A Brief Note from a Fool: Starting with this post, written on New Years Day 2017, The Pour Fool is undergoing some major changes. First, EVERY post will get shorter, something which I think will bother absolutely no one. Two reasons: I need to post more often, and, no less importantly, I’m going to be involved in the effort at removing Donald Trump from office and resurrecting a movement toward a more progressive political party, whether that turns out to be Democrats, 2.0 or something else, altogether. I’ll be writing for this movement, of course, and that takes time but it is not and never will be more important to me than The Pour Fool. Second, the volume of review samples has increased and I feel that I owe it to breweries, wineries, distilleries, and PR firms who send me these to be faster and more responsive. There will be the occasional longer opinion post but those will be less frequent…maybe. That all depends on what irritates me and how much.
To the ten million (as of October 20th) people who have visited The Pour Fool over the past going-on nine years and two platforms, I humbly thank you and marvel at your patience and maybe even your judgment. The single, bedrock principle of The Pour Fool has not and will never change: Tell the Truth as I see it. I don’t plan to start sugar-coating anything and I also don’t plan to ever change my first and only editorial Rule: No Negative Reviews. I LIKE – no, let’s make that LOVE – people who risk their livelihoods and Make Things. I want to be their cheerleaders, when cheering is warranted, not another of that chorus of tiny voices who chant “You’ll never make it!” to all people who try to do something new. I’ll try, hard, to get this new paradigm right from the git-go but it may take a bit of tweaking. Again, THANKS for reading and I owe ya, Big Time.
Deschutes “Red Chair NWPA”…what can I say about this insanely fine beer that hasn’t already been said, even by me? Is the 2016 version even better than those that came before it? YES, Good God, yes, and that’s saying a LOT because how, exactly, does one improve upon perfection? It’s already won awards like The International Brewing Awards – Gold 2013, World’s Best Beer, World Beer Awards, World’s Best Pale Extra Strong Pale Ale – 2010, World Beer Championships – Gold, World Beer Awards – World’s Best Beer – 2015…I mean, where does Deschutes go from that?
Well…they make it more complex, tweak (Deschutes’ forte/compulsion) the malt base a bit, move the slider on the hops to add citrus and flowers and spice, and create a near-perfect interplay of bitterness and drinkability. Ever since its inception, Red Chair has amounted to a template for what the concept of “Northwest Pale Ale” is supposed to be: a Pale with emphasized hops and the backbone to showcase them. This 2016 shows resins right up front, graced with toast, baking spices, blood orange, burnt sugar, lemongrass, and a subtle stratum of caramel and graham crackers. It’s a seamless ale; a pure pleasure to drink and easily enough IBU tonnage to satisfy even the most hard-core hopheads. It is also, by the by, one of the most visually appealing, sip-compelling ales ever brewed anywhere. That’s it to your left. Look at that and tell me you don’t want one, right flippin’ NOW.
As with almost all Deschutes beers, the hops are stealthy. Deschutes doesn’t really do the megaton hops aggression of a Stone Double Bastard or Moyland’s Hopsickle. Deschutes beers are approachable and friendly to even relative craft newbies and Red Chair is possibly the best example out there of world-class brewing coupled to Everyman appeal. Red Chair 2016 is yet another step forward; an example of how a truly masterful brewery continues to think, adjust, experiment, and Get Better.
100 Points, Best NWPA in The US