Deschutes Brewery

Hopped Up Eugene

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Featured guest writer for Hopped Up Eugene October 2-8, Todd Gebow, writes about a newly released winter ale from Deschutes Brewery: Jubel Ale

Bend, Oregon, as mentioned in a previous Hopped Up Eugene, is a beer crazy town.  So, I wouldn’t be crazy to reside there.  Fortunately, Deschutes Brewery delivers to the Eugene and the west coast of Oregon, and being a Eugene resident, I have no problem finding Deschutes at my local watering hole.

Even if fall has just begun, finding a festive winter ale is no problem.  Stores already have Halloween, Thanksgiving decorations are in the aisles, and I’ve even seen Christmas stuff on the shelves.  So, maybe an early release for a Winter Ale is not premature; however, I do believe it is a bit early.  Let us adjust to the rain first, please.

Regardless, winter is coming and good dark beers are available!

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2013 Jubel Ale label

Yearly, Deschutes Brewery releases their Jubel Ale, a dark Festive Winter Ale, and I am a fan of dark beers.  This years Jubel does not disappoint.  It pours smooth and dark, with only a slight head.  It settles nice to a dark Amber color, sending me into a meditative state similar to when I watch a pint of Guinness settle after a good pour.  Although it’s not the ‘meal’ that Guinness is, Jubel definitely succeeds at falling into the craft brew category.  Slightly hoppy with a smooth finish – unmistakably Deschutes!  The aroma of good hops and a rich porter flavor makes me smile as I critique this years Jubel Ale – sending me into beer bliss.

It starts very smooth with a satisfying familiar Bend flavor and nip.  When Jubel settles onto the palate, with the usual Deschutes flavor that tends to tingle your taste buds and epiglottis, it ends with a satisfying, slightly chocolate effervescence.  With a touch of hops that aren’t overpowering, it left me feeling uplifted and with a smile, as a good dark beer should.

I’m sampling this years Jubel at my local watering hole, Jiffy Market in south Eugene on Hilyard – a great place to critique a beverage.  Jiffy has a lot of select beers at very good prices; however, I really like to keep this place a secret so there’s more good beers for those of us that frequent it.

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Critiquing the 2013 Jubel Ale at my local watering hole, Jiffy Market

I’ve heard that Deschutes changes the recipe each year, but I’ve also heard that they do not.  This remains a bit of a conundrum for me because based on my taste buds, I believe that Deschutes most likely does change it yearly.  Last years Jubel Ale wasn’t my style, but this year it’s crisp and festive, just as the label proclaims!

Good job Deschutes, you have asserted yourselves as one the Northwest’s premier breweries that is enjoyed by most of the country, and you are still one of my favorite beer makers!  I believe beer drinkers will be happily pleased with this festive winter ale.

Visit Jiffy Market at 3443 Hilyard Street in Eugene, 97405.

Next up? Pumpkin beers, and 16 Tons is having their Pumpkin Ale Fest this Friday, October 4, from 5-10 pm at their cafe location on Willamette in south Eugene.  20+ ales and ciders, $1-$2 dollar tasters, free entry, cash only.

Local Lunch Gals: SweetWaters on the River and the new Deschutes River Ale

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The Gals love to be VIPs

Although our meal at SweetWaters on the River was more of a very filling late afternoon snack than it was a full lunch, like we normally do, we felt it was definitely worth a mention – the food was outstanding.

The Gals didn’t go to Sweetwaters to eat, but it just so happened that way, and we were glad it did.  Maria, Jennifer and I originally went to Sweetwaters for the Deschutes Brewery ‘Rockin’ on the River’ River Ale Release Party.  With three VIP passes in hand, we were excited to try the just-released golden ale dubbed as “a session beer with craft soul.”

Since Lunch Gal Jennifer and her husband, Nelson, own a restaurant that sells Deschutes Brewery beers, they were given passes to attend the invite-only River Ale release party.  Although the Gals are well-known for their affinity for wine, we occasionally really enjoy locally crafted brews.

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The newly released River Ale session brew

Established in 1988, Deschutes Brewery is located in Bend, Oregon, and it overlooks the beautiful Deschutes River.  Known for an impressive line-up of award-winning beers, Deschutes Brewery offers classic brews, as well as, limited batch and experimental brews.  Their iconic classic brews include: Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Black Butte Porter, and some of their small batch experimental beers are The Dissident, Hop Trip and The Abyss.

Deschutes Brewery coined the  River Ale as a session beer.  Not knowing what exactly a session beer is, I turned to the well-known website, BeerAdvocate.com.  Beer Advocate is a community driven website that is dedicated to supporting and promoting beer through education and appreciation, and through this website, I was able to find the definition of a session brew.

“Any beer that contains no higher than 5 percent ABV, featuring a balance between malt and hop characters (ingredients) and, typically, a clean finish – a combination of which creates a beer with high drinkability. The purpose of a session beer is to allow a beer drinker to have multiple beers, within a reasonable time period or session, without overwhelming the senses or reaching inappropriate levels of intoxication. (Yes, you can drink and enjoy beer without getting drunk.)”

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The Local Lunch Gals: Jennifer, Julia and Maria

All three of us thought the River Ale was excellent.  The hoppy, malty aromas were definitely pleasing and far from overpowering.  On the palate, these subtle and mellow hops were super smooth – creating a crisp and refreshing beer that was easy to drink.  Although it went down easy, there was still a good depth of character and notable complexity.

Deschutes did provide a buffet of hummus and pita, cheese and crackers, rolls, and some deli meats, but the lemon zesty, dry finish on the River Ale beckoned seafood.  Blessed with a rare Willamette Valley March afternoon of sunny skies and semi-warm air, we headed to the outside patio that sits along the edge of the beautiful Willamette River.  One swift look-over of the menu, we decided we’d share two appetizers: Monterey Bay Calamari and Manila Clams.

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Tender, juicy, flavor-packed Calamari

The Monterey Bay Calamari was quick fried and served with a spicy cocktail sauce and a lime orange ginger sauce.  Crispy and lightly crunchy on the outside, the calamari on the inside was tender and juicy – cooked to perfection.  The sauces were both absolutely delicious, but I really loved the sweet, yet tart flavors of the lime orange ginger dipping sauce – a perfect accompaniment to the calamari.  The Manila Clams were some of the best steamed clams I’ve ever had. Steamed in Pinot Gris, garlic, tomato and herbs, the clams were cooked exactly the way I like them – well done, but not over steamed.  Two slices of crispy, toasted baguette were definitely not enough to soak up all the heavenly juices, so we asked for more.

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Outstanding Manila Clams steamed to perfection

Although there were some issues with the service and a discrepancy in the bill, we chalked it up to the large crowd of beer enthusiasts. Our food was down-right mouthwatering and scrumptious, and our bill was just $6 dollars each – quite the bargain for outstanding food enjoyed along the banks of the scenic Willamette River.

Personally, I can’t wait to return for more of the savory, delectable Manila Clams, and a return visit will surely give us another chance to experience the service on a day that the restaurant and bar aren’t so crowded. The Lunch Gals give Three Thumbs Up to the Chef for totally tantalizing our taste buds.

SweetWaters is located in the Valley River Inn at 1000 Valley River Way, Eugene, Oregon, 97401.

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Deschutes Brewery Impresses Judges at World Beer Awards

BEND, Ore. — Deschutes Brewery impressed international judges at this year’s World Beer Awards.

 

Judges blind taste tested more than 500 beers from 37 countries.

 

They gave Deschutes Brewery 12 awards for seven of its beers.

 

Its Hop Henge Experimental IPA was in the top five ranking overall as the World’s Best Pale Ale.

 

“Winning top awards for Hop Henge gives us the confidence that we are doing the right thing when it comes to pushing boundaries and experimenting with our beers,” said brewmaster Brian Faivre.

 

World’s Best Rankings

    Hop Henge Experimental IPA – World’s Best Pale Ale
    Hop Henge Experimental IPA – World’s Best Imperial IPA Pale Ale
    Hop Trip – World’s Best Harvest Pale Ale
    Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale – World’s Best Extra Strong Pale Ale
    Obsidian Stout – World’s Best Stout

 

The America’s Best Rankings

    Hop Henge Experimental IPA – The America’s Best Imperial IPA Pale Ale
    Hop Trip – The America’s Best Harvest Pale Ale
    Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale – The America’s Best Strong/Extra Special Pale Ale
    Obsidian Stout – The America’s Best Stout
    Mirror Mirror – The America’s Best Barley Wine Dark Ale
    Inversion IPA- The America’s Best IPA Pale Ale
    The Abyss – The America’s Best Stout-Strong Stout & Porter

 

Graphic courtesy of Deschutes Brewery.

Night on the Town

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SATURDAY – Night on the Town

I had to sneak out of my tent to render today’s Night on the Town.  I was entered into a slave auction at the SeaDog Nights & Gypsy Carnival and I have to keep it quiet or my 300 lbs pirate master will awaken!  Shhh….  Thankfully, my ‘slave’ time expires at 7pm tonight….just in time for some estrogen affirming girl music tonight.

Since the whole town will be at Sam Bond’s tonight celebrating their 16th anniversary, which, technically was on Monday when a brand new brew was introduced;  Sam Bond’s Special Bitter, I’ll stop by there first.   This is a must try for any die-hard regular so I better get their early to avoid the long lines. Another drink special to not miss out on are the $2 Jameson’s and $2 featured micros over at Luckey’s where Growler, Nine Dice and The Last International are performing some distilled rock-n-roll.

Jessie Marquez

However, tonight is girl night… so while I break in a new driver by starting tonight with some Special Bitter and a scenic drive to Loloma Lodge (McKenzie Bridge, OR) to hear Jessie Marquez, a talented Cuban jazz singer perform with Clay Giberson, Mark Schneider, Charlie Doggett and Rafael Trujillo under the mountain sky.  Thankfully there will be free Cuban appetizers with a complimentary  Deschutes beer or wine with the $25 admission.  It will be very cool to be up there and see the stars and listen to some great jazz beside the McKenzie River. The lodge has been there since 1928 and will have lodging available either at the lodge or at their campsites.  Have to mark on my calendar to come back up here Wednesday, August 3rd to hear blues man Lloyd Jones.

The Eager Beavers

Over at the Oak Street Speakeasy, is Grrrlz Rock.  Tonight performing will be Bajuana Tea, an electric rock duo featuring Matrisha Armitage on drums and The Eager Beavers, an all female bluegrass act with Grrrlz Rock founder, Cindy Ingram on washboard and vocals.

Grrrlz Rock began last November with female artists marrying the concepts of music and art.  David Frank was instrumental in launching the project recording shows and performances for over a month last summer.  With six recordings mixed now and the art digitally filmed all that remains is to finish mixing, mastering design, print and distribution.  The CD is set to be released this November at the WOW Hall.

Well, I hear some grumbling going on over at the tent… time to go pretend I’m asleep again with my 1800’s French Flintlock black powder pistol in hand of course!

Will see you out there… I’ll be the one in the costume!

Ah……Beer

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I think Homer Simpson said it best……“Ah, beer. The cause of and the solution to all of life’s problems.” Be it light or dark, in a keg or in a cup, Eugenians love beer and are showing it in a big way. Eugene Beer Week kicks off May 2nd and runs through May 8th. This is Eugene’s first annual beer week, following in the footsteps of successful beer weeks in cities like Seattle and San Fransisco. Beer week is a celebration of the great craft beers we have in Willamette Valley….sorry no PBR or Coors here.

Participating breweries include; Oakshire, Ninkasi, Hop Valley, Deschutes Brewery, Hopworks Urban Brewery and Boneyard. This is a great opportunity to taste the wide variety of craft beers that are being made right here in our neck of the woods. The event is packed with your choice of tastings, dinners, discussions, contests and classes. The full event schedule can be found at http://www.eugenebeerweek.org/, but here is a little sampling of what’s in store…….

Monday – May 2
Hop Valley and Ninkasi are each unveiling their own respective beers. Hop Valley with their summer seasonal Pollination Honey Ale and Ninkasi with their Conservation Ale Release, a Golden Ale brewed in honor of EWEB’s 100th Anniversary. Marché will be celebrating all week-long (5:30-9pm) with Marché Beer Week Prix-Fixe. Chef Jonny Henry is pairing each course with local beers from all your favorite breweries. Contact Marché at the 5th Street Market for menu and more information. Capella Market will be offering Free Ninkasi tasting including newly released ConservationALE from 4-6pm.

Tuesday – May 3
Alright ladies….let’s represent at the Women’s Only Beer Tasting & Discussion at 16 Tons Beer & Wine. The discussion starts at 6:30pm, so come thirsty.  How well do you know your local IPA’s? Put your knowledge to the test, or just get to know them better at a Local Blind IPA Flight at The Bier Stein from 7-9pm. A blind flight of six local IPAs will be available to test your taste-buds. If you’re not sure that your palate is refined enough for all these great beers, then you should visit the Intro Sensory Analysis Class with Jamie Floyd. The class will cover the basics of proper beer tasting for sensory considerations and more. Two class times are available (5:30 and 6:45 pm) and will be held at the Ninkasi Tasting room. Admission is FREE!

Wednesday – May 4
Oakshire Brewing is holding a Kegerator 101 Class from 6:30-8pm. Learn how to install and maintain a home draft system. Admission is just $10 per person. The Brewpublic Whiskey Barrel-Aged Fest is your chance to try 10 specialty and vintage Whiskey barrel-aged ales. Get to The Beir Stein between 5-10pm to enjoy these specialty ales. Oakshire will be holding tastings at both the Lincoln and 5th Street Cornucopia locations. All Oakshire pints $3! The Rogue Public House is holding a Dead Guy Tasting Night…which happens to run all day.

Thursday – May 5
In the mood for a little Trivia w/ Full Sail Brewmaster John Harris? Then you’re in luck! John Harris will be throwing down some Trivia and handing out cool Full Sail gear for prizes at The Bier Stein. Contact The Bier Stein for more information. Hop Valley is throwing a release party for their Tilley’s Chili Beer at 5pm.

Friday – May 6
Boneyard Beer and Diablo’s are throwing a Boneyard Beer Party. Lots of Boneyard beer and free goodies to be had, so get to Diablo’s by 9pm. Ninkasi is honoring Glen Flaconer, with an All Day Glen’s Best Bitter Release at their tasting room. This is a recreation of Glen’s Best Bitter a beer brewed at the old Wild Duck Brewery by Glen.

Saturday – May 7
The 2011 Sasquatch Brew Fest at the Eugene Hilton, runs Saturday from 12pm-10:30pm. Ok, it’s on…Beer vs. Wine at 16 Tons Beer & Wine on Saturday. A Cheese Pairing showdown between these two beloved beverages, starts at 6pm. If you’ve never tried a beer float, here is your chance. Enjoy Ice Cream Beer Floats and a Food Fair at Capella Market on Saturday from 1:30-3:30pm. Try a FREE sampling of ice cream floats using a variety of beer styles…sorry kids, this float is for mommy’s and daddy’s only.

So much beer to drink and things to do, I think even Homer Simpson would be overwhelmed. Show your support for these great local breweries….and discover a new beer in the process. Just remember to please be responsible while you are out and about town enjoying all the Eugene Beer Week has to offer.

**UPDATE: Capella Market will be offering Free Ninkasi tasting on FRIDAY during their Food Fair, from 4-6pm instead of Monday, as previously announced.
Ah……Beer courtesy of Eugene On The Cheap

Craft Beer Drinkers, Meet Your New Top 50

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Craft Beer Drinkers, Meet Your New Top 50
The Brewers Association has released its annual list of the Top 50 Craft Brewing Companies by sales volume.

Top 50 Craft Breweries – 2010

Rank Brewing Company City State
1 Boston Beer Co. Boston MA
2 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Chico CA
3 New Belgium Brewing Co. Fort Collins CO
4 Spoetzl Brewery* Shiner TX
5 Deschutes Brewery Bend OR
6 Independent Brewers United  (IBU)* Burlington VT
7 Matt Brewing Co. Utica NY
8 Bell’s Brewery, Inc. Galesburg MI
9 Harpoon Brewery Boston MA
10 Boulevard Brewing Co. Kansas City MO
11 Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Milton DE
12 Alaskan Brewing and Bottling Co. Juneau AK
13 Long Trail Brewing Co. Bridgewater Corners VT
14 Stone Brewing Co. Escondido CA
15 Abita Brewing Co. Abita Springs LA
16 Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn NY
17 Lagunitas Brewing Co. Petaluma CA
18 Full Sail Brewing Co. Hood River OR
19 Shipyard Brewing Co. Portland ME
20 Summit Brewing Co. St. Paul MN
21 New Glarus Brewing Co. New Glarus WI
22 Great Lakes Brewing Co. Cleveland OH
23 Anchor Brewing Co. San Francisco CA
24 Kona Brewery LLC* Kailua-Kona HI
25 Rogue Ales Newport OR
26 Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Paso Robles CA
27 Sweetwater Brewing Co. Atlanta GA
28 Flying Dog Brewery Frederick MD
29 Victory Brewing Co. Downingtown PA
30 Gordon Biersch Brewing Co. San Jose CA
31 BJ’s Chicago Pizza & Brewery, Inc. Huntington Beach CA
32 Stevens Point Brewery Co. Stevens Point WI
33 Odell Brewing Co. Fort Collins CO
34 BridgePort Brewing Co.* Portland OR
35 Rock Bottom Brewery Restaurants Louisville CO
36 Oskar Blues Brewery Longmont CO
37 Blue Point Brewing Co. Patchogue NY
38 Lost Coast Brewery and Cafe Eureka CA
39 Big Sky Brewing Co. Missoula MT
40 North Coast Brewing Co. Inc. Fort Bragg CA
41 Mac and Jack’s Brewery Redmond WA
42 The Saint Louis Brewery, Inc. Maplewood MO
43 Bear Republic Brewing Co. Cloverdale CA
44 Karl Strauss Brewing Co. San Diego CA
45 Breckenridge Brewery Denver CO
46 Utah Brewers Cooperative Salt Lake City UT
47 Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants Chattanooga TN
48 Saint Arnold Brewing Co. Houston TX
49 Real Ale Brewing Co. Blanco TX
50 Ninkasi Brewing Co. Eugene OR

Looking over the list, I find a few stories hidden between the numbers. The first is the impact of last year’s acquisitions and mergers. In 2009, Pyramid and Magic Hat were ranked 5th and 8th respectively. That year they also merged to form Independent Brewers United (IBU). IBU comes in 6th on this list, behind Deschutes, who Pyramid alone had outsold just last year. The ranking comes not as a result of lower production, but due to newly-formed IBU’s acquisition by North American Breweries (Genesee, Labatt USA). NAB, not considered a craft brewery by the Brewers Association, received the credit for all of IBU’s post acquisition production, five months in total. The relocated IBU totals, paired with increases from NAB’s other acquisitions and partnerships, allowed the company to rise two spots in the overall, jumping both Spoetzl (Shiner) and Craft Brewers Alliance (Redhook, Widmer), who added Kona during the same period. And Long Trail, who sat at 25th in ’09, rocketed up twelve positions on the list after acquiring Otter Creek/Wolaver’s last year.

The next thing that stands out is the production increases made by breweries in the middle of the list. While the Brewers Association does not provide numbers to accompany it ranking, a little precision internetting can turn up a wealth of information. Lagunitas maxed out its production capabilities last year, producing over 100,000 barrels and running 24/7 to keep up with demand. This translates to a nine spot boost in the ranking, the largest of any company that was not part of a merger or acquisition. And with a $9.5 million dollar brewery expansion on the horizon, I expect Lagunitas will continue its rise through the ranks. Several breweries that recently finished expanding, including Dogfish Head and Oskar Blues, also saw significant increases in their ranking. Eight breweries in all moved up at least five positions this year, Stevens Point, Blue Point, North Coast and Bear Republic rounding out those already mentioned.

Finally, we come to Eugene’s very own Ninkasi, who squeaked onto this year’s list in the 50th position. While cracking the top 50 is a momentous achievement, I don’t expect the increasingly ubiquitous N to stay near the bottom for long. According to the OLCC’s production totals for 2010, Bridgeport, who now sits at 34th, only out-produced Ninkasi by 2,300 barrels. The reason for the disparity in the ranking is the difference between the way between sale volume and production are calculated. Sales volume includes portions of production from both the previous and current periods. Since Ninkasi’s massive build-out occurred last year, the resulting production increase won’t be fully realized until the ’11 report is released next April. It would not surprise me in the least to see Ninkasi join Bridgeport near the middle of the pack next year.

In any case, it’s time to get back to the Timbers’ routing of Chicago (sorry Matt). If you’re doing the same, I’m going to assume you already have a beer in hand. Why not raise it high and toast Oregon’s newest member of the Craft Brewing Top 50?

Cheers!
Kevin

reprinted with permission from Craft Beer Drinkers, Meet Your New Top 50 « Beer and Coding in Eugene.