Today is the release celebration for the first of Deschutes Brewery‘s 2014 Reserve Series beers, Mirror Mirror, which is taking place at both Pubs all day long. (Event pages here and here.) As a precursor to today’s celebrations, Deschutes hosted a media event last night at their “secret” barrel warehouse, pouring up samples of Mirror Mirror and two other beers along with homemade crackers, while brewer Ryan Schmiege and owner Gary Fish talked about the beer and answered questions.
In addition to a “sneak peek” tasting of the new Mirror Mirror, there were also tastes poured from Big Red, the first of the new Pub Exclusive series of bottled beers (released on New Year’s Eve), and a sample direct-from-the-barrel of “Not the Stoic,” a Belgian-style strong dark ale in the Reserve Series being release in late April. And at the end of the event, everyone got to take home a bottle of Mirror Mirror.
This year’s vintage—the first in five years, the last version of Mirror Mirror appearing in 2009, the year many were also inadvertently infected with Brett—is 11.2% abv and 53 IBUs, and was 50% aged in wine barrels (Oregon Pinot Noir, Temperanillo, and Malbec) for 10 months. Only 956 barrels were brewed total. It’s a good beer, particularly if you like Barleywines (and I do!); the wine notes come through plummy on the nose. It’s certainly drinkable now, but will age very well if you want to put some away (and you should).
One other bit of news—this year’s Reserve Series Black Butte XXVI is brewed with cocoa nibs on the conditioning side (in past years they added the nibs during the boil) as well as Oregon cranberries.
Overall, an enjoyable and well-presented media event. I snapped a few pictures for you to enjoy: