Review: Deschutes Brewery Late 2018 Releases
It wouldn’t be January without our attempt to clean up a mess of late 2018 releases that we didn’t have time to review last year… so here goes, a full quintet from Oregon’s Deschutes!
Deschutes Brewery The Abyss Aged Stout 2018 Edition – We missed last year’s Abyss bottling, so it’s fun to play catch-up with this rarity. This reserve stout, brewed as always with blackstrap molasses, licorice, cherry bark, and vanilla, is 50% aged for 12 months in a combination of bourbon, new oak, and wine barrels (though the proportions aren’t broken down this year.) The licorice really pops on this year’s brew, its raisin and dark chocolate notes melding perfectly. Gritty and powerful, yet wrapped in a proverbial velvet glove, it’s a bittersweet beauty that swings effortlessly between various notes of bitter hops, silky malt, and burly wood influence, making for one of the finest Abyss bottlings I’ve ever had. 11% abv. A / $18 per 22 oz bottle
Deschutes Brewery The Dissident 2018 – Deschutes’ iconic cherry-infused Belgian sour is back, this time in three versions (one with marionberries instead of cherries, one with 100% brettanomyces instead of rando wild yeast). This is the standard version, oak-aged and pungent as ever. The fresh cherry notes dance across the tongue on first sip, then the beer dives headlong into powerful sourness, pouring on the mushroom funk, oaky wood tannins, and intense fruit vinegar notes. The charming attack is quickly outpaced by the later-game intensity — which is about as love-it-or-hate-it as it gets in the beer world. 10.8% abv. B / $20 per 22 oz bottle
Deschutes Brewery Chasin’ Freshies IPA (2018) – Another beer missed in ’17, this annual release (which focuses on a different hops strain each year) includes Strata hops for 2018, a strain first bred in 2009. It’s a nice departure from the usual, featuring notes of mint plus a distant hint of oregano. The body is somewhat wanting on this 65 IBU brew, however, giving it a session-like weight despite its high alcohol level. Pleasant enough, though. 7.4% abv. B / $10 per six-pack
Deschutes Brewery Baltic Porter – This former taproom-only beer moves to bottles as part of the Just Tapped series. Richly malty (and loaded with alcohol), it’s a solid example of the style with pronounced notes of molasses, chicory coffee, and licorice candy. Burly but not overbearing, its heavy body and lingering finish should carry anyone through these winter months. 8% abv. B+ / $10 per six-pack
Deschutes Brewery Jubelale Winter Ale 2018 – This year’s wintry Jubelale feels more restrained than usual, and that’s not a bad thing. The notes of raisins, baking spices, and licorice feel well-integrated into the slightly sweet, sticky-toffee palate, with notes of red fruits and gingerbread lingering on the soothing finish. A special winter treat, as always. 6.7% abv. A- / $10 per six-pack