Named for its proximity to the river, Deschutes Brewery began as a small brewpub in the heart of Bend, Ore. by Gary Fish. With an emphasis on community ties the company has grown from that first year production of 310 barrels of beer to an output just shy of 250,000 barrels.
Its beer is available in 28 states along with Washington, D.C., British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. That available range and output will be increasing towards the east coast with the opening of the new facility to be located in Roanoke, Va. The projected output of that new brewery is expected to be 150,00 barrels through the first year.
Today’s beer by Deschutes is in the vein of an Oud Bruin and is called The Dissident. It is a blended ale consisting of 35 percent ale aged in French oak wine barrels for 18 months and 65 percent ale brewed with Oregon Montmorency cherries from Chapin Orchards. Deschutes is one of only a few breweries to label some of its beers with best after dates, typically a year out from when they are released. As such today’s beer is from the 2015 Reserve series.
The pour shows a dark copper bordering on cherry red body with about a finger of off-white head. The clarity of the beer is anything but clear. On the nose is a bright lactic sour note with a definite cherry fruit aroma, a nice oak hit, and a noticeable note of acetic acid. Head retention and lacing is proving to be very good especially for a sour beer.
The taste is full on enamel stripping, palate assaulting sour power up front. This slightly fades and brings a vinous cherry fruit wine flavor. On the finish is a bit of oak vanillin and vinegar. The Dissident is prickly on the palate and very, very sour. The acidity is where the complexity lies in this beer, no doubt from the varied sources; cherries alone provide ascorbic, malic, citric, and tartaric. Add in lactic, acetic, and tannic acids from fermentation and you’ve got the recipe for one seriously palate destroying and gut grumbling sour beer.