Brewer Birdwell’s Blog on Bitterness

Deschutes is considered by many to be a hop-forward brewery and we're certainly not going to argue. We use primarily whole hops in our beers to produce a unique and enticing flavor and aroma. We're not afraid of bitterness, I mean, holy moly, have you ever had an Inversion IPA? We like to experiment with new ways of processing hops (which I can't tell you about) and we revel in trialing new methods of marrying hops and beer...Hop Henge Experimental IPA! So it's a bit of a surprise that several new beers headed your way are, shall we call them, distracted, from our usual hop first, ask questions later modus operandi.

Consider Deschutes River Ale at only 28 IBUs and 4% ABV. Simple, sessionable and satisfying, Deschutes River Ale offers you a chance to nuzzle up to Cascade and Crystal hops without having to call a taxi. Golden in color with light bitterness and appreciable back-end hop goodness, Deschutes River Ale proves flavor and easy drinking can flow together.

Why our Brewers Like It: Easy hop gathers! This whole hop obsession is fantastic for the beer but a pain in the brewer's behind to accomplish! Remember, effort required for one Inversion IPA hop gather = effort required to rake the leaves in your backyard. However, Deschutes River Ale hop gather = using leaf blower to blow leaves to neighbor's yard.

Deschutes River Ale
Bitter Brewer Units (BBU's) 3 out of 10
Note: this scale is entirely made up and unscientific


Then there is the Pilsner coming in at 40 IBUs and 5.2% ABV. This is a pub only special so we'll have to see you in Bend or Portland, OR for this one. Czech Saaz and Styrian hops light up the senses with their distinct earthy, herbal and spicy qualities. Delicious breadyness carries you to the quaffable and tantalizing dry finish. Another sip? Yes please! Lager yeast does its thing, providing a clean and approachable beer without the distractions of fruit and esters characteristic of ale yeast.

Why our Brewers Like It: Vintners crave beer, brewers crave wine, lager brewers crave ales, and ale brewers crave lager. It's just the way it is.

(BBU's) 4 out of 10


Finally, there is the Class of ’88: Goose Island Brewery Collaboration at 17 IBUs and 8.9% ABV. This will be a Belgian-Style Strong Golden Ale utilizing primarily pilsner and wheat malt, Tettnang and Mt. Hood hops, and a funky Belgian strain of yeast. Destined for oak barrels where it will be blended with Pinot Noir and Riesling grape juice and allowed to age and meld, this isn't one to miss!

Why our Brewers Like It: For the chance to experiment and learn. We take pride in producing consistently great offerings like Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Black Butte Porter, but any chance to push the envelope on a new recipe is welcomed.

Class of ’88: Goose Island Brewery Collaboration (BBU's) 2 out of 10


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