How I made it almost a month into this without choosing a Deschutes Brewery beer, I have no idea, but it's about time! Deschutes is to Oregon what Sierra Nevada is to California... the biggest microbrew in the state with a solid line of northwest-inspired year round brews, always anticipated seasonal ales, and an exceptional line of reserve and limited release beers for the more adventurous beer drinkers. I've been sitting on a bottle of Jubel 2010 since February of last year (who else makes a beer with a "Best After" date that's a year out from when it was bottled), but chose the more subdued Jubelale Winter Ale for the evening.
Jubelale, which is slightly different each year to reflect the whims of the brewer, poured a dark brown coffee in the mug with red accents and a creamy tan head. The nose was malty cocoa with a hoppy pine bite to it.
Upon consumption, Jubelale proved itself to be surprisingly different from past years- starting with a fruity crisp hop front backed by a sweet, chocolaty malt undertone that quickly took center stage. The beer ended with a thick, hot chocolate coating in the mouth and a lingering subtle bitterness.
Deschutes Jubelale is neither heavy as a stout nor sweet as a chocolate-brewed beer... it is easy to drink and cleverly gives nod to the season (pine hops, chocolate malt) while side-stepping the cloying overtness of most flavored or novelty brews. Cheers to Deschutes!
An aside- Each year, Deschutes commissions an Oregon artist to create the label art for Jubelale. For those fortunate enough to have access to Jubelale each year, this poster is a blast from the past.