Happiest Hour 

Deschutes Base Camp Week

If you were roaming around the downtown area last week and noticed a giant beer barrel with its own giant tap parked outside various locations, don't worry, this was not some pre-5 p.m. hallucination. Folks from the Deschutes Brewery were in town for their promotional "Base Camp Week" and they brought a taproom with them. Though the mobile Deschutes pub, affectionately called "Woody", has rolled on, it left some interesting new beers in its wake.

On a Bend-er: The two new Deschutes brews to join the beer aisles of local grocery stores both come with "made in Oregon" stamped into every sip. Chasin' Freshies, the new "fresh hops" IPA, and The Dissident, a sour ale, are made with ingredients found mere hours from the brewery's home in Bend.

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Taste the green: Chasin' Freshies pours light as a lager. Do not be deceived. This India Pale Ale is boldly hoppy with a hint of foliage. This may be a result of the heirloom Cascade hops grown outside the nearby town of Corvallis, Ore. Or the fact that these hops are brewed straight off the branch rather than let to dry first. "They are literally three hours from field to kettle," Deschutes brewer Robin Johnson said. "Wet hops have a more vegetative flavor." The result is an IPA that is very hoppy, but doesn't linger. Perfect for a second round.

The Sour Cherry: The Dissident is as rich in process as it is in flavor. "You get to be way more creative than the tried and true beers," Johnson said about brewing sour ales. This sour ale is Deschutes' first wild-yeast beer. As such, it is put in isolation for 18 months to ferment to its fullest potential in pinot and cabernet barrels. When nearly matured, Oregon cherries are added to the blend to give a little sweet to the wild-yeast sour. The end product is a flavor that's a bit overwhelming at first sip, but delicious once accustomed to (but that may just be the 11.4 percent alcohol talking).

Where to Find it: At any high-variety beer vendor, like Orange Street Food Farm, Worden's Market and Deli or Pattee Creek Market.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com

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