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Friday, November 18, 2011

10 Barrel Brewing Flight (Bend, OR)

10 Barrel Brewing, my last pub stop on my Bend trip, was located across the river and was the only bar I actually needed to drive to.  The pub was the first sports-centric place I visited in Bend, but the location and decor were well suited to the brewery vibe.  Surprisingly, their S1NIST0R Black Ale was unavailable.

10 Barrel Mike-Saw-A-Sasquatch Session Ale- This playfully named (one assumes) session ale managed an interesting balance of a grainy, semi-sweet start and a dry finish with a touch of corn.  This ale was almost Pilsner-like with its lemony, grassy hops and crisp malt.

10 Barrel India Session Ale- Starting with light lemon and a crisp, bright lead, this ale fell somewhere between a strong NW pale ale and a weak NW IPA.  There was a lot to like with this beer, and "session" is an apt name.

10 Barrel Nightmare on 12th St. Pumpkin Ale- Spice forward, this ale was pretty much defined by pumpkin pie spices of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and ginger over a sweet malt bed of crystal and vegetal pumpkin.  A little heavy in sweetness and spice when compared to more delicate examples, Nightmare on 12th Street was still a very worthy beer.

10 Barrel Apocalypse IPA- Lemon and orange hop flavors opened the Apocalypse.  As they subsided, a slightly under-carbonated sweet malt shone through before ending on a slightly bitter, grapefruit rind note.  A good, if middle of the road, IPA.

10 Barrel Oregon Brown Ale- Not a regular offering, the Oregon Brown Ale was dry, toasty, and a pretty standard (read: unexceptional) English-style brown.

10 Barrel Stout- The stout was thick with sweet chocolate and coffee flavors, and extremely creamy considering it wasn't nitro.  A decedent, but two-dimensional, dessert.

10 Barrel Brewer's Select Faux Vino- I wasn't able to tease exactly what the target was for this ale, but I have to assume it is a very young farmhouse-style at its core.  The ale started with horse blanket and subdued barnyard funk, with white pepper biting through before mellowing into a lingering, mouth coating wave of apples, pears, and grapes.  I would have preferred to see the ale given more time to mature or have the yeast (in its current state) less aggressive, but this was still a standout for being different and (mostly) successful.

A couple of bonuses were brought out right as I was leaving:

10 Barrel Casked S1NIST0R Black Ale- I'm not a fan of most casked, hop heavy beers.  The S1NIST0R is already a little shy on hops for balance, and the casking only lessened that impact by increasing the creaminess, and therefore the perceived sweetness.

10 Barrel Poblano Ale- I believe this dark colored ale actually had the India Session Ale as a base (it was that or Mike-Saw-A-Sasquatch Ale).  The nose carried slight smokiness and a distinct twang of dried chilies.  Unlike many chile ales, this one didn't have the metallic twang or earthiness of chipotle... it led with a much fresher taste, and didn't really dry out or take on heat until the fade.  As the heat kicked in, though, there was an appreciable amount that lingered for a couple of minutes afterward.  Like all chile beers, I can't see drinking a full pint without being fatigued, but this was as excellent an offering of the style as I have tried.

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