After having a morning breakfast of spirits (see previous blog posting), my next stop was to get some tasting and lunch.
When I first arrived in Portland I happened upon Deschutes by accident. I arrived early and had time to wait for my scheduled pickup, so I sat a nearby bar in PDX and ordered one of my favorite beer styles an IPA. It was the Inversion IPA from this brewery, and I had it on tap. It was a great beer and an explosion of grapefruit, and tasty hops. Woah! Welcome to Portland I'll say! Who are these guys? I certainly didn't hear or think of looking them up before I came.
Still the place lingered in the back of my head. I was sort of confused still about how to say their name. It didn't seem to role off the tongue easily, but the beer sure was memorable. After leaving Barista one morning I just happened to walk by their brewery just by luck in the Pearl district. Is this a sign? It was as if karma was telling me that I had to keep this place in mind. I glanced upon a perfectly hung neon sign jutting out at a perfect angle from the corner of a real nice brick building. Oh yeah, that's that place that made that tasty IPA I said to myself. Perhaps... I should... go here some time.... I made a mental note.... and walked away...
After my visit to Clear Creek I needed lunch and I wanted beer. When talking to someone the previous day, they mentioned they were at Deschutes and then started raving. DUDE they take hops from the field, in an HOUR and they are at the brewery and the make the beer right then and there man! There needed to be no more persuasion, the die had been cast. I was going to Deschutes.
I settled in and saw a great row of taps, and a beer menu that looked incredibly enticing. A sampler of six was available, and in many way I though about just getting three at a time so my beers wouldn't sit so long. But that's okay, the lunch time crowd was coming in, it was a little dark inside, somewhat noisy, there was no need to get super serious about this. I could enjoy the beer just so.
First was the Gluten Free ESB. I am not usually a fan of ESBs and the fact that this was a "Gluten-Free" ale had me confused. There were slight hops but a weak body and finish. I figured to try this one just out for curiosity of this "Gluten Free" concept, but in the end I have to say I actually didn't like this beer. In fact this was the only beer in Deschutes I had that I didn't want to drink. As I mentioned ESBs are not my thing (I did have a slightly better ESB at Bridgeport). That's okay I figured there were more. Next I had the Fresh Hop Mirror Pond, described from the menu as a staff favorite. This was pretty amazing. An apple like fruit nose with chewy hops, tasting of a squash body (much like Hair of the Dogs "Greg") nutty and a sweet finish. Finally things started getting good. Next was King Cone... oh man a nice wonderful slight smoke on the nose, transforming into pine (that was mentioned in the description and I agree with it). Citrus in finish but also has some resin and a lingering great hop taste. This was really impressive beer and much fun to be imbibing.
I was set on tasting the rest when suddenly someone approached me. "Excuse me?" I glanced up to see a young woman staring at me. "Oh hi!" I said... not sure what to say next, did this person work here? The young woman asked if I was a beer reviewer since she saw me across the room dunking my nose and writing notes. I told her about the blog and my writings, and she was from Napa and worked for a winery. We both loved the beer here and she felt the Mirror Pond also tasted like Schnapps. We shared great conversation about Napa and the Pinot Noirs here and had a nice chat. Hopefully if she is reading this she can send me her contact info of where she works. It was a nice chat.
Shortly after our conversation ended I sat to work on the next three beers. Summer's Gone Saison had a bitter nose, peppery as described and fruity. Is this a HefeWeizen? There was one on the menu and this sure looked and smelled like one. Tasting the beer it was lemony and also tasted like one. It was good it did feel like more alcohol perhaps than the Hefe so I guess this is it, but it sure felt like at first I was served the wrong thing.
Jubelale was next, dark and tasty agreed with the description provided, thrusting my pencil underlining hop bitterness on the menu, and detecting a faint anise in the aftertaste.
And with all that I finished with the Hop trip, perfectly as described with a fruit nose (couldn't pick that fruit out), and a chewy wet mouthfeel.
I settled back and took stock of great fresh hop beer much satisfied. I was set to leave when I just decided to take in the menu again looking up at the board above. Something jumped up at me that I had missed. "Cask IPA".
Shit... I was all set and packed away and ready to go (someone had called and I was meeting them shortly) when I realized I needed to try a sample. I quickly asked for it and then set to trying it out. Oh my god... a nose and taste loaded with hops, fruit, grapefruit, a buttery taste even some caramel. This had to be the only cask beer I have had that reminded of Bourbon characteristics, Butter, caramel, some oak... dear god it was good. I wanted a pint, a big friggin glass of this right then and there. Unfortunately I couldn't stay, and that was torture defined... right there. I have returned home since this write up, and I still think of that little glass sitting on the edge of the bar between me and the door, how I wish I could go back and fill it up right now. I still think about this place, I am thinking about it RIGHT NOW... and it's killing me. I want that cask IPA so bad. Somehow I will return for it and I will not ignore Deschutes any longer. Forgive me for not noticing you earlier for I have sinned, and I will come back to the chapel and repay in kind for not noticing you earlier.