Chainbreaker has been available for awhile now, of course: it’s been on draft at the Deschutes pubs while they’ve tinkered with and perfected the recipe, and it’s proven to be popular enough (along with this relatively new “Belgian White IPA style” everybody’s jumping on) that the Brewery decided to bottle it. Even more surprising, they’re bottling it year-round and adding it to their core lineup—something that hasn’t happened since Green Lakes Organic Ale was added to the core back in 2008.
Basically, the beer itself (the “style”) is a mesh of the Belgian Witbier style and the American IPA style: the Pilsner- and wheat-malt base combined with American IPA hopping and the Wit spices (coriander and orange peel), and fermented with a Belgian yeast. It sounds a bit weird—to be honest, a lot of these cross-Belgian styles sound a bit weird to me, even as a beer geek—but it results in a really good beer.
Chainbreaker White IPA is 5.6% alcohol by volume—not as strong as the typical American IPA, but that helps make it even more drinkable.
Appearance: Hazy pale yellow, the color of straw, with a pure white head that reminds me of beaten egg whites.
Smell: Bright and citrusy, with a bit of clovey phenols, and a touch of peppery spice and coriander. Fragrant and appealing—an undercurrent of floral hops well-complements the Belgian-y aromas.
Taste: Citrus and grassy hops blend well with the light, yeasty body, and the “IPA” comes out in a lingering bitterness after the initial spiciness. Mild, floral, wheaty and yeasty—actually nicely appetizing, making you want more and have something to munch on while you’re drinking it.
Mouthfeel: Light-bodied with a nice chewy yeasty bite and a lingering bitter/spicy presence.
Overall: Really pleasant drinker, strikes a good balance with the various components. It’s so citrusy in the nose and up front on the tongue that I have to wonder if Sorachi Ace hops were used. (But no, the main description mentions Cascade and Citra, and on the homebrew clone recipe page they list Bravo, Cascade, and Centennial.)