Thursday, June 7, 2007

Summer Seasonal: Deschutes Twilight

With Summer just a couple of weeks away now, it is time to start exploring the new seasonals hitting the shelves. Over the next few weeks I'll be reviewing a few of the more widely distributed Summer beers on the West Coast, starting tonight with Deschutes' Twilight.

While hard to find within their literature or website, it seems as though the beer is submitted to competitions as a Bitter, a rather misleading name for today's uber-hopped beer enthusiasts. The beer pours a nice light golden color, similar to an orange-blossom honey color, with a big frothy head that lasts for several minutes - a beautiful pour. The aroma is mild, overall, with a definite balance that falls toward the American Hop varieties. Apparently the Twilight is dry-hopped with Amarillo hops - and I can see that. Not an agressive aroma from the dry-hopping as you find in many west-coast IPAs, but certainly pleasant. In addition to the hops, there is a distinct bready quality to the malty sweetness.

The taste is where this beer gets interesting. I didn't quite know what I expected, but this wasn't it - and that isn't a bad thing. Initially sweet, but that doesn't last too long as it is quickly overwhelmed by a peppery & somewhat resinous hop bittering that is moderate in strength and lasting well into the aftertaste. There also appears to be a mild astringency that hits the cheeks, but this actually serves to add a bit of character to a beer with only 35 IBUs.

Twilight finishes pretty dry and has a chewy texture for the medium body - quite interesting. I believe it drinks best in large gulps, rather than small sips, to really enjoy the refreshing qualities. The beautiful thing about summer beers like this is that they're still great when they're a bit warmer than optimal temperature. If there was a fault in the beer it'd be that lingering resinous bittering mentioned earlier - but all things considered this is a great option for days in the yard or by the lake. Score: 3/5