I wish that were a headline I was making up for an April Fool’s Day joke, but it’s not: it’s official. Here’s the word from Gary Fish on the Deschutes Brewery blog:
The much anticipated release of Deschutes Brewery’s Black Butte XXII is being canceled this year. The Imperial version of the brewery’s popular Black Butte Porter, this year made with chilies, dark chocolate and orange peel, has been a favorite since it was first produced in 2008 for the brewery’s anniversary on June 27th.
The experimental chocolate that was used in this year’s formulation never fully dissolved in the beer. While most of it dissolved, a portion formed a layer on the surface of the beer. While the beer tastes fantastic, the visual presentation in the bottle is not up to Deschutes Brewery’s long held commitment to quality and the customer experience.
So, it is with great sadness that we make this announcement. We are not happy with this years Anniversary beer and we don’t think most of our consumers would be happy with it either. Therefore we are refusing to ship the beer recently packaged.
However, take this as Deschutes Brewery’s firm commitment to quality and to our customers. When you push boundaries like we do, something like this is bound to happen. We have been fortunate in the past that none of our experiments have resulted in this kind of drastic action. I hope all our friends and customers will forgive this year’s lack of an anniversary beer while recognizing our commitment to them.
We promise to never back away from the line, even when the risk is great.
There will be very limited amounts of draft Black Butte XXII available at the Deschutes Bend Pub, Portland Pub and the Tasting Room where Deschutes staff can monitor it closely and take appropriate action if the beer becomes visually unacceptable.
I’ve had a sample at the Bend Pub and I thought it was quite good—the chilies made for an interesting twist as did the orange peel. I think what makes this announcement all the worse is that the beer actually tastes fine.
I have mixed feelings about it; I think if the beer is as good as I’ve tasted, then I (and I imagine other beer geeks) would easily excuse any appearance issue. On the other hand, I have to respect the fact that Deschutes is putting the kibosh on a huge release like this.