Cultural Diversity: A Mixed Culture Beer

Posted on: July 31st 2018

Our brewers named this beer before it was even made – it happens all the time with babies, right?! Cultural Diversity speaks to the different yeast strains in the beer. And just like the human race is a mixed culture (cheers to so many unique baby names), so is beer. Read on for the first-hand account of how this label’s art came to be from our own, Thomas Buttles.

Shape Tasting

Tasting notes are something many are familiar with; words used to describe a beverage or food (straw, grass, red berry, etc.). The words and concept impart an idea that the taste and flavor all happen in an instant – a quick snapshot in time.

Imagine this, you’re about to take a drink of your favorite beer (obviously from Deschutes), and it’s been a while since you’ve enjoyed it. You take that sip, let it linger in your mouth, feeling the carbonation on your tongue, and then swallow feeling it cascade away. It is an experience that lingers for more than just a moment. Using words to describe this brew, which could be used to describe so many others would almost be a waste.

Patrick Reuter, Dominio IV owner and winemaker (Carlton, Oregon), originally developed the concept of Shape Tasting over 25 years ago to visually describe wine when words failed to more accurately capture the experience. At its simplest, Shape Tasting is a visual description of sensory analysis. At its most complex, it’s based on the principle of cross-modal perception, where sensory experiences can be translated to shapes and colors. A combination of defined shapes and colors create a language that is then depicted graphically with the x-axis as time, and y-axis as a palate. Patrick has turned this process into a kind of science throughout his career.


Deschutes Brewer Thomas Buttles, having known Patrick Reuter through family connections and experienced Shape Tastings upon many occasions, was curious as to how his own passion might translate to this visual experience. The room was warm, the conversation lively, and the bottles and glassware numerous; a hodgepodge of friends (including fellow Deschutes Brewer Kyle Kotaich), and family gathered at Patrick’s home in Fall of 2016. How does one translate a language that describes wine so perfectly to represent beer? An intense discussion of the differences between beer and wine ensued – How do you portray hops? What about residual sugar? Where does the carbonation fit in?

In the end, a rough draft of the language for beer was developed; ready to be tested and refined.


With this new language in hand, Patrick met with a group of Deschutes brewers at the Bend Pub to introduce the concept. From there, a handful of brewers continued to meet and advance this new concept of visual sensory analysis with beer. Beer Shape Tasting eventually began to produce something, not unlike Patrick’s own experiences, unique visual descriptions of the beer at hand.

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Cultural Diversity

The final label for Cultural Diversity is a collaboration of Shape Tastings from six brewers, including Thomas Buttles, Veronica Vega, Kyle Kotaich, Ryan Kern, Richard Hall, and Chris Dent. Of course, this example of Shape Tasting, reflected on the label, was the product of industry and departmental collaboration.

Tasting Cultural Diversity, you’re first greeted by a burst of starfruit, with the acidity ringing in a light pop of red berry – sending the sour notes wild. After these fruity qualities calm down, the acidity lifts the pallet to hints of graham cracker and tannins, leaving you ready for your next sip.

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Pretty cool, right?! You can pick up a bottle of Cultual Diversity at our Bend Pub, Portland Pub, Bend Tasting Room, and Roanoke Tasting Room. Cheers!