Today was the day that The Abyss, Deschutes Brewery‘s much-coveted award-winning Imperial Stout, was officially released. It was originally announced for release in early December, but got pushed back—due largely (as I understand it) to the sheer amount of effort it took to bottle the beer and then to hand-dip each bottle in wax.
It’s also a barrel-aged beer (part of that growing trend I’m talking about): according to the brewery, it’s aged in French oak, pinot noir, and bourbon barrels (and has been since March). I’m not sure if that means it was split among three kinds of barrels or if the aging was all three subsequently, but I can probably find out.
The brewery also had their official release party down at their pub in downtown Bend today, with the first pour taking place at 4:30. I was able to get down there for a bit and snapped a few pictures, as well as enjoying a half-pint of it myself.
(At 11% alcohol by volume, the brewery sells by the half-pint only; $3.50.)
(And, a disclaimer: Deschutes has also sent me a free bottle of The Abyss to sample and review here. This won’t be the last you hear of it from me, not by a long shot I suspect.)
Yes, the beer itself is excellent; aging will work wonders with it, but make no mistake, even right now this is a world-class stout. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m going to be at the Pub drinking this every chance I can get.
The "release party" was mostly just a bunch of Deschutes enthusiasts at the bar enjoying the first servings of the beer. Every now and again a server would come through with free hors-d’oeuvres.
(Sorry for the quality of these pictures… my camera is good, but in low-light I have some problems.)
View of the bar.
More of the bar; surprisingly, that guy in the foreground isn’t drinking The Abyss! Which actually is a bit surprising, since there was a lot of it being poured.
Ah, the much-coveted bottles of The Abyss itself… Deschutes is selling these directly from their Pub, for $10 per bottle. Right now, this is the only place in town you can buy bottles of it… all the stores aren’t getting it until (at least) Wednesday, and some probably later.
(Yes, I confess: I bought a case of it.)