Bend Oregon is a great city for craft beer lovers. Sure, there are plenty of great breweries right here in Seattle but that doesn’t mean we can’t also appreciate the well crafted libations coming from other great breweries throughout the Northwest and across the nation. There are lots of breweries in Bend who are doing it right and one of the oldest and most successful breweries to come out of Bend is Deschutes Brewery.
When I think Deschutes there are plenty of great beers that come to mind. The Abyss and its variants are, of course, always a popular choice as is their well known Black Butte Porter (now at number XXVIII). I’ve enjoyed a great number of Deschutes’ beers over the years including: Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Red Chair Northwest Pale (find this one on Nitro, if you can), Fresh Squeezed IPA, The Dissident and many, many more.
Deschutes Brewery out of Bend and Portland Oregon puts out a wide variety of Ales. Their most recognizable beers include Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale, Jubelale and, of course, their Black Butte Porter – both the regular and the annually-released, barrel-aged version.
The barrel-aged version of Black Butte is a bit different each year and can include additions like chilies, cranberries, orange peel, figs, vanilla beans or any number of other special ingredients. I particularly enjoyed this year’s release of Black Butte XXVIII. It had smooth well-blended flavors of vanilla and cocoa with just a touch of smoke, giving you a feel for the barrel the beer spent 12 months maturing in.
Now Deschutes has teamed up with Bendistillery, the same distillery that created the Crater Lake line of spirits, to bring to us a project 20 years in the making: Black Butte Whiskey. Double distilled from the wash of Black Butte Porter, it sort of brings things full circle.
We’re fortunate here in the Northwest to have so many great craft beer events. With so many breweries and craft beer bars (not to mention Seattle Beer Week and the plethora of other craft beer festivals that take place throughout the year), the number of events happening each week and indeed almost every day is just amazing. It’s gotten to the point where you, quite literally, have to pick and choose because, sometimes, two (or more) events are happening at the same time on opposite ends of town.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining by any stretch of the imagination. As I said, we’re fortunate to have so many great events to choose from around here, and one place in particular that does a great job of hosting craft beer events is Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle (which also just won Pub Of The Year (WA) from Northwest Brewing News). Did you know that they have some type of craft beer event every single Thursday? Be sure to check their events page regularly, so you always know what events are coming up.
Welcome to the first in a series of articles, where I will search my soul to share with you some of my favorite brews. Every few months, there will be another volume, where I’ll keep adding to the list of my all-time favorite beers.
Pick Just One? Good Luck!
It’s a question I get asked a lot: What is your favorite beer? or What is your favorite brewery? Really? Do I have to pick just one? I mean, isn’t one of the joys of craft beer the fact that there are so many choices? It would be a pretty boring World if you were only able to select a single beer to drink for the rest of your life. Most people I know have an extremely difficult, if not impossible time answering this question.
Pour, Pour, Pour – The Beers
(Sung to the tune of Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds)
♫ To everything – pour, pour, pour
There is a season – pour, pour, pour
And a time for every craft beer under heaven ♫
Right now it’s Winter beer season. And I couldn’t be happier with this year’s lineup of great Winter beers. There is just so much wonderfully dark, rich, woody, bourbony, delicious goodness out there with the likes of Hoppy Holidays & Hoppy The Woodsman (Schooner Exact Brewing), Winter Bock (Silver City Brewing), Creepy Monkey Bourbon Barrel-Aged Brown (North Sound Brewing), The Abyss (Deschutes Brewing), Bindlestiff (Naked City Brewing), Jolly Roger Christmas Ale (Maritime Pacific Brewing), Bifrost Ale (Elysian Brewing), Bourbon Barrel Abominable Ale (Fremont Brewing) and many, many more. For anyone who is a fan of these darker, often barrel-aged, complex and delicious Winter delights, this is a great time of year to be a beer drinker.
Do you ever mix your beers? Now, to be clear, I’m not referring to the trend of beer cocktails you may have seen from the likes of Brewing Up Cocktails. I’m referring to the practice of mixing two more more beers together in the same glass. Most craft beer drinkers I know have, to my knowledge, never actually tried this practice (other than perhaps a black and tan), but it can yield some interesting results.
The most common ‘mixed’ beer drink, and possibly the oldest, is probably a black and tan. It’s created when a stout and a pale ale or pale lager are mixed in a attractive, two-tiered pour in a single glass. The earliest recorded usage of the term in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1889. Although, when a black and tan is poured properly, technically speaking it isn’t a ‘mixed’ beer since the stout and the pale ale or pale lager are kept separate in the glass – with the stout floating on top of the ale or lager. This is done using careful pouring over the back of a spoon or a Black and Tan Turtle. There are several different variations on the style, but the most common is still stout mixed with pale ale or lager.