The Bane of Pumpkin Beers

Ed. Note: What follows is a rant by friend & sponsor of the blog Brent Osborn. As always if you’ve got something you want to say then shoot me an email at Tom@QueenCityDrinks.com and I’ll check it out. Personally, I abhor pumpkin beers, plus many other writers have already trodden this path. But, since Brent felt like ranting I was happy to post it!


Fall’s just around the corner.

Fall is a wonderful season: leaves changing color, 2015-09-02football games, Reese’s pumpkins, hoodies, fires, and all that good stuff. Yet it’s also a time I dread for one very specific reason: the pumpkin-spice apocalypse. The list of pumpkin-spiced things has grown from run-of-the-mill lattes to include Oreos, gum, and even english muffins. But the worst culprit—the bane of my existence this time of year—is the pumpkin beer. And in case you didn’t notice the endcaps are full of pumpkin beers.

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Beer Review: Deschutes Hop Henge

Deschutes Hop Henge is an interesting idea for beer. They shake things up each year with different hops and any new hop-related processes or techniques developed recently. Sounds similar to the wet hop seasonal IPAs but with less focus on ultra-fresh hops and more on doing something slightly different.

This year they went with Millennium hops which aren’t new and as the name implies are from the year 2000. I’d never heard of Millennium hops until reading about this beer. According to Hop Union they’re used for bittering and “resinous with herbal and floral tones.” Anyway, here’s Deschutes blurb, then facts on the beer and my thoughts after the jump.

Stonehenge is a mystery. Hop Henge is a discovery. Millennium, Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops come together to erect a hop sanctuary. Revere the almighty hop!

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Beer Review: Deschutes The Abyss

This is the one you’ve been waiting for. Ever since rumors first surfaced of Deschutes bringing their beer to Ohio folks who knew of Deschutes had two words on their lips, The Abyss.

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Simply put The Abyss is Deschutes take on bourbon barrel imperial stouts. Less simply I present Deschutes blurb on their beer:

A deep, dark Imperial Stout, The Abyss has almost immeasurable depth and complexity. Hints of molasses, licorice and other alluring flavors make it something not just to quaff, but contemplate.

As for the great “drink it now or let it age” debate, we stand clearly on the fence. Distinct and delicious on release, the flavors meld and fuse into an entirely different pleasure after a year or more in the cellar.

Let’s get on to what I think…

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Beer Review: Deschutes Jubelale

Kyle is back with another guest post while I figure out how to set him up with a permanent account. -Tom

It’s definitely Winter.  The first snowfall is still apparent out my window, clinging to yards and shrubs with the help of frigid temperatures.  Jubelale did little to warm me up.  The night before I tried this beer, I had a really high ABV barley wine from a certain brewery in Delaware, and THAT did an excellent job of warming me up from the inside out.

The artwork on the label is nifty, and has a cool back story.  This is the 27th year that Jubelale has been bottled by Deschutes; itDeschute's Jubelale was the first beer ever they bottled!  For the last 20 years, the artwork has changed each year, as Deschutes has selected a new artist local to the Bend, Oregon area to design the label.  This year is no exception.  Twin sisters Lori and Lisa Lubbesmeyer of Lubbesmeyer Studio worked together yet separately to let this year’s label art emerge spontaneously through the process of layering and overstitching different fabrics until the image you see on the label appeared. Here’s a look at the different label artwork for Jubelale dating back to 1988.

Jubelale

Brewery: Deschutes (Bend, OR)
Beer: Jubelale (2014)
Style: Winter Warmer
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: 60

Appearance:

Deep brown with a faint red tint near the glass
Minimal head that recedes quickly

Aroma:

Malted grain, pitted fruit, cherries, dates, red grapes

 Taste:

More dates and grapes
Hop bitterness bite on the finish

Mouthfeel:

Very clean, nothing lingers
Thin body

 Overall:

This is a nice beer to take a big gulp.  I can definitely see a six-pack of this being shared amongst long-separated friends.  The mental image comes to mind of sitting in a basement around a table reminiscing with friends over a beer and a deck of cards.  Jubelale is definitely more sessionable than many of the more “spicy” Winter seasonal releases from other breweries.  The 6.7% ABV may limit that a bit, but it goes down easily on its own, and I’m sure the salty and sweet and savory snacks – I can’t be the only person eagerly awaiting ginger bread cookies – prominent at many holiday parties would only enhance this.

IMG_2088Maybe I had misguided expectations, but I went into this with an anticipation that Jubelale would be more along the lines of an English barley wine.  There was a similarity, but it was very faint.  However, it definitely hits Beer Advocate’s description of an English-style winter warmer square on the head.  With that said, it’s a good overall beer, but I can’t see myself knocking down people in a store to get to a six-pack.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I reached out to Deschutes when I first heard rumor of them coming to Ohio. They sent a couple of bottles then and have continued to send  more, including this one which I passed on to Kyle. To our readers, and any breweries interested in sending me samples, giving us free beer does not guarantee you a favorable review, though I do promise we will review your product and publish a post on it.