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Craft Beer Scene Around Rockford: Fresh Squeezed IPA: Deschutes’ ‘MVB’ (Most Valuable Beer)
By Michael Sears
President, Forest City Brewers
The beautiful weather just keeps on going — are you making the most of it?
This week, I would like to discuss an IPA that is a bit unusual. Its name is Fresh Squeezed IPA, and the brewery is Deschutes.
Gary Fish established the Deschutes Brewery as a small brew pub in 1988 in downtown Bend, Oregon, naming it after the Deschutes River. Mr. Fish emphasized a community-based approach to his business, stating, “We want people to feel like this is, in a lot of ways, theirs.”
In its first year, Deschutes made 310 barrels of beer — and by 1992, 3,900 barrels. An expansion in 1993 created the ability to brew in 50-barrel batches (one barrel equals 31 gallons). Deschutes now has two brew houses, distributing its beer in 21 states. In 2012, the brewery expanded its brewing facility again to 105,000 barrels per year.
New equipment installed will contain a water reuse system, saving the company thousands of gallons of water per year, as well as a carbon dioxide capture system from the fermentation process, which will decrease waste to the city sewer system. The company purchases or offsets 100 percent of electrical power usage from renewable sources.
Deschutes Brewery donates $1 per barrel sold to local and national charities and participating fund-raisers and topped a quarter million dollars in 2013.
Fresh Squeezed IPA has a respectable (60 IBUs [International Bitterness Units scale]) and unique hop bill utilizing Nugget hops for the bittering and Citra and Mosaic hops for the aroma and flavor profile. According to the website: “This mouthwateringly delicious IPA gets its flavor from a heavy helping of Citra and Mosaic hops. Don’t worry, no fruit was harmed in the making of this beer.”
Fresh Squeezed is available year-round, packaged in bottles at a deceptive 6.4 percent ABV (alcohol by volume).
The pour is a clear — a glowing orange beer topped by a large, two-finger-depth, off-white head that fades slowly to about a half-inch, leaving a nice lacing as it recedes with lots of tiny bubbles rising slowly. A very good-looking beer, bordering on sexy.
The aroma is an intoxicating blend of tropical fruit consisting of melon, tangerine, mango and grapefruit. There is also some caramel and hints of floral and piney resin. It smells wonderful.
The first sip offers a juicy fruit flavor at the front and a good dose of caramel sweetness that balances the hop very well. The grapefruit and pine come through with a low bitterness bite as you swallow, making this complex and tasty.
The mouth feel is medium-bodied and creamy, with the right amount of carbonation, combining for a nice, almost silky feeling on the tongue and throat.
Overall, this is a really unusual beer for an IPA, not a palate-wrecker, but just bitter enough to keep all the fruitiness from being cloying. My wife liked this beer because of the subdued bitterness and pronounced fruitiness, which comes from the generous amounts of Mosaic and Citra hops. I will have no problems with the five bottles I have left in the fridge, which won’t last very long.
Deschutes always satisfies the craft beer lover, but I feel this one deserves an MVB ranking (Most Valuable Beer) in their lineup. Thank you, and I believe I’ll have another?
Michael Sears is the president of the Forest City Brewers. The Forest City Brewers is a home-brewing club dedicated to the art of finely-crafted beer. The club meets on the first Wednesday of each month at Thunder Bay Grille on East State Street. For more about Forest City Brewers, go to http://forestcitybrewers.org. If you have comments or recommendations, please contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Aug. 6-12, 2014, issue