Bend, OR 97702
Phone: (541) 382-9242
Flagship Beers: Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Inversion IPA, Obsidian Stout, Fresh Squeezed IPA, Pinedrops IPA, Chasin’ Freshies IPA
Seasonal Releases: Hop Slice Summer Ale, Hopzeit Autumn IPA, Jubelale
Special Releases: Black Butte Birthday Reserve, Mirror Mirror, The Dissident, The Abyss
The Down Low: Statistically speaking, Portland, Oregon is the beer capital of the world. Praised not only for the sheer number of breweries in operation but for the outstanding quality of them as well, Portland and its surrounding towns are considered a bucket list destination for beer lovers everywhere. Nicknamed “Beervana,” it’s a culmination of hop production (2nd most in the US), dedicated brewers, and an obsession with craft beer that rises to the top of an ever-growing market that’s constantly trying to reinvent new ways to appeal to the masses.
So how do you get attention in a location that’s so saturated with breweries? Simply put, make consistently good beer, distribute it to more than half of the United States, and put out a few special releases that are unlike anything else out there. That’s where Deschutes seems to do so well.
Located in Bend, OR (roughly 3 hours from Portland) and operating since 1988, Deschutes has been around the block a time or two. Their flagship and seasonal brews are fine examples of what access to good hops can yield, and their special releases, typically noticeable by the wax seals, are worth paying the extra few bucks for. In fact, in our minds, it’s the special releases that make this brewery stand out…
Let’s start with the Black Butte Birthday Reserve. It’s a porter brewed with Dutch cocoa, cinnamon, and cayenne. Complex? Yes. A bit of heat at the back end? Yup. A porter so rich and complex you’d mistake it for an incredible stout? Absolutely. It’s also aged in bourbon and rum barrels, icing the cake that’s already a rich treat to begin with. And what can we say about the Abyss? Take the darkest, heaviest, most decadent stout that you’ve ever had and add the following ingredients: blackstrap molasses, licorice, vanilla beans, and cherry bark. Then, age it for 12 months in bourbon, oak, and wine barrels. The final result is a beer so complex that the first sip leaves you speechless, the second causes contemplation, and the third a combination of bliss and unbelief that what you’re drinking hasn’t been brewed in an actual tar pit. Abyss couldn’t be a more fitting name. They’ve also made a standout Barleywine that can still be found on the shelves if you’re lucky (Mirror Mirror), and a yearly ale brewed with cherries and aged in French oak wine barrels called the Dissident.
With a second brew pub opening in none other than Portland itself in 2008 and a third on the way in Roanoke, VA, Deschutes continues to expand and make their presence known in a market that keeps growing by the year. And if you can make great beer in Beervana, you gotta be doing something right…