Following up on my post Thursday about Deschutes Brewery’s experimental Mirror Pond trials… to recap, Deschutes is offering customers the chance to rate and comment on two new pale ale recipes, to possibly improve the flagship Mirror Pond Pale Ale. One of my concerns/questions was, does Mirror Pond need tinkering with? (Keeping in mind that I actually think it’s pretty cool for Deschutes to do this sort of thing.)
Jeff at Beervana (in both the comments on my post and then on his blog) makes a very reasonable case for beers to evolve—particularly for "a brewery like Deschutes [that] might prefer perfection to tradition".
And then Gary Fish, founder of Deschutes Brewery, left a comment (which I’m reposting here):
While it is nice to have all the speculation, and our announcement does not give much background on why we are experimenting, I assure you we are not trying to "re-invent" anything, nor are we suffering any kind of crisis with Cascade hops. We found a creative formulation change that produced a Mirror Pond that tasted different; good but different. Is this a direction we should think about going (after all, it has already been pointed out, evolution is good.) or not? We never want to assume we are "good enough". In either event it is always nice, and fun, to ask those whose opinions we value the most, our customers. We have held these "polls" before at our pub and customers have gotten quite a kick out of it, and we got some valuable information.
I’m interested in your opinion as well. Be sure and let us know.
There’s a good, straight answer right from the horse’s mouth (thanks, Gary—I appreciate it). I admit my initial reaction was reactionary, and after thinking about it with these responses I’ve backed off that stance; instead I’m in a "wait and see" mode.
After all, if you expect a beer to never change its formulation you end up with something like a corporate light lager…
Incidentally, I did get down the Brewery Friday after work and tried the two experimental pale ales (and left my notes). I’ll reserve my tasting thoughts for now (on the remote chance that they might influence someone else’s impressions unduly), but here’s a grainy cellphone picture: