Class of ’88: Deschutes Brewery

The Class of ’88: Profiles of breweries founded in 1988 that are still around today to celebrate 25 years in the beer business.

Deschutes BreweryOf course Deschutes Brewery is the first brewery in this series of profiles: not only are they the fifth-largest craft brewery in the U.S., but they initiated their own Class of 88 project which inspired this series, and they’re located right here in my hometown of Bend, Oregon.

Deschutes Brewery (Bend, Oregon)

Deschutes Brewery was founded as a brewpub in downtown Bend and has since grown to the fifth-largest craft brewer in the United States. They opened their production brewery in 1993, and the Portland Pub in 2008, and expanded their production brewery again within the past couple of years. They have a distribution in 20 states currently with more on the horizon.

They were one of the only breweries—perhaps the only brewery at the time in the U.S.—leading with a Porter for a flagship beer which was a hugely bold move in the 80s: Black Butte Porter, which has since become a standard for American Porters (and one I personally tend to use as the benchmark when comparing other Porters).

Some fun facts: “The brewery sold 310 barrels of beer in its first year, and by 1992, sales were up to 3,954 barrels” (source: Wikipedia). Jubelale, the Brewery’s annual Winter Warmer, has been brewed by Deschutes every year since they opened, and was the first beer ever bottled by them. And Deschutes’ first brewer was John Harris, lately of Full Sail Brewing and who is now opening his own brewpub; Harris created the recipes for the iconic Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, and others.

Annual production: 222,000 bbl

Locations:

  • Bend Public House and Brewpub: 1044 NW Bond Street, Bend, OR 97701. Est. 1988
  • Production brewery: 901 SW Simpson Avenue, Bend, OR 97702. Est. 1993
  • Portland Brewpub: 210 NW 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209. Est. 2008

Beers:

  • Year-round:
    Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Inversion IPA, Green Lakes Organic Ale, Obsidian Stout, Chainbreaker White IPA, Deschutes River Ale
  • Seasonals:
    Red Chair NWPA, Twilight Summer Ale, Jubelale
  • Other:
    (Bond Street Series) Hop Henge, Hop in the Dark, Hop Trip, Chasin’ Freshies; (Reserve Series) The Abyss, Black Butte XX series, The Dissident, Mirror Mirror; Pub Specialties only on tap at the Bend and Portland Pubs, too numerous to count

Brewers:

Deschutes has a large number of brewers, many of whom are line and shift brewers and who I don’t know and thus cannot list here. (But I’ve listed some names I do have.)

  • Cam O’Connor – Brewmaster
  • Brian Faivre – Brewmaster
  • Veronica Vega – R&D Brewmaster (Bend Pub)
  • Ryan Schmiege, Jason Barbee, and Ben Kehs¬†– Portland Pub Brewers

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