The diabolical brewers at Bend, Oregon’s Deschutes are at it again. They get me all strung out on what becomes my go-to session beer—like they did with the long-lamented Cinder Cone Red—and then like Lucy van Pelt, they snatch it away at the last second, leaving me flat on my back and yelling, “Aauugh!”
Red Chair NWPA is a copper-colored pour with a sturdy, vanilla-tinted head that throws a nose of nice fragrant hops; floral and citrus notes add some complexity to the usual pine/grapefruit assault.
Originally part of their Bond Street Series, a line of more “hop-forward” brews that originate at the pub on Bond Street and are eventually released in 22 oz bombers, Red Chair began it’s life as an sister IPA to Hop Henge back in 2009, before being replaced by Hop in the Dark, a Cascadian Dark Ale or Black IPA.
At around 55 IBUs, Red Chair was the more balanced sibling of the more flamboyant Hop sisters. Deschutes puts the bitterness in check with a malt backbone built from seven different varieties—including a few British crystals, a German pilsner, a domestic cara-pils, and a domestic Munich.
Not feeling that the IPA designation was giving quite the right impression of this eurhythmic offering, they seem to have made up another new one out of whole cloth: Northwest Pale Ale.
Personally, I don’t care what they call it, it is a much better seasonal replacement for Cinder Cone than the Buzzsaw Brown was, and if they get it in their heads to make it year around, well, so much the better. I’m not going to get my hopes (or hops) up.