Red Chair NWPA

Image courtesy of Deschutes Brewery

Image courtesy of Deschutes Brewery

I’ve been dying to try something from Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR, for a long time, and finally am able to report that I have.  Exciting, I know.  I put together a mixed 6-er of their beers, and the first one up was Red Chair NWPA.  What an excellent introduction to Deschutes!  Red Chair NWPA (Northwest Pale Ale) pours a nice peachy color with a minor haze and little visible carbonation.  It floats a great, creamy beige head and leaves thick, sticky lace.  The sweet hop aroma is enticing, with mild pine notes, not catty or overly strong.  Seven select malts are used in brewing Red Chair NWPA, and the smooth, velvety texture is proof of that.  There is plenty of grain and sweet breads in the mouth, accentuated in the exhale.  There’s just enough floral hops for hop heads, but not so much that it would scare away a malt fan.  Red Chair has a touch of dryness in the finish that reminds you that this is a pale ale made with high quality hops, but it’s not in-your-face like some pales.  I’m in love with this excellent beer.  It will be a great summer brew for sure, but at 6.2% ABV, I’ll need to keep that in mind.

93/100 Pale Ale

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Stockyard: bad name, decent beer

The Chicago Stockyards stir up romantic visions of underpaid, overworked immigrants, noise, stench…so what better image to connect with a beer.  Maybe to an out-of-towner, it gives them a connection to Chicago history.  I don’t know.  Looking past Stockyard Oatmeal Stout’s bad name, this turns out to be a decent beer.  Made by Goose Island under the Stockyard Brewing Company monicker (kind of like Jagger-Richards songs being credited to Nanker-Phelge), the oatmeal stout pours black with a hint of red and produces a nice tan head.  I find a little chocolate, some coffee and some smokiness in the bouquet.  It has a nice taste, which starts a bit sharp, but the smoke and hops feel good in the mouth.  It’s a bit thin for my money, at least to be called stout, but it doesn’t detract from the experience.  Would that be more like a porter then?  The aftertaste is coffeelike, and I’m not sure if that’s so great for my taste, as I don’t drink but one or two cups of coffee a year, but it’s certainly a better beer than I expected, especially as a non-Biersch micro brew from Trader Joe’s.  (See my review of Trinity Red Ale)