Deschutes has a couple of new beers on the shelf, news definitely worth noting. I'll review the replacement for the woeful Quail Springs IPA tomorrow. Tonight it's Buzzsaw Brown.
Brown ales are the forgotten stepchild in American brewing. Whenever they are taken up, it seems like an afterthought to fill out a line between pales and stouts. But brown ales should be something more than a pale with chocolate malt.
In England, the venerable Newcastle brewery actually introduced its beer as a rival to pale ales in 1927. That beer is light and bright, with toffee and banana notes. Other browns can have a richer, winier quality while others are nutty. The best beer I ever brewed was a brown, which was the result of a brewing error: we forgot the finishing hops and so decided to dump them in the carboy with the wort. Thus did we invent (hundreds of years after the fact) dryhopping.
Despite the name, Buzzsaw is a deep, bright red (which is actually appropriate to style). The nose is malty and has a fresh bakery characteristic--scone? Having poked my own nose into many a Black Butte, I found a lot about the beer that was familiar--like many great breweries, Deschutes has developed a house aroma.
The palate is also familiar--sweet and light, also akin to Black Butte. There are a few hops, enough to give the beer additional interest and balance. It's essentially a session ale, so it's not bursting with intensity. Yet it's that kind of beer that immediately has a comfortable, recognizeable quality, like you've been tippling pints for decades.
Deschutes is recognizeably one of Oregon's world-class breweries, and turning out beers like this is why.
Alcohol By Volume: 4.8%
Original Gravity: Unknown