose immediately picks up on the citrusy, floral hops. When you sip the beer you notice a sweet almost fruity-flavor that are complimented by pale malts. This beer isn’t overly-carbonated and it’s very easy-drinking.
Honestly, after Chasin’ Freshies, I was hoping for more of a punchy hop taste. However, Hop Trip is a nicer, lighter version that will likely have a broad appeal. For example, my wife, who doesn’t like very bitter beers, thought Hop Trip was just right.
What are your thoughts on Hop Trip this year? It’s available from now until December, according to Deschutes Brewery.