Deschutes Has Come To Illinois. So, How Is It?

In Beer News, Beer Reviews by Karl

Over the past month or two, the near-totality of beer press has revolved around the arrival of super popular West Coast brewery Deschutes.

They’re from Portland! People adore their porter! We couldn’t previously get their beer without some serious travel or shipping costs so let’s freak out for just a bit!

We’re equally to blame. We’ve covered the announcements, the distribution staffing changes, even the market managers. But what we haven’t seen is a description of the beers itself – until now.

We were provided the core beers from Deschutes gratis, for review purposes. We figured instead of straight reviews, why not put together quick snapshots of each beer and then give a Midwestern comparison? What is the Chainbreaker IPA most like? If you like which Midwestern porter, will you take to the Black Butte? All those questions and more, will be answered with the following:

Black Butte Porter

Like a stronger, bolder porter turned down to about 70% strength, there’s flavor here but it’s not “jump up and punch you in the face” kind of heartiness.

Midwestern Comparison: It’s got some nice richness and some peanut butter savoriness in the finish, but overall this beer reminds me more of a Bell’s Porter than a Founders or a Revolution Eugene.

When you don’t want to think too much about your porter, and are looking for something with some presence but nothing too aggressive, this porter will work for you.

Chainbreaker White IPA

Now this is what we’re talking about. This beer smells good, tastes good, looks good.

Nice and bright lemon in the aroma and the flavor, hazy light color like an early spring afternoon, Plenty of citrus and bitterness in this brew, which finishes with a healthy amount of sharp hoppiness along with continued fruit flavor.

More From GDB:  Review: New Holland Red Citra

Midwestern Comparison: Fans of 5 Lizard (and we certainly count ourselves among them) will recognize a lot to like in this beer – it’s quite similar in flavor and appearance, if considerably less creamy in body.

Mirror Pond Pale Ale

The lightest and pale-est pale I’ve had in a while, this brew poured with next to no aroma, and very restrained flavors overall. Perhaps I’ve just become used to the hardcore, sharp, super-bitter pale ales (yes, Zombie Dust comes to mind here) but this is almost like a pale ale with training wheels on.

Midwestern Comparison: A good entry point to the style for those who are hops-averse, but overall fairly tame. Nowhere near as aggressive as a Daisy Cutter or even a Green Line, we’re going to call this one close to Point’s Cascade Pale Ale although it’s admittedly been a while since we’ve had one.

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About the Author



Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago, AskMen and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, is now available via Amazon and other booksellers. If you're buying, he's likely having a porter or a pale ale.

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