With twelve tasters to try at Deschutes, I decided to split this visit into two posts. For round 2 I got to try the Black Butte Porter, Nitro Obsidian Stout, Hot Bocket, Bachelor Bitter, Pine Mountain Pilsner, and Inversion IPA.
The Black Butte Porter was a nice solid porter, good and mellow. I would assume that it was used as the basis for the Black IPA because it shared many of the same flavors. It had some pleasant flavors of chocolate and oatmeal. The Nitro Stout had some nice smooth oatmeal flavors but overall was a bit too similar to the porter. If it wasn’t on nitro, I don’t know if I would have been able to tell the two apart significantly.
Probably my favorite beer at Deschutes was the Hot Bocket, a spicy bock beer infused with spicy peppers. It was a great balance of sweet flavors common among the bock style and the spice of the peppers. This isn’t an overly spicy beer but the flavors work out quite well together. The Bachelor Bitter was a solid English style bitter with plenty of mellow malt flavors and a good balance.
The Pine Mountain Pilsner was a nice change from the typical pilsner thanks to some pine hop flavors mixed in. They help distinguish it from what would otherwise be a pretty basic representation of a pilsner. To end it, I had the Inversion IPA. I had tried this beer a few times in San Diego and still find it to be a bit too heavy on the malts for my tastes. There are some solid pine hop flavors to it but mostly the malts overpower the rest of the beer.
In the end, I wasn’t overly impressed with Deschutes but I can see why they are popular. Rather than focusing on creating beers that jump out, they just focus on making beers that are very drinkable. In that they succeed like most breweries in Portland.
This was probably the brewery I was most looking forward to visiting in Portland, so I naturally went there first. I ended up with two flights for a total of twelve beers while there. For some reason the majority of breweries in Portland want to only sell flights in certain pre-defined groups. This sometimes meant I had to try a few more beers than I was expecting. This was certainly the case with Deschutes.
For my first set of tasters I got the Two Step IRA, Fresh Squeezed IPA, Hop in the Dark Black IPA, Session Obsession Session IPA, Smooth Hoperator Experimental Hop Pale, and Inversion White IPA. The Imperial Red Ale was pretty much a nice strong red with a light hop flavor. The Fresh Squeezed IPA was one I expected to love and possibly even order a pint of. It had a nice bright citrus hop bite and wasn’t overly bitter but it didn’t seem to have the same intense flavor that I am used to in San Diego.
The Hop in the Dark Black IPA was not particularly hoppy or bitter and mostly had flavors of smoky roasted malts. It didn’t impress me on either the dark flavors or the hop flavors. I don’t expect it would seriously satisfy hop heads or those into stouts. The Session IPA was a solid presentation of the now-popular style. It had some solid hop flavors without the bitterness of other sessions. Still, the hop profile wasn’t grabbing me.
The Experimental Pale Ale was quite nice for a lighter color pale. The hop flavors were largely towards the pine. It was a beer I would have enjoyed to buy in a six-pack. The Inversion White IPA was surprisingly malty tasting for the style and not particularly hoppy. Overall, it seemed to be a nice balanced brew but didn’t have the hop flavors that I have come to expect.
At the end of Round 1 of Deschutes, I was starting to wonder if I was going to find anything that blew me away. In Round 2 I explore the second set of six beers I tasted while visiting Deschutes.
I started my Portland beer adventures at a little restaurant called Raven & Rose. I hadn’t planned to stop there and we only arrived there because my husband was getting tired of my inability to find a place to eat and decided to park and make us get out of the car so we could walk rather than drive while searching for a place to eat. Right across the street from where we parked I saw this quaint little building that called out to me. As soon as we walked in, my husband Rommel took one look at the menu and declared “I’ll be having the Shepard’s Pie” before we could get a seat. Thankfully, they had a decent tap list as well and I was able to taste my first Oregon beer.
While waiting for our food to come, I ordered an India Red Ale from Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River Oregon on cask. The beer was very mellow with a strong focus on the malts and a slight tart flavor to it. Somewhere hiding behind all that was a hint of citrus hops. It was the perfect beer to start off the day so that I could enjoy a pint without getting bogged down too much.
While eating at Raven and Rose, I ordered the Bangers and Mash, a simple dish yet one of the best sausages I have ever eaten. The sausages were juicy and bursting with flavor and had some delicious mustard sauce to go with them. They went perfectly with the mashed potatoes and the red cabbage. And yes my husband was very satisfied by the shepherd’s pie. Beer and food in hand, we went off to our first hike of the weekend before returning later to visit Deschutes.