Distilled: Deschutes is da poops

By Columbus Alive
From the January 30, 2014 edition

Well Columbus beer fans, I have bad news to report. Another craft brewery has made inroads into our beer-loving market, but Deschutes Brewery’s beers are nothing to get excited about. Columbus has been fortunate as of late, as more craft breweries have made their wares available in the last year, but it’s hard to care about the latest one. This is disappointing, but we need to expect more of this in the future.

Since our city — and, more prevalently, state — is putting its stamp on the craft beer industry with great breweries and even better beer drinkers, we should expect more carpetbaggers trying to capture our attention. Sometimes it’s acceptable or welcomed because certain breweries offer something interesting, or at least add to the conversation. The best thing I can say about the Deschutes brews I tried: “They’re drinkable.”

Now this isn’t a condemnation — I’ll reserve that for a “community market” buying up an overly-hyped hopped seasonal and “allegedly” boasting about its stock through social media — but there’s nothing I can recommend from Deschutes.

The Black Butte Porter is what Deschutes is most known for, and while I had enjoyed this beer a couple years ago, I found it paltry this time around. This is most likely due to my palate changing, but since it’s billed as one of the best porters around, all I have to say is nope. It’s a solid, if completely forgettable version.

The two other Deschutes I sampled were actually more disappointing, mainly because each also came with a quality reputation. The Hop Henge (experimental) IPA actually angered me. (Alcohol that angers me is generally reserved for tequila.) Hop Henge boasts the use of four hops, two of which are new strands that piqued my interest, but for an IPA its hoppy-ness is lame. I expected extreme something, but it wasn’t there.

The Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale (NWPA) was the best of the three, but hardly anything to write home about. The overall quality to these is best described as watery or bland. Or just, meh.

Photo by Tessa Berg