Tag Archives: Munich

Deschutes Brewery Pinedrops IPA

The second beer that I ended up with because of HyVee’s evil Fuel Saver program was Deschutes Brewery’s Pinedrops IPA:


This beer pours a lot lighter than Fresh Squeezed IPA. Therefore, I would classify this as a more traditional IPA versus the emerging American Pale Ale style of beer.

However, the light body does not provide a good sounding board for either the alcohol (6.5% ABV) or bitterness (70 IBU). Perhaps it is from the wide variety of hops used— Nugget, Northern Brewer, Chinook, Centennial, and Equinox hops—or the general level of bitterness, but this beer leaves a lingering after taste that is not particularly pleasant.

It reminds me, unfortunately, of a lot of early craft beer IPAs that left you with the feeling of having drank some bong water with your beer. Those brewers were trying to mask deficiencies in skill by piling on flavors and aromas. Having drank well done beers from Deschutes Brewery before I know there is no need for these brewers to be hiding because the talent is present in the brewhouse.

Also, with a name like Pinedrops I was expecting a heavy, resinous profile that almost made you think you were breathing in the air of a temperate coniferous rain forest. Was that too much to ask?

At this stage of the craft brewing industry in America we expect more from our IPAs:

One Mug Homebrew

See what others are saying about Deschutes Brewery Pinedrops IPA at Beeradvocate.

Deschutes Brewery Fresh Squeezed IPA

HyVee’s Fuel Saver program is the devil. You walk into the liquor store thinking you are going to pick up a fifteen pack of All Day IPA and instead you end up with something completely different because you saved $0.25 off per gallon of gas. This is how I ended up with two six-packs of different beers from Deschutes Brewery. In my defense, a total of $0.50 off per gallon of gas ends up saving me $10 when I fill up with the maximum of twenty gallons. Easy to do when road trip summers are here.

When Deschutes Brewery first came into the Iowa market I tried several of their beers and came away liking them in general. It’s been a while and I have not been tempted since for various reasons. The first beer I cracked open was Fresh Squeezed IPA:

Fresh SqueezedI had passed this beer on numerous occasions, read the label, and thought that with a name like Fresh Squeezed it should have been a fresh hopped beer. Damn marketing.

The beer pours a darker amber color than most IPAs, which makes me consider this more of an American Pale Ale. What does that mean? Whatever marketing wants it to mean, but in general I think it means more malt and body than a traditional IPA.

All of this extra body means that the beer drinks a lot easier than its 6.4% ABV and 60 IBU would suggest. Being near the golden ratio—in my opinion—of ABV to IBU the extra body of the beer hides some of the downsides of having more bitterness and bite. It essentially mellows out the more extreme elements of the alcohol and hops.  Fresh Squeezed is brewed with a combination of Citra, Mosaic, and Nugget hops. None of these really stand out as the driving element leaving the profile a little muddled or muted. Again, I was kind of bummed that this was not a fresh hopped beer.

In summary, you can do a lot worse in terms of mainstream pale ales and you ought to give Fresh Squeezed a try if you are looking to broaden your pale ale palate:

Two Mug PurchaseSee what others are saying about Deschutes Brewery Fresh Squeezed IPA at Beeradvocate.

Surly Fest & Coffee Bender

I am a big fan of the work that Surly Brewing is doing up in Minnesota.  I like a lot of the beers coming out of the brewery and the company has been a driving force in loosening some of the more insane restrictions placed on breweries.  Now, it will be possible for breweries in Minnesota to have commercial taprooms on site which makes the entire idea of a microbrewery more economically feasible.  Thank you Surly.

This trip to the Twin Cities brought Surly’s Fest and Coffee Bender to my refrigerator.

Fest is an oddity.  Wrapped in a label which evokes the season Oktoberfest beers that dominate the shelves at this time of year, the folks at Surly have made it a point to say that this is not an Oktoberfest beer in any way.  Huh?  Rather, it is “single hopped, dry hopped, rye lager bier.”  Whatever that means:

The beer is not overly strong (6.0% ABV) nor is it overly bitter (34 IBU).  Maybe I was expecting an Oktoberfest beer or a marzen because the dry hopping really stood out to me.  Dry hopping is a technique where hops are added after the boil, usually after primary fermentation but brewers are trying all different kinds of timing.  Because the hops are not added during the boil, the aromatic oils that may normally be destroyed by the high temperatures are preserved.  When you open a bottle or can of a dry hopped beer you get hit with a fistful of hop aroma.  Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes it is overpowering.

Remember in college when a stoner would open the door to his dorm room and it smelled like the inside of a bong?  A beer that has been aggressively dry hopped can have that effect.  Fest does not fall victim to that pratfall.

Overall, this is another well-executed beer from Surly.

In the past, I have written about Bender.  This is about Coffee Bender:

What can I say?  These guys took a beer I liked and added something that I really like—coffee!  Coffee Bender is the same strength (5.5% ABV) and bitterness (45 IBU) as the regular Bender, but the coffee flavor adds so much to this beer.  Unlike some other beers where coffee has been added, the regular Bender seems like a perfect platform to let the coffee flavor and aroma really shine.  It’s not lost in a mountain of hop aroma or bitterness.  The coffee also contributes a bitterness that is all its own.  This may be one of my new favorite beers.  Uh oh!

This beer has inspired me to try adding coffee to some of my forthcoming homebrews.  Maybe a coffee stout.  Until then, I will just have to bootleg Coffee Bender from the Twin Cities.

The claim is that you will not know whether to start or end your day with a Coffee Bender.  My fear is that I would finish of a half dozen of these and be wired to the gills for the rest of the evening.

My only complaint with the folks at Surly Brewing is the limited distribution of their beers.  In order to meet local demand, distribution is limited to the Twin Cities metro.  Seriously, why do you have to be so mean?