This is the newest creation in the Bond Street Series of IPAs from Deschutes. They’ve never made a bad one, so this excites me greatly. This beer features Pale, Crystal, and Munich malts with Nugget, Citra, and Mosaic hops.
American India Pale Ale. 6.0% ABV. 60 IBUs. Oregon. June-September Availability.
Burnt orange color. The head is a beautiful thing, as well as the lacing.
Quite a bit of a tart citrus thing going on, but you can get that vanilla/caramel malt profile underneath. It’s very Washington in that respect.
Mouthfeel is fantastic. Medium body, medium carbonation. Pure silk.
Sweeter than I thought. Some orange and citrus flavors and that vanilla with a hint of caramel on the finish. Floral aftertaste that lasts forever.
When has the Bond Street Series ever been bad? 91 points.
For our 21st Beer Club I wanted to discuss hybrid styles. Hybrid styles are those with both ale and lager characteristics.
Our first stop on the hybrid journey is the cream ale, and we started that with the more mass-market one, the Genesee Cream Ale. This was actually far from the worst beer. It was refreshing with a nice grainy finish. Fairly well-liked.
The next beer was Henry Weinhard’s Blue Boar. This made the Genesee look like craft. Very little flavor, very forgettable.
The final cream ale was the Pelican Kiwanda Cream Ale. I really enjoyed this beer, and had a wonderful fruity-ness. Really tasty beer.
We had the Kolsch after that, and one of my favorite beers, the Sunner Kolsch. This is a fantastic beer that I’ve enjoyed many times. Good price point for a great beer.
The only other Kolsch was the Alaskan Summer. Not a bad beer, but a bit of a let down after the Sunner.
The biggest representation of hybrid’s is the Blonde Ale category. We started with the Kona Big Wave, which actually had an enjoyable fruity-ness in a crisp package. Shockingly, not a bad beer.
Widmer’s Citra was alright, but again, pretty forgettable. I don’t even think most people had any thoughts about it.
The Deschutes River Ale was a particularly unsatisfactory beer when I had it last, but in the tasting it turned out quite well. The grainy finish made this beer and became a favorite of mine during the tasting.
We had a couple locals up next, starting with the Diamond Knot Blonde Ale. It was infected. Not the first infected beer that I’ve had from them, so it’s pretty upsetting.
The American Blonde was next, but it had a surprising hop kick that didn’t vibe with the other beers. Just felt off-balanced.
Steam Beer was the second to last style we tried. Anchor Steam was first. I don’t need to tell anyone about this beer. I don’t know if it showed that well in the tasting, but I thought it was fantastic as I always do.
I’m actually pretty shocked I was able to find another Steam Beer, but luckily Widmer just released their Columbia Common. It’s a pretty tasty brew with a bit of a hop kick and a dusty malt flavor.
Bringing up the rear, and a well-liked change from the others is the Alaskan Amber which is actually an altbier. The little kick of sweetness was a welcome end to the night.
I think this tasting turned out pretty well, and it was a fantastic night. Some new faces were in the crowd and I hope they got a little taste of something new. Not bad for our 21st. We’ve got Black IPAs lined up next.
Yes, this is a cellphone pic, and yes, that’s my girlfriend hiding behind a pillow. Moving on…
This month was all about Witbiers, those spiced Belgian wheats so popular these days.
You can’t talk about Wits, unless you talk about Hoegaarden. It’s a nice, light beer, but has more complexity and finesse than many of the others after it. Still a classic.
Blue Moon was next in line. I think it’s an important beer because it really helped to popularize the style being from a big brewery. Everyone has had this beer and it was certainly a “gateway” beer for me. I still think it’s a solid beer.
Might as well try the other big brand version, Shock Top. Blue Moon is considerably better.
Another mass market beer was after that with the R.J. King WingWalker. Some liked this beer, but I personally think it’s garbage.
The Lost Coast Great White is the first American craft beer for us to try. It was also bad.
Luckily, the Alaskan White was pretty damn good. It was my favorite of the night with the possible exception of Hoegaarden, and was liked all around.
Unibroue Blanche De Chambly had great flavor, but for some reason this bottle wasn’t very carbonated. Not sure what the deal was there.
For something a little different, I threw in the Chainbreaker from Deschutes. They call it a White IPA. Basically, it’s a hopped up Wit. I’m not a huge fan of this beer, and others didn’t enjoy the added hops.
The tasting ended with a non-Witbier. The Snoqualmie Spring Fever was a darker Belgian beer with coriander added. It was a nice way to finish the tasting with another look at how coriander comes through in a different style.
This was one of the most unimpressive Beer Clubs we’ve had. It’s a bit unfortunate as it doesn’t do the style justice. But I do think it’s important to taste what the rest of America is drinking. Hybrid Styles next month!
Finally, a new Bond Street Series beer from Deschutes. It’s a series of beers dedicated to hop experimentation, and this one is interesting. First, the hops: An heirloom strain of Cascades fresh from the farm. There’s also some Bravo, a high Alpha hop. Second, the malt: Nothing but Pilsner with some flaked oats. That’s fairly unusual for an IPA. But who needs any pesky Crystal malt to get in the way of fresh hop glory?
American India Pale Ale. 7.4% ABV. 60 IBUs. Oregon. Limited Release.
The Pilsner malt gives the beer a nice yellow golden glow. Decent head with some lacing sticking on the glass.
Nice hop aroma, but it actually doesn’t overwhelm the malt. Nice cracker type malt aroma with a lovely citrus quality. Smells just fantastic.
Mouthfeel is very nice. Good medium body with enough carbonation for drinkability.
Lovely floral to citrus hop flavor. Just a hint of pine comes through, but a surprisingly delicate flavor profile, and the malt does still make an appearance with a great malty, cracker flavor. The only thing that reminds you of an IPA is the medium bitterness that follows. The finish is ridiculous with a hint of peach.
Delicious. I need to make an IPA like this one. The hop flavor is killer and doesn’t destroy your palate. Nice balance, nice complexity, and another example to me that Deschutes is one of the best breweries in the world. 92 points
There’s a new thing Deschutes has been playing with. They call it a white IPA, a hybrid of a wit and IPA. This beer features Pilsner, Wheat and unmalted wheat with Bravo, Citra, Centennial and Cascade hops. Oh, and don’t forget the sweet orange and coriander.
Belgian India Pale Ale. 5.6% ABV. 55 IBUs. Oregon.
Very pale yellow color with a fluffy, loose head.
Orange peel and lemons with a little bit of clove on the nose. Little bit of hops as well, but nothing that would make me think it’s an IPA.
Mouthfeel is light to medium in body with high carbonation.
Lemon and orange peel with that clove and spice component. Fairly light hops, but they bring a medium bitterness and it ends on a citrus note.
Very citrusy with a bit of a hopped up profile and a fairly uninteresting beer. The whole white IPA thing hasn’t taken off yet, but if this is what we can expect, it’s a style I can’t get behind. 84 points.
This is another beer generously donated by my friend Maggs. Thanks again, Maggs! I had this beer once when it was fairly fresh, so it will be very interesting to see how it is now, both in regards to the age in the beer and the change of my palate. You can read my original review here.
Barleywine. 11.0% ABV. 30 IBUs. Oregon. Limited Release.
Rose and caramel in color with just a tiny bit of head on top.
The nose is outrageous. I’m getting some caramel, figs, wine, oak, brown sugar, vanilla, and a hint of mint.
Mouthfeel is huge, but the carbonation is still all there.
Sweet, boozy, sweet, oh and boozy. Holy crap, the alcohol has not calmed down at all and my mouth is on fire. Everything that you get on the nose, is on the palate, as well. It’s quite sweet still and has a huge finish of figs, dates, and vanilla.
Wow. I’m really surprised by the booze and the sweetness. The hops have begun to break down, creating a menthol-mint action, but it’s still a huge, full-flavored bruiser of a beer. 92 points.
February gave us a chance to try something that wasn’t just a seasonal. After the Winter seasonals and the stout tastings, I wanted to try something on the lighter side of things. The American Pale Ale is arguably the most important American craft beer other than the IPA. These beers are a nice way to show what American brewing is often about, without getting too hoppy. Besides, I love these beers because they are sessionable and go great with so many types of food.
We started with one of my favorite beers to come out last year, 21st Amendments Bitter American. It’s a 4.4% session beer that packs a great flavor punch. This beer was generally liked, but fell a bit flat compared to the bigger beers that we drank after this.
We moved on to one of my favorite party beers. The plain old Full Sail Pale. There’s nothing amazing about this beer, but it’s more than solid beer at a great price point.
Deschutes Mirror Pond is a classic. This was definitely on the malty side compared to the other pales. I think this was pretty well liked because of that, but I personally prefer on the hoppy side.
Of course, the most classic of them all is the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. This might have been the least favorite of all the beers we had. I was really surprised by this, especially since this was actually MY favorite of the bunch. It’s got this amazing citrus hop flavor that didn’t resonate with the other palates.
Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale was next and quickly became the favorite of the night. This was the biggest beer at 6.5% and was definitely on the malty side. Go figure, this was MY least favorite of the bunch, but people really loved that grainy malt flavor.
We finished the night with another Deschutes beer, this time the Red Chair NWPA. I put this last because I figured this would be the hoppiest of the beers. And it was, in terms of hop flavor, but actually had a very mild bitterness. Because of that, people actually enjoyed this one quite a bit. I did notice a hint of diacetyl, that I don’t recall before, but the tasting would probably make that more noticeable.