Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.
I was in the beer store recently and decided to make myself a custom six-pack, choosing bottles and pounders of beer that I enjoy or have had limited interaction with in the past. So, when I saw two or three offerings from Deschutes Brewing, somewhat of a rarity in these parts, I knew that I needed to include one in my sixer. While I’m not super well versed with the company’s offerings, I tend to like what I’ve had in the past and since I’m definitely an India Pale Ale kind of guy at heart, I chose Deschutes’ Fresh Squeezed IPA.
Fresh Squeezed IPA is a year-round effort that is brewed using pale, crystal and munich malts along with citra, mosaic and nugget hops to create a 6.4% alcohol by volume, 60 on the international bitterness units scale beer that offers an intrigue citrusy and grapefruit taste, according to the brewery – Deschutes’ website even lists Fresh Squeezed IPA’s calorie count, which is 250. It’s been a staple of Deschutes’ lineup for quite some time now, winning several awards over the years, including a silver medal at the 2015 North American Beer Awards. But, for many east coasters like myself, it can be difficult to find some of Deschutes other beers, especially the seasonal offerings. In fact, I didn’t even know a ton about the brewery when I selected Fresh Squeezed IPA for this week.
Founded in 1988 as a small brew pub in Bend Oregon, Deschutes was the brainchild of Gary Fish, who named the brewery after a nearby river. In its first year, Deschutes sold 310 barrels and was focused on a community-styled approach. Within five years, the company underwent significant expansion to keep up with demand and, now, Deschutes is the 10th largest brewery in the United States, according to the Brewers Association, with a second factory on the east coast to begin production by the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021. There are currently nine beers in their year-round arsenal and, with each barrel sold, $1 is donated to local and national charities, which is a small way of giving back.
Now, let’s get back to the Fresh Squeezed IPA. The label design is pretty simple, with that recognizable Deschutes look and a blue and red pattern, as well as a drawing of a hop being squeezed. The label also explains, pretty quick and to the point, exactly what drinkers can anticipate from this flagship offering:
A juicy citrus and grapefruit flavor profile. As if fresh Citra and Mosaic hops were squeezed straight into the bottle.
When I popped it open, it had a less than pungent smell, though I could identify the aroma of citrus fruit and piney hops, a real pleasant smell while sipping. From the pour, this IPA had an amber color to it that has a hint of orange – and an orange-white head that was relatively thick. It’s a medium-bodied effort with good carbonation that seems to hold on for the duration of the beer. As for the taste, it really seems to mimic the smell.
There was a citrus beginning to each sip that included just a hint of some floral notes and it finished with a slight bitterness, one that was decent for a typical IPA. Perhaps that lighter bitterness was a result of the malts used for this particular beer, but I’m not certain. I loved the finish but, I must say that overall I could have used a little more flavor to this beer, even if it is pretty tasty. Honestly, it just tastes like your standard IPA but with a dash of juiciness and the drinkability isn’t as great as I might’ve expected. I think two of these would probably be my limit. When I looked it up on BeerAdvocate, I found an average score of 4.25, which I thought was maybe a little generous. I like this beer, don’t get me wrong, but its a run-of-the-mill IPA that really offers little difference from the countless others that are out there. I give it a 6.8 out of 10. But try it for yourself and see what you think. No two palates are the same. While I might have bought a single, I looked up the price of a six-pack and it’s between $10 and $12.
Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.