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Posted on: January 31st 2011

To Tell the Truth (again)
Risks Worth Taking (most of the time)
Sometimes You’re the Windshield and Sometimes You’re the Bug!

We think you all know we are passionate about the beer we make. We also know you know we go to some pretty extraordinary lengths to make your experience drinking our beer special. So, when something goes awry (think Black Butte XXII) we are extremely disappointed but take comfort we can recover simply looking forward to the next triumph.

Well, 2010 was a year of ups and downs. We had fabulous triumphs in competitions all over the world with four medals at the Great American Beer Festival and Mirror Pond Pale Ale taking gold in the English style Pale Ale category. Additionally Red Chair NWPA has been named the World’s Best mirrormirror09_bottle Pick a Title... Brewery Beer at the World Beer Awards in London with six other beers named best in America and the world in their styles. All in all our beers took home 82 significant awards in competitions around the world in 2010! .

But, we also had the Black Butte XXII issue and we have had recurring comments about sour 2009 The Abyss. Now, we have similar comments about 2009 Mirror Mirror. We have been very forthright and outspoken about 2009 The Abyss and we are here to report we, basically, have the same issue with 2009 Mirror Mirror. Gary clarified the issue on Ratebeer.com recently:

We have detected in our lab a similar condition to The Abyss 2009 where some (not all) of the bottles have brett in them. It is interesting in that there seems no way to tell short of general tendencies in storage conditions where the brett will develop to sensory detection levels.

At Deschutes Brewery we take these things seriously. We know many of the wine barrels we use will have brettanomyces (wild yeast that produces flavors that are not desired in some beer styles) in them (just ask any winemaker). Going forward, we have purchased a flash pasteurizer and all beer from barrels is now pasteurized (killing the brettanomyces) before it is blended with beer from tanks (that is not pasteurized). Then the final blend is bottle conditioned so all beer is alive when you get it. 2010 The Abyss was treated this way.

As for the Mirror Mirror or 2009 The Abyss, we will refund and arrange shipment for unopened bottles back to the brewery. As with any of our beers if someone has an unsatisfactory experience, we will make it right. Unfortunately, we cannot compensate for above market pricing paid over the internet or other “extra-market” sources, nor can we send a replacement beer in lieu of payment. Suffice it to say, however, we stand behind our beer and the experiences we deliver. You can contact us directly through our website.

So, we know how to make beer, really good beer, right? But not everything goes the way we want it when we are so frequently far out over our skis with some of the projects we undertake. This is how progress, real progress is made, as well as the beer you really love. We will go to extraordinary lengths to insure mistakes don’t or can’t happen in our processes.

We know we no longer get the “pass” we might have gotten when we were smaller. We are rightfully expected to produce exceptional beers every time, not every other. Nonetheless, you can be confident when you buy one of our beers that your experience will be what you want it to be or we will make it right. If we know it’s not going to be right we will withhold product as we did with Black Butte XXII (something some people are still pissed about) at the cost of significant economic hardship. If the product gets into the market and the issue does not show up for over a year and the problem is not consistently found in all product, we will do what we can to honor the trust you place in us. That is the most valuable thing we have and what we have spent the past 23 years building.

Thanks for all your passion and support.

Gary Fish, Founder/President

Larry Sidor, Brewmaster