The Dissident from Deschutes Brewery

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the_dissident.jpgLast night I had the chance to taste the latest from Deschutes Brewery's reserve series, a Flanders-style brown ale called The Dissident.  For those of you who haven't seen this beer, it comes in a lovely dark bottle with a very simple, elegant label and blood-red wax covering the cap.  It's very attractive packaging.  I have not had a lot of exposure to this style of beer.  In fact, aside from The Dissident, the only other Flanders brown I've sampled is Rodenbach.  I've stayed away from them simply because I find the style far too sour to be enjoyable.

My notes from the tasting are littered with things like, "Holy crap, this is sour!"  Indeed, The Dissident packs a tart whallop so potent that you can smell it.  I really want to compare the nose to sour apples or sour cherries, and on the palate I could not really get past the potent acidity to find any other flavors.  As the beer warmed up a little, I started to pick out a few malty notes here and there, but I was pretty much overwhelmed.  I love the bottle, but I'm not sure I would get very excited about trying The Dissident again unless it was paired with some sort of really hearty, strong food that could stand up to its peculiar character.

However, some good came from the tasting.  After The Dissident, we opened up a bottle of Rodenbach to get a good comparison.  Rodenbach is downright drinkable in comparison.  Its level of sourness is high, but seems rather mild next to the Deschutes brew.  I found a whole new level of appreciation for Flanders brown ale this way, and though it still is not climbing to the top of my list, I shan't be afraid to sample it again in the future.

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I had heard a lot about this beer before I tasted it, but nobody had really told me what it was supposed to be like.  Upon its arrival, the bottle boasted that it was a Flemish red ale, so... Read More

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