Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale, Deschutes Brewing. Bend, OR. 6.2% ABV. 60 IBU’s.
Malt: Pale, Crystal, Munich, Carapils, Pilsner, Carastan.
Hops: Cascade, Centennial.
Deschutes Brewing in Bend Oregon are a rare bird in this country: Like most other Micro breweries, they have a (more or less) full lineup of beers on offer. Every self-respecting brewer has to offer an ESB, a Pale, an IPA, and now a session-IPA. Also a Stout and a Porter, and of course a white IPA, a style I cannot abide by. Several also dabble in Tripel’s and Quad’s… Most breweries I’ve tried, have one or two beers which are great! The rest are more or less forgettable.. Where Deschutes differ from (most) of the rest, is that their beers are not just catalogue-fillers: They are GOOD!! They are all within reach of their style-spec sheet, and really are very enjoyable.
Now, on to their spring seasonal, the Northwest Pale Ale Red Chair! It pours a gleaming, lovely amber-gold, with a fairly quickly dissipating off-white head. The nose is full of citrus and citrus zest. The taste is more of the same, but the lovely body comes up in the form of a full, caramely malt. These two never fight; it is from beginning to end a marriage made in … a perfect fermenter! A wave of citrus and some pine hits your tatstebuds, but do not really run away with things: Soon, the sweet body rolls in and balances things out. Even in the (forgive the pun) face of such size, the mouthfeel stays crisp, and finishes with tingles of citrus, and fading sweetness. At the end, it dries up and fades into very light bitterness, but… dang it, the malts hold on! This beer proves that if you get it right, it doesn’t have to be complex, it doesn’t have to have huge IBU’s, or sickly big malts: The key, as with most great beers, is balance. This joins a handful of beers in the world which are beautifully drinkable because they are perfectly balanced. It is so easy to knock back three or four of these puppies, and still feel as though you haven’t eaten a loaf of bread or missed out in anyway. Oh, of course there are better, more complex beers in the world! But this would be one of my top contenders for most drinkable, quaffable, dare I say (a word I hate..) sessionable! A beer to definitely buy in a twelve-pack, and quickly move the left-over mac n cheese to the side in the fridge. Grade: Medium 5.
Postlude: I have yet to have a bad beer from Deschutes. They are one of the highest quality breweries in the country, across the board. Most of their beers will not knock the planets out of their orbits, but for sheer drinkability and balance, they are hard to beat!