It was already packed by 6pm, but the waitress was on the ball and I told her to give me a flight with a sampling of Deschutes’ range. Oh, and a cheeseburger and cheesy pesto fries. Roughly half the crowd was drinking flights, though some might have already switched from flight to pint, and there were a few people at the bar invested in a true sampling experience: we’re talking noses in snifters. Redding is a fairly unpretentious city, so Redding Beer Week tends to bring the aficionados out of their nerdy shadows. Fortunately for them, Deschutes’ takeover of Maxwell’s included a half dozen rare and vintage beers, some of which made it into my flight.
It was a busy night, so I’ll forgive the gentleman for setting my flight down and nearly sprinting away before I could ask any questions, plus Deschutes had helpfully provided packets of information on the night’s 16 options. My flight began with The Stoic, an American-style Belgian quad, and since I’m a fan of Belgians, this was a great start. It’s brewed with pomegranate molasses, is aged for 30% of its life in pinot noir and rye whiskey barrels, and has a light-ish medium feel. In other words, it made me wish I weren’t pairing it with a cheeseburger and cheesy fries. The darker Jubel 2015 followed, and I immediately connected with its spicy profile. Jubel is a reserve version of Deschutes’ seasonal Jubelale and has only very limited availability, so I relished every ounce.
Next up was Pine Drops IPA, which was slightly hop-forward for my palate, and the flight closed with Deschutes’ Twilight Summer Ale and very pale Chainbreaker White IPA, the latter proclaiming itself ‘where wheat and hops unite!’ I believe in unity, but I had trouble getting my head around this flavor combination. I suspect my meal wasn’t helping, but a girl’s gotta eat, and I kept circling back to the Stoic and the Jubel, anyway. Next time I’ll resist the siren song of the burger to better balance my brews. Most of my table was enjoying pints of the Fresh Squeezed IPA, and I heard favorable reviews of the Cinder Cone Red Ale.
Congratulations to Deschutes Brewery for a solid first night of Redding Beer Week events; they made a stoic-yet-jubilant believer out of me, and the ever-lovable Maxwell’s proved itself a most complementary host.