Sunday, July 11, 2010

Brews of the Pacific Northwest

I don't write all that often about beer, but it's not because I don't drink it.  It's just that wine and spirits rank slightly higher in my preference scale.  Plus, when I do drink beer the situation's not usually conducive to note taking.

But for a hot-weather backyard grill party this weekend---especially when the grilled brats and potato salad came out---it seemed eminently appropriate to have some beer on hand, so I picked up one old standard, and one old favorite label with a new release.

Mirror Pond Pale Ale by Deschutes Brewery slides easily into the category of a standard with me.  Not too hoppy, not sweet or syrupy, with a little caramel and a little toastiness, and a good solid, consistent line of flavor all the way through.  The hops are clearly there, but they are balanced out nicely with some malt that rounds out the flavor beautifully. I generally like the Deschutes beers, but the Mirror Pond Pale is pretty much the definitive one for me; it's the one that I can always feel comfortable falling back on when I'm not quite sure what I want.

I took a chance on the other beer.  But not much of a chance was involved because, after all, it was made by Full Sail, one of the best.  I tend to shy away from "Special" and "Limited Releases"; sometimes they're just experiments or market probes at the consumer's expense; and sometimes they're just outright line extensions for nothing more than shelf presence.   But since it was Full Sail, and I've enjoyed all the others they produce, I figured I'd give the Full sail LTD Pilsner Recipe #3 a try.

It was a good call.  Touted as a "crisp new pilsner style Limited Edition Lager", it was precisely that, and perfect for the warm day and sunshine. Snappy and crisp and light on the tongue, with a nice, tart, hoppy bite, it was clean and refreshing and balanced.  Nicely done beer.

So in those moments where wine is not quite right, and spirits aren't handy or appropriate, you can alwasys reach fro a beer.  And either one of these Pacific Northwest beers fits the hand perfectly.

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