Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Deschutes Special Releases — Fresh Hop Mirror Pond vs. No. 2

Deschutes Brewery
Fresh Hop Mirror Pond 
Pale Ale
ABV 5%

Clear dark orange.
Intense floral grassy hops.
Big fresh grassy, citrusy hops.
Hops vs. Malts
(Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Finish: Roasted malts and mild bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):
Good +

Deschutes Brewery/

Boulevard Brewing
Conflux Series No. 2
(White India Pale Ale) 
ABV 7.3%

Clear pale yellow.
Aroma: Yeasty funk, meat, perfume, honey and spicy piny hops.
Flavor: Lemony and acidic with some funky yeast flavors.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Balanced
Finish: Mild lemony metallic bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good

Blow by Blow
With all the bakery preparations we are going to ease back on the Bottle Battles. We will still conduct battles as we find time, but they will no longer be a weekly event. For now we'll shoot for one a month and see how it goes from there. Thanks to everyone who has followed along with us. It's been a lot of fun and we've learned a ton about craft beer along the way.

This month's battle features two bottles from one of our favorite breweries, Deschutes Brewery in Bend. Deschutes is one of those craft breweries that has both a great lineup of everyday beers (Mirror Pond, Inversion, Black Butte) and a very impressive selection of special release beers. After enjoying their Fresh Hop Mirror Pond on tap the last couple of years, we were very excited to see it available in bottles for the first time this year. Hopheads rejoice! Fresh hop season is upon us! Matched up with the Fresh Hop we chose the collaboration beer made by Deschutes and Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City called No. 2 (since it's the second in the Conflux series).

The Fresh Hop was everything we hoped it would be, offering up that unmistakable grassy fresh hop aroma to go along with a solid, roasty malt backbone. If you like hops you need to get some of this and drink it immediately. 

The No. 2 easily shed the stigma of its questionable name (perhaps they should have just skipped the number two like some elevators skip the thirteenth floor?) with a very intriguing and complex aroma that featured everything from honey to meat. They call the beer a "White IPA" and explain that it is a combination of Deshute's skills of making hoppy beers with Boulevard's skills with making wheat beers.They also threw in some spices that we learned recently are common in Belgian witbiers. So to be more specific, it is a Belgian Witbier crossed with an IPA. Intriguing? Yes. Ambitious? Yes. Awesome? Not quite. It definitely had a lot going on, but all of he disparate qualities didn't quite mesh together in our opinion.
Winner by unanimous decision: Fresh Hop Mirror Pond

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