Editor's Note: So many beers, so little time. One Big Bottle spotlights the brews we're sipping, one by one.
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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. Like twins, Collaboration No. 2 and Conflux No. 2 each have their own personality.
Boulevard's Collaboration No. 2 pours a hazy yellow gold with a fluffy white head that leaves a fair amount of lacing behind. It's incredibly aromatic. The sage is at the forefront, flanked by orange peel, coriander, and pine. The first sip brings tangerine and herbal hops supported by a creamy malt backbone. Collaboration No. 2's bitterness is moderate, and its slightly sweet wheat creates a very smooth mouthfeel. This is the softest IPA you'll ever drink.
Its sibling, Conflux No. 2 from Deschutes, is a bit bolder in the glass. With stronger aromas of citrus and tropical fruits and slightly restrained herbal notes, at first this beer presents what we generally expect from a Northwest IPA. But the yeast's bubblegum and spice aromas were more pronounced here than in Boulevard's version. Conflux also packs more of the bitterness most people expect from an IPA, but it remains balanced. Lively carbonation leads to a crisp finish.
If you can get your hands on both, it's worth drinking them side by side.
Sample provided for review.