Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Deschutes River Ale

Without much fanfare, Deschutes has added a wonderful session ale to its roster of year-round six-packs:  Deschutes River Ale.   Its strength of 4% ABV means it is actually what some states call "3-2 beers" -- 3.2% alcohol by weight.  I wonder if that means they can sell it in grocery stores in 3.2 states like Utah, Colorado, and Oklahoma, and if that was part of the brewery's strategy or just a happy accident.

Although it's a 3-2 beer and the brewery describes it as "golden or blonde", it's a little darker than that, and you won't have any trouble distinguishing it from fizzy yellow swill.  It's got a satisfying, slightly sweet malt body, with a nice dose of flowery hops but very little bitterness.  Jeff Alworth has more flavor analysis over at Beervana.

I first tried River Ale last fall when the Portland pub had an absolutely delicious fresh-hop version of it on tap.  Luckily, the regular version out now is nearly as good, and given its pedigree as an English-style bitter, it's really nice if you happen to catch it on the cask engine at one of the Deschutes pubs.  Meanwhile, six-packs are starting to appear on shelves around town.  Give it a try when you need a beer that you can have a few of without making a fool of yourself.  Well, not a complete fool.

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