Friday, September 20, 2013

Summer 2013 -- Bend, OR -- Part Three (10 Barrel Brewpub) / オレゴン州 ベンド (10バレルブルーパブ)

We went to 10 Barrel Brewpub on a warm Sunday in mid August. It was really busy, but the server quickly found us a place at a large island table in the middle of the restaurant section. The place has a friendly, open, and welcoming atmosphere. A wide variety of customers: old, young, couples, families with lots of kids, and (of course) dogs, too. Folk music playing low on the sound system. The food was great. We had a huge Greek salad and sandwiches to go with our beers. The pizzas looked very good; the large ones seemed to be the size of a car tire
I was familiar with several of 10 Barrel’s more widely available beers, including Apocalypse IPA, Sinistor Black Ale, and ISA – so I focused on several that don’t often make it into beer bars or bottle shops.

10 Barrel Power to the People Stout
Listed as “P2P American Stout," it had a rich chocolate nose with slight alcohol fumes rising. A massive chocolate initial, which fizzed up into a great coffee/chocolate mid palate, and finished slow and deeply satisfying. Smooth and creamy, it packs a lot of flavor.

10 Barrel OG Wheat India Pale Ale
Deep citrusy nose. Hazy bright straw color, with funny little streams of carbonation from the sides of the glass. Balanced with dark hops and big malt. Wheat fruitiness was pronounced. Very tasty stuff.

10 Barrel Red Faucher
This one is named for a cook at 10 Barrel’s Boise brewpub. Good, scratchy and roasty malt aroma. Rather heavy roast malt initial. Mildly hoppy in mid palate, with some buttery or even umami notes. The finish was pleasant and balanced. Very satisfying mouthfeel. Seems more like an amber than an Irish red ale.

10 Barrel Swill Beer
This Berliner Weisse is one of 10 Barrel’s most popular seasonal brews. But I found it a little too thin and quite spritzy. Too sweet, candy-juicy for a Berliner.

The beer sampler set was comprehensive and inexpensive: ten 3-oz. glasses for $10. This really is one of the best places in Bend.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Summer 2013 -- Bend, OR -- Part Two (Silver Moon Brewing) / オレゴン州 ベンド (シルバー·ムーン醸造)

Silver Moon Brewing is set along one of the busier streets in town and really appears somewhat uninviting from the outside. 

And inside, to a certain extent. It sort of blends brewpub and roadhouse music bar, and is a touch grimy.

Not that I felt entirely out of place, but perhaps some dreadlocks, tats, or piercings would have let me blend in better than my khaki shorts and a polo shirt did. A fairly loud two-man music group was onstage, and we were asked a couple of times to pay a cover charge (which we ignored).

The food menu was good, if limited: sandwiches, several good appetizers, and salads. Samplers of Silver Moon brews were available: five 4oz. glasses for $8. I had not heard much about this brewery, and my expectations were not so high -- but I was pleasantly surprised by the variety and quality of the beer.

Silver Moon Bridge Creek Pilsner
Smooth, light grassy sweet nose. Clear, brilliant straw color. Tart initial / sweet and grassy mid palate / tropical fruit and lingering hop traces in the finish. Has more body than a typical pils. Very good hopping. Nice grass and floral notes.

Silver Moon Libation Pale Ale
Piney and medium malt aroma. The initial taste is a twisting game of pine resin and caramel. A smooth and pleasant mid palate. It balances out nicely in finish. The flavors develop and blend well. Seems like a mature brew.

Silver Moon Hounds Tooth Amber
Nice citrusy aroma. Light copper color, with good lace. A restrained grapefruit initial taste. Graded bitterness and some decent maltiness in mid palate. Really more like an IPA than an amber ale.

These lighter, commonplace styles were the best on offer. I left with the feeling that Silver Moon is a rather underrated brewery.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Summer 2013 -- Bend, OR -- Part One (Deschutes Brewery & Public House) / オレゴン州 ベンド (デシューツブルワリー)

I had a busy summer traveling throughout the U.S. In Oregon for a week, Athens GA for two, Minneapolis for a long weekend, and then back out to Oregon.

My son and I visited Bend OR for a few days. A small city (pop. approx. 78,000) in the central part of the state, it is home to no less than 15 breweries. We spent most of our time there exploring five of them, and took a side trip out Tumalo Falls for a bit of hiking.

Deschutes Brewery & Public House
 This is where Deschutes started, and where they have grown into the 5th-largest craft brewery in the United States. Deschutes has always focused on making clean, full-bodied ales (such as Mirror Pond Pale Ale), and brews in that style dominate the tap list here. But a few deviated from that line and those were the ones I enjoyed most.

Deschutes Dust Buster American Kölsch
 A pub exclusive. Medium-strength citrus aroma, with tangy citrus flavors. With strong hops in mid palate, it is very flavorful but tastes more like a pale ale than a kölsch.

Deschutes Willamette Weisse
A Berliner Weisse that uses scotch broom and red cedar leaves in place of hops. A dusty lemon juice aroma and a fruity tartness so mild that it is simply an afterthought. Very delicate and smooth. It could almost be a breakfast drink.

Deschutes Belgian Baroness
A pleasant estery nose, with light berries. A fruity mix dominates, and then great bittering folds in smoothly. The finish is balanced, slightly phenolic, and a bit unrefined. Complex, sweet, interesting, and so tasty.

Deschutes Horse Ridge IPA
This is in Deschutes’ best style line -- and is kind of an amped-up big brother to Inversion IPA. I also had it on cask, and that version has a blue cheesy initial flavor but overall is a bit milder and gentler and not quite as full bodied as on tap.