Two Saturdays ago it was announced that Below Grade Brewing announced that they would be pouring their beer for the first time in Bend at the Saturday farmers market in NorthWest Crossing (the Bend neighborhood in which they’re based); so, we made plans to hit up the farmers market and check out their beers.
First impression—even though they’re only pouring at special events right now, they’ve hit the ground running with their collateral and merchandise: hats, growlers, cozies, and such with their logo screened onto them, and it’s a nice-looking bit of collateral.
As for the beers, I was able to get a sample of all three for $5: they have launched with a German Hefeweizen, and Old Ale, and a Double (Imperial) IPA for their flagship beers.
The stats for each beer are:
- Hefeweizen: 7.7% ABV, “Pale and cloudy, fruity notes and aroma”
- Old Ale: 8% ABV, “Dark red-brown, low bitterness, caramel and mild chocolate”
- Double IPA: 8.4% ABV, 100+ IBUs, “Intense hop character, citrusy, complex bold flavors”
The Old Ale was the standout; I think it hit the nail pretty much on the head for the style, and even at 8% is a nicely drinkable beer.
The Hefeweizen, unfortunately, was entirely off-balance: a German Hefe should really be no more than 4.5% ABV, this one was a good 3% too strong. Not a bad beer, but any German Hefe character that should have been present was overwhelmed by the alcohol. It was thick, and sweet.
The Double IPA was a good, solid example of a DIPA: nice bitter punch, sticky and resiny, but it did lack a big aromatic “pop” in the nose. I’m thinking it wasn’t dry-hopped much, and could use a big healthy dose more for future batches. But it will please the hopheads.
Overall, they’re off to a promising start, and right now you can find them at the NorthWest Crossing Farmers Market in Bend on Saturdays; they’re filling growlers now, as well as selling beers to drink there.