The 1980s was a heady decade; from big hair to hip hop and new wave to punk - a lot of interesting stuff was taking shape. It was also an exciting era for US craft beer, and although the majority of sales were hogged by behemoth commercial brands such as Bud, Miller and Coors, the craft scene was starting to gather pace. Over the course of this decade, more than 100 microbreweries appeared, and one such brewery was today’s.
Deshutes was started in 1988 in Bend, Oregon and sold a decent 310 barrels of beer in its first year - which quickly increased to over 3000 by 1992. On the back of this success they moved to bigger facilities the following year and have continued to intermittently expand ever since, now sporting a very respectable annual production of over 250,000 barrels.
They weren’t the only brewery to kick things off in 1988, and to celebrate their 25th anniversary, Deschutes made a series of collaboration brews under the banner of Class of ‘88. Their peers, who were founded the same year, included Rogue Ales, North Coast Brewing Company and Goose Island. Not a bad cohort to be rubbing shoulders with.
When you have a good idea you are seldom alone, and It seems this was the case in 1988. Luckily, the economic and social environment allowed for them all to come to fruition.
Back to the beer. I’ve chosen the Squeezy Rider Hazy IPA - let’s give it a go.
It pours a lovely pale amber gold with a light haze. Wow the nose is supremely packed with tropical fruits, citrus and vegetal hints of dank earthy, pine - that somehow conjure up myriad colours as you sniff away. Ahhhh, sumptuous stuff on the palate too - bright and bold with everything from the nose and more, with some hop and malt sweetness balanced by grippy bitterness on the finish. This is the real West Coast deal - brewed to perfection.
If there’s one thing we know about history, it’s that it repeats itself, and it’s fair to say that the 2010s were a pretty formative time for craft brewing too. That said, you do wonder how many breweries that started then will get to celebrate a 25th anniversary? I guess time will tell.
In the meantime, grab a Squeezy Rider and let’s raise a glass to Deschute’s success. Here’s to another 25 years…