New to the Indiana market is one of the largest independent breweries in the United States, Deschutes Brewing of Bend, Oregon. Started as a brew pub in 1988, Deschutes has grown to produce more than 250,000 barrels of beer annually, a second brewery in Portland, Oregon, and distribution in 30 states, the District of Columbia and two provinces in Canada.

Their beers have a reputation for being clean and on point with style guidelines. This is why Deschutes has garnered a fiercely loyal following for both their core lineup as well as boundary pushing special release beers. Their flagship beer is their Black Butte Porter. Rich, creamy with flavors of chocolate and coffee, this 5.2-percent alcohol by volume porter has all the richness you want, without being too cloying or heavy.

Being from the Pacific Northwest, fresh, bright hop flavors are abundant with most breweries in the region. Deschutes exhibits this regional specialty with the Fresh Squeezed IPA. First brewed around 2010 as a seasonal specialty beer, Fresh Squeezed popularity made the brewery quickly turn it into a year-round offering. A great balance of hoppy citrus, juicy and tropical flavors are prominent in this 6.4-percent ABV beer. Fresh Squeezed is a solid 60 international bitterness units from the use of Citra, Mosaic and Nugget hops. This beer is right in the sweet spot of West Coast IPA, big and bold, but not too much.

Deschutes Lil’ Squeezy Juicy Ale takes all of the juiciness of the Fresh Squeezed IPA and dials back the alcohol and bitterness. This 5-percent ABV beer is only 40 IBU. Then, just to make it appealing, Lil’ Squeezy is processed to remove the glutens from the beer. Each batch is independently tested and all gluten levels are available, batch-by-batch, on their website deschutesbrewery.com. Juicy, bright, easy drinking and gluten removed, a pretty impressive accomplishment in a 12-ounce can.

With the craze of hazy IPAs, Deschutes Fresh Haze IPA jumps in with both feet. At 6.5-percent ABV and 45 IBU, this hazy IPA is a bit more aggressive than many beers in this category. The soft mouth feel comes from the addition of unmalted wheat, malted wheat and flaked barley. Huge juicy hop flavors come from a four-hop blend of Northern Brewer, Cashmere, Mandarina Bavaria and Amarillo. This is a great beer for people wanting to try an IPA without being too hoppy.

Deschutes has introduced a new beer for 2019, playfully mocking its own name with Da Shootz Pilsner. Simple, clean and refreshing, this 4.0-percent ABV beer is only 99 calories and 4.2 carbs per 12-ounce can. If you are looking for something light and refreshing on a hot day, this is a great beer to reach for without sacrificing quality or independence.

For the summer months, Deschutes brews Twilight Summer Ale. This is an easy to drink 5-percent ABV beer that is well balanced. Copper to orange in color, the malt flavors are what you will taste first, followed by a clean, dry finish. This is a fun beer to have around for the summer.

With over 30 years of brewing experience, Deschutes will be a beer you should look for on the shelves and in restaurants.

Matt Thomas is a cicerone working at Gay’s Hops-N-Schnapps.

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