Saturday, September 17, 2011

Collaboration #2 Deschutes/Boulevard - White IPA

Deschutes has definitely been cranking out the special releases lately and I love it! I also love collaborations between brewers. This week's is Boulevard Brewing and Deschutes collaboration. It's a great testament to the attitude of the craft beer community. It's an attitude of...well, community. They believe in supporting each other and sharing ideas rather than viscous cutthroat competition for profits. They get that one of the reasons craft beer consumption volume grew by 11% last year, while overall beer volume consumption decreased in the US, is due to the growing number of people that want variety, experimentation, and community. As the saying goes, "The craft beer industry is 99% asshole free." That 1% is reserved for those folks selling Dark Lord on eBay for $100 a bottle (You know who you are) /end rant.

Now to get off my soapbox and back to the point. This week I'm posting up my review of Collaboration #2. The Boulevard Brewing version of their White IPA collaboration with Deschutes.

Boulevard Collaboration #2
This collaboration is the same recipe brewed in two separate batches from each brewer with their own ingredients. Boulevard Brewing calls theirs Collaboration #2 and Deschutes is called Conflux 2.

Collaboration #2 is the Boulevard version of the recipe.
This is described as a White IPA. It uses Belgian yeast with a combination of northwest IPA and Belgian witbier adding coriander, orange peel, lemon grass, and sage. Sounds spicy!

It pours a hazy golden amber with a voluminous head typical of a Belgian style ale. The nose is my favorite part of this beer. It has a heavy citrus nose with lots of banana and orange. That typical Belgian yeast nose is there and the notes are sweet, citrusy and very pleasing. Unfortunately that's my favorite part.

The taste has lots of lemongrass and bitter hops but no sweet from the orange. The Belgian yeast is there but gets run over by the bitter. It's a bit flat and falls down both on the Belgian and hops front. It's just kind of two dimensional bitter. I had the Conflux version a few weeks earlier as well and felt the same way. It just doesn't live up to the special release billing for me.

The lemongrass and bittering hops really overpower everything else on this beer. It's a shame it's so lopsided. Many of my beer friends like this beer but it's just not for me. I want more of what I smell in the nose to show itself in the taste. This is where it's important to realize we're all different with different tastes. I don't want to sound unappreciative of the effort put forth by these two great brewers, but this beer just comes off like a bitter IPA. Unbalanced and forgettable. I prefer The Stoic over this beer.

Pros: Excellent nose and more collaboration means more experimentation means more beer!

Cons: Lopsided bitter taste that could be any IPA.

Opinion: Given the choice; skip this and go pick up your favorite Double or Imperial IPA

Incidentally conflux 1 is still under construction and is a collaboration with Hair of the dog. That will be special as all things with HOD are. From Deschutes Twitter feed: “Today we are determining the blend of Conflux No.1, a collage of Fred, Adam, The Dissident & The Stoic.” And Alan Sprints says it will be aged in Cognac an Sherry barrels. Whoa...I will buy this.


MJS said...

Excellent review. I completely agree regarding the citrusy imbalance of that beer. A wit is not deep enough in malts to withstand the hop load. The citrus hops win out in an unusually bad way. Nice idea though. I can't wait to try some of that HOD, baby!

BeerShaun said...

And just to prove that I have no idea what I'm talking about this beer scored a bronze medal at the Great American Beer festival for American-Belgo-Stle Ales.

Congrats to Boulevard! It just goes to show everyone's tastes are different!