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The Labor of Love: Deschutes Brewery

beer in bend


Q: Why would the keepers of Deschutes Brewery dump $250,000 worth of perfectly good beer down the drain?
A: Because it wasn’t perfectly good beer. It was good beer. But it was not perfect beer.

This – plus many other interesting beer-esque tidbits – I learned at a recent media presentation at Deschutes Brewery – Bend, Oregon’s first and most successful craft brew house.

When the master brewer at Deschutes Brewery makes a presentation, he does so with a beer in his hand and the good humor of someone who loves his product. Jimmy Seifrit knows pretty much everything about the mixology of barley, hops and malt. And the effect of cherries, chocolate, orange peel, pepper and other surprising ingredients on his concoctions. And that’s just the start. Don’t even get him started on cold-steeping dark malts. It’s enough to make a grown man cry.

Such is the dedication that guides production at the sixth largest craft beer company in the country. Twenty-two years ago, the vision of Deschutes Brewery owner/president Gary Fish was to operate a cozy little brewpub in heart of downtown Bend with four labels: Cascade Golden Ale, Bachelor Bitter, Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale, all named from the region from which his dream sprung. Today, you can find seven year-round varieties of Deschutes Brewery beer and their three seasonal ales, in 16 states and British Columbia. Add to that, three “hoppy” beers in their Bond Street Series, and four brews under their under Reserve label. And despite the downward economy, sales of Deschutes Brewery beer is up 13% from last year – double their expectations.

There is a great buzz around the brewpub this week, as the much-anticipated release of Jubelale, Deschutes Brewery’s wildly popular seasonal ale, is right around the corner. This crowd pleaser is only available from October to December and sells out every year. Read more about the history, art, awards and ratings and of this celebrated ale.

Perhaps it’s not surprising to find a pretty happy crew at Deschutes Brewery, given their products’ financial and critical success. Says Seifrit, of Jubelale for example, “It’s a labor of love.”

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