We chat with Cam O'Connor, the brewmaster at Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon.
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These six beers are designed to refresh.
In addition to being a fine excuse to drink German lager, in the beer world, October is hophead Christmas. Every year more and more breweries produce "wet hopped" beers using hops that have not been dried in a kiln to preserve them. (You'll also hear the terms "fresh hopped" and "harvest," which—with the exception of some semantic beer geek controversy—are generally considered synonymous.) When tasted fresh, these beers pack an extra-special hop punch and are coveted by many.
I have a long history with The Abyss from Oregon's Deschutes Brewery. Their most recent release of this deep, dark beer was the 6th edition, and I've been enjoying it almost that long. But all too often I'd crack a bottle and think: this should be saved. This bottle could get better with proper storage and a little time. But what exactly would happen to it? I couldn't say. So last year, I tucked my bottle back into the depths of the fridge and forgot about it.
When Deschutes brewmaster Larry Sidor and Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels decided to collaborate, they harnessed their breweries' respective strengths and created two beers from the same recipe. Combining Deschutes' deft hand on the hoppy side and Boulevard's talent with all things wheat, the collaboration colors outside the style lines. It's one part Belgian Witbier, one part American IPA, a fistful of white sage, a bit of lemongrass, and voilà! White IPA. But despite starting on the same page, the two beers are quite different.
Of course, the best way to get a sense of the brewery is to do some tasting, and taster trays are a pretty great deal: for $6.50, you get six four-ounce tasting glasses. You can choose Deschutes' flagship brews or almost any of the cask pours and special seasonal beers that are available.