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How would you rate Deschutes?

Discussion in 'US - Northwest' started by wesbray, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. It's one of a very select few US brews we get up here, and during my trip to the US in July is it worth the trip into Bend?
  2. PDXHops

    PDXHops Savant (475) South Carolina Nov 19, 2008

    Deschutes is awesome, but this inquiry could go in a lot of different directions. For starters, you'll find their year-round and seasonal sixers in pretty much every grocery store and bottle shop in OR. Will your trip take you to Portland as one of the main destinations? There's a Deschutes pub there if you're looking for more "special" stuff. What sort of trip, how long, etc.??
  3. I'll be visiting Portland, its not solely a beer trip (I have to justify a few beer stops to the missus!). I'll be going through Portland, down to San Fran, then to San Diego.
  4. Is.it at a similar level of quality as, say, Firestone Walker/Russian River/Stone?
  5. PDXHops

    PDXHops Savant (475) South Carolina Nov 19, 2008

    Bend is great, but note that it takes 3+ hours to get there from Portland, so it's kinda out of the way. Hitting the Deschutes brewery in Portland might be your best bet.

    http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/16862/?view=beerfly

    And of course, as you may have noticed in browsing the NW forum, there are a few other places to grab a beer while you're in Portland as well. ;)
  6. Chou

    Chou Aficionado (205) Oregon Apr 17, 2012

    It has a similar following as those mentioned above. They have a brewery in Bend, small brewery and taproom in Portland. They're both always busy with locals and tourists alike, families, business meetings, couples, people with tasting trays... they are not my *favorite* brewery, but no one would ever blame you for checking them out in either PDX or Bend (Bend is beautiful). They seem, to me, that typical "if you visit one brewery in Portland..." solid choice. Fun taprooms. Their winter special releases have a following like some of the "Best By" Stones and RRs.
  7. PDXHops

    PDXHops Savant (475) South Carolina Nov 19, 2008

    My $0.02 is that yes, Deschutes definitely is in the same league with those esteemed breweries. However, I'd recommend checking out some of the "little guys" while you're in the area, too. Portland's beer scene is pretty unique, with a ton of brewpubs, beer bars, breweries, etc. Check out a few of the "where to go in Portland?" threads that pop up periodically for ideas.

    Edit: Since it's not solely a beer trip, it's worth noting that most decent restaurants are going to have a local beer or 2 on tap as well. You don't have to go on a "greatest hits of BA" pub crawl type thing to get a sense of how much great beer is a part of life there.
    djbreezy and vurt like this.
  8. I was planning to visit Hair of the Dog aswell. Anywhere else (bar/bottle stores) that are a must?
  9. John_M

    John_M Moderator (1,100) Oregon Oct 25, 2003 Staff Member

    I like Deschutes a lot, but that's an extremely long detour, just to visit the Bend facility (roughly 5 hours round trip). As PDXHops mentioned, there is a Deschutes brewpub facility in downtown Portland, and they typically offer most of the same beers you'll find up in Bend, including a few brewpub only offerings. Also (as PDXHops also mentioned), Deschutes stuff is readily available in Portland... even Trader Joe's, Safeway and Albertson's will likely have the core beers. New Sesons, Market of Choice, Whole Foods, Zupan and Fred Meyers, along with the better bottle shops (Belmont Station, BeerMongers, John's Marketplace, etc.) will have most of the limited release stuff as well.

    Personally, I think it's fun to visit the PDX brewpub, just to try the large selection of draft offerings there. However, if you're just looking for bottles, I'd hit one of the many high end grocery stores and/or bottle shops in town. If time is a concern, then probably John's will be your best bet, as it's a very short drive to and from I-5, just south of downtown Portland.

    I don't mean to dissuade you from driving up to Bend if you have your heart set on making the drive. However, be sure to hit some of the other great breweries and watering holes in town, if you're going to make that long drive anyway. I really wouldn't recommend driving up to Bend, just to visit the brewery and buy some Deschutes beer.
    vurt and beertunes like this.
  10. My friend in Portland says that Hopworks Urban Brewery is amazing and has great food. I would highly recommend their beer, especially their ipa.
  11. Lordkrystic

    Lordkrystic Savant (265) Washington Jul 18, 2012


    Cascade is walking distance from HOTD and well worth the walk.
    checktherhyme and vurt like this.
  12. beertunes

    beertunes Poobah (1,035) Washington Sep 24, 2007

    A lot depends on what else you like to do with your time, but I'd strongly recommend a visit to Bend. Lots of very good-to-great breweries in a small area, lots of outdoors activities, a visit to the High Desert Museum http://www.highdesertmuseum.org/ , and then a visit to Crater Lake on your way South. But you'll be able to find Deschutes beers easily throughout your trip. Maybe you could even try to visit all places on the Deschutes beer labels: http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/landmarks .
    draheim likes this.
  13. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (835) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    Bend is not conveniently located for anything but outdoor activities, beer, and Mars rover testing. If you're not an outdoorsy type and just want to go pubcrawliing, Portland is a better bet. Also, no Skiing in July, which is one of the major appeals of the area around Bend.
  14. When I first starting getting into beer I thought they were really good but over the years I have found them to be just ok with some good one-offs. They do make pretty consistent flavored beer but I don't really seek them out or buy their beer anymore, except things like abyss.
    In 2002 the black butte porter was 5.9% abv, in 2005 it was 5.6%, in 2008 it was 5.4%, and now it is 5.2% abv. Lowering abv over the years is really weak (please stop) and the only reason I can think of why they did it is because as they get more popular and try to get their beer out to more people so they may have had to cut back on ingredients or fermentation time???
    I do give them credit for expanding my craft beer horizon and I think they are great for people who are new to craft beer. But I think Firestone Walker/Russian River/Stone are way better...
    I am more excited to see what ex-brewmaster Larry Sidor will do over at his new place Crux Fermentation.
  15. Thanks guys, i'm thinking i'll probably stick to the Portland pub, going to try the range available here in Northern Canada (quite a few, surprisingly) to get a taste for it.
  16. DimensionX

    DimensionX Savant (325) Oregon Oct 1, 2010

    the portland pub is worth a visit, they do some one off beers that vary in quality but are really good sometimes. I would definitely ask for a taster first though. sometimes they even have Abyss on nitro, not to be missed.
  17. 8eer

    8eer Aficionado (110) Oregon Mar 27, 2010

    Your friend is not a foodie. But the beer is pretty good.
    teddyarrowhead and guajolote like this.
  18. So here's what i'm thinking. I'll take the I-5 from Vancouver (BC, not OR) to Portland, then head back onto the 101 to SF, then down to LA and San Diego. I'll then head back up to Sacramento then Seattle. The only breweries i'm planning to go out of my way for are Firestone Walker and Russian River. Good plan?
  19. DimensionX

    DimensionX Savant (325) Oregon Oct 1, 2010

    eh, the beer isn't that good either
    8eer likes this.
  20. I've had seven Crux beers so far. The Four Pound Sterling IPA was a bit buttery, and the Flanders Red is in a pre-soured stage, but everything else was fantastic. I really like Outcast, Sugar Daddy, Long Day and the Bavarian Hefeweissen.

    Can't wait to get back down to Bend, I helped set the place up and haven't been back down since Memorial Day.
  21. If you're in Chilliwack you'd find all kinds of US beers in Vancouver. Closest bet would be Central City liquor store. Out of the way but at least you don't need to cross the border. I've seen many rare US beers in YVR that you can never find in the US even sometimes.

    Anyways, did the Deschutes (Bend Brewery) tour May of last year and had a great time. It's quite a large brewery and you get a very good tour compared to some of the smaller ones I've been on. Free tasting at the end. Bend is about 2.5-3 hrs from PDX though, and the highway could be iffy depending which way you go, although if you're from the 'wack it shouldn't be any big concern. It's a beautiful drive in spring, winter might be even nicer if it's clear.

    Don't think I'd put Deschutes on the same level as FW/RR/Stone but they do put out some very solid beers. If you're only going to taste the beer check out the brewpub in PDX as they have one-offs there quite regularly and you'd still likely get Abyss now.

    Sounds like an awesome drive! We're going down to Portland later this month but FW and RR would be worth going out of your way for imo when you're driving all the way to San Diego.
  22. I haven't updated my address in a long time, i'm actually now living in Northern Alberta which is going to add about 13 hours to the drive!

    Yeah it's going to be an awesome trip, still on the fence over whether to head to Bend or not, may just be a case of seeing how tired I am when I get there (although I will be in Portland for at least a couple of days).
  23. 120 out of 100
  24. wow that's a REALLY long drive now, good luck!
  25. If you're going to Bend solely for Deschutes, you are better off staying in Portland. Bend does have some other breweries that are worthwhile, i.e. Crux, Ale Apothecary, Boneyard, and Worthy (can't vouch for their beers yet) will have a quite opening in February I hear.
  26. An average brewery with a select number of phenomenal beers. Some of their 6 pack beer is drinkable but its generally a pass for me. Although for $6.99 on sale at QFC I'll drink a shit load of Jubelale. I look forward to them dropping more limited release beers. 25 years in the game so you have to give them respect.
    WassailWilly likes this.
  27. sukwonee

    sukwonee Advocate (535) Washington Dec 13, 2011

    Stick to Portland. They have Deschuttes brewpub there too.

    They also have HOTD, Cascade, Upright, HUB, etc.etc.
  28. A stop at Russian River is definitely recommended. Visited there a couple of years ago. Great brewpub!
  29. PDXHops

    PDXHops Savant (475) South Carolina Nov 19, 2008

    If an average brewery makes Red Chair, Mirror Pond, Black Butte, Obsidian, Hop Henge, Hop in the Dark, Jubelale, etc., then I don't want to go to heaven; put me in a box and ship me back to Oregon when I croak.
    digita7693, vurt and Dogfishipas like this.
  30. John_M

    John_M Moderator (1,100) Oregon Oct 25, 2003 Staff Member

    Hard to say whether it's a good plan or not without knowing your objectives. The drive along the Oregon Coast is quite beautiful, but it will also add at least a couple hours onto your trip down to SF. Still, if you've got the time and have never made the drive before (and are in no rush to get to SF), then it's not a bad idea. However, if you're making the drive along the coast, I assume that the Bend option is out (you really don't want to have to drive over to Bend from the Oregon Coast).

    If you do decide to go that route, you might want to consider visiting Pelican Brewing (very good beers, and the brewpub is right on the water - would make a great lunch stop), and/or the tasting room at the Rogue Brewery in Newport. There are also some interesting options along your route in N. California as well, but I'm not sure I'd call any of them "must stops" along the way. Have fun and good luck.
  31. teddyarrowhead

    teddyarrowhead Savant (330) Oregon Oct 23, 2009

    Deschutes has always been one of the very best breweries in Oregon for me - partially for the beer, partially for their level of constant experimentation, and partially because of how they treat their customers. Of course, I lived a block from the PDX pub for the first 4 years it was open, visited at least weekly for dinner, and tried over 200 different beers from them in that time span, so I am quite biased.

    90% of the time I'd go in there, a new beer or three was on tap. Pretty much everything was above average, some were phenomenal. Many of the bartenders are the same as when they opened, and to this day, when I (or any of their regulars for that matter) sit down at the bar, they're quick to throw a few samples of the newest stuff on tap my way.

    Being able to taste things like Hop Henge and Hop in the Dark as they tweaked the recipes along the way - they bottled the 7th variation of HH and the 15th of HitD - was pretty much a beer geek's dream. I still insist Hop Henge Experimental #4 and Black Hole Sun - HitD #13 before it was called that - were the best versions, to the bartender's rolling their eyes and calling me a nerd.

    I think I just talked myself into a Friday power lunch at the pub.
    digita7693 likes this.
  32. Lordkrystic

    Lordkrystic Savant (265) Washington Jul 18, 2012


    Beer always makes the food taste better! Though the Thai Pizza I had there was pretty slamming.
  33. I'll drink my Fremont beer and you drink your Deschutes. No skin off my back. :)
  34. PDXHops

    PDXHops Savant (475) South Carolina Nov 19, 2008

    Don't think I've ever had any of Fremont's stuff; they're definitely on my to-do list for my next trip to the NW.
  35. bosco123

    bosco123 Aficionado (130) Oregon May 26, 2008

    Please,please hit Lagunitas! Never a disappointment. Also,on your way out of Oregon..Caldera in Ashland is a most excellent choice too.
  36. I was also considering Lagunitas...so many breweries and so little time!
  37. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    Straight up, Deschutes is the shiot. Their year rounds are solid and their limited releases are world class IMO. But I wouldnt go 3 hrs out of my way to get it. I suggest staying in the portland area and picking up w/e deschutes you can get + all the amazing local brews you can get.
  38. Wetpaperbag

    Wetpaperbag Savant (415) Washington Aug 14, 2007

    I enjoy Deschutes. When I go to the store to grab a six pack I always give them a look. My wife and I like going to the Portland brew pub, the food is solid and I try and pick up a growler of stuff they don't bottle too.

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