Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bloody Red


OK, so upon closer examination of the label on Deschutes' new Red Chair IPA, it isn't as br00tal as it seemed at first. I was thinking the beer was named after some haunted ski lift chair where a grisly murder involving two teens occurred in the '70s. Nope, it's just the oldest operating lift at Mt. Bachelor. Whatever, it's still pretty metal.

This beer is part of Deschutes' Bond Street Series that pays tribute to the unique brews they offered in their original Bond Street Pub in Bend, Oregon. This IPA was apparently a hit with the regulars and so Deschutes is bottling it seasonally in 22 oz. bombers for the rest of us to enjoy. And, yeah, it's easy to see why this was popular.

It says IPA on the bottle, and Deschutes is rarely stingy with the hops, so I was expecting a very hoppy, bitter beer. But I was actually pleasantly surprised at the depth—and color—of it. It pours a nice coppery orange and smells of sweet caramel, spice and fruit. The taste ain’t exactly typical IPA, though. There’s a good dose of hops and a crisp bitter finish, but there’s a real complexity to the malt-hops interplay that almost makes it taste more like an ESB. It’s fruity, floral, rich and yet still really easy to drink—a tough combo to pull off.

This is not a standard, cookie-cutter IPA. In fact, it’s definitely a loose interpretation of the style, but done very, very well. Dunno if I'd be drinking this a lot in the summer, but it's a nice diversion every now and then from the lighter thirst quenchers.

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