Tag Archives: Deschutes

The Organic Problem

I don’t know what it is, but organic beers always have the same problem for me; the dirt aftertaste. I don’t mean dirty, like there’s some kind of grit or errant nodule that’s made its way into the beer, I mean that when the beer leaves my mouth, my throat and tongue taste like I’ve put them in dirt. It doesn’t seem to matter who makes the beer, or what style of beer it is, I’d say 85% of the time I still feel like I’ve tasted dirt.

Which is why I tend to avoid organic beers. And you know how it is when you don’t like something; you tell 10 people and they tell 10 people and so on–so you end up having a whole group of people who avoid organic beers, for better or worse.

deschutes green lakesIt had been suggested by my girlfriend that we go and get a hot dog at Zack’s Shack for dinner. A blond, curly haired stoner dude with a pleasant attitude right out of the Spicoli playbook told us that the cash register was down for a moment so he’d charge us later, and in the meantime took our orders for hot dogs (a NY dog for her, garlic and cheese for me) and poured us two Green Lake ales. My expectations were low, but Deschutes is still Deschutes; they’ve earned my respect.

And the Green Lake Ale is very, very smooth. Munching hot dogs in a tiny place with Band of Horses and Radiohead posters on the side and a Ms Pac Man tabletop machine, this beer works great. I don’t know how Deschutes did it, but they made a fine pale ale that has a gentle bitterness at the end, but no dirt aftertaste. Then again, I don’t know why organic ales had to taste like dirt to begin with, so the secret to getting this one right eludes me.

I didn’t mind; the fries were hot and something has to wash down my garlic dog, so the Green Lake worked great.

This post may become utterly meaningless after this Friday, when I attend the Organic Brewer’s Festival. But I can look forward to eating those words, I think.

Dos and Don’ts

Invited to lunch with thedr9wningman, we quickly settle on the Deschutes brewpub for food. I order a small pizza, which is definitely taking up too much space in my body at this time, and he has a mushroom sandwich. Politics and beer and general happenings are discussed, and all is good. Except for one thing.

Deschutes has a long track record for making good beers. However, I’ve been running across this ‘style’ for awhile, and I suppose it’s time for me to speak out on it. Enticed years ago by a lovely maple vanilla stout, I tried the Kilgorian Baltic Vanilla Porter. This is not the first vanilla porter I’ve had, and I’ve come to one conclusion.

Vanilla porter is not a good thing. Vanilla is too strong a flavor to be blended with a porter. Porters are lighter, the mouthfeel thinner, and basically don’t have the backbone to stand up to a flavor like vanilla, where stouts do. The beer ends up tasting like a weird soda pop. 

I’m not sure what the do is here. Maybe; Make a vanilla stout?