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A New Barrel-Aged Collage 

Deschutes and Hair of the Dog team up for more complex booziness

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Four years ago—longer than many people reading this have even lived in Bend—Deschutes Brewery launched a beer called Collage, a collaboration between the Bend-based giant and Portland's Hair of the Dog Brewing. The beer actually had its genesis earlier than that, in 2010, when HotD owner/brewmaster Alan Sprints stopped by Deschutes' production facility to brew a couple of their trademarks—Fred, a strong golden ale with rye and candi sugar, and Adam, a dark, rich, chocolatey delight.

Collage was a mix of Fred and Adam along with doses of Deschutes' Stoic Belgian-style quad and Dissident Flanders-style brown ale, all four of which were aged in a variety of barrels. The labels on the 12oz bottles have a "best after" date of April 30, 2013, but—partly because the $10.99 bottles stuck around in shops for a long time—a lot remain unopened, and it's still pouring great four years later. Some of the carbonation might be gone, but patient cellarers are now being rewarded with a lovely sherry scent, heavy whiskey notes and a bit of fruit.

(The beer, by the way, was #1 in a series of collaborations Deschutes released from 2011 to 2013. #2, which actually came out before #1, was a white IPA made with Boulevard in Missouri, while #3 was a heavy bock conceived with Distelhäuser Brewery in Germany—which is why that Distelhäuser tin sign still hangs behind the bar.)

Why are we bringing it up again? Because Deschutes and HotD have done it again. Collage #2 is another blend of barrel-aged goodness between the two breweries, and it's available now at the brewpub or in the shops. It's a bit more expensive this time at $24.99 for a bomber. The lineup of core beers this time: Fred, aged in American oak and rye whiskey barrels; Doggie Claws barleywine, aged in cognac barrels; and Deschutes' Stoic and Abyss, both fully aged in Pinot barrels.

So how is it? Excellent, although the 14.3% ABV ensures soloing an entire bomber is a poor idea. Already, one can discern nearly all of the core ingredients that make up Collage #2's recipe—the wine and whiskey barrels, the sweetness of young Fred and Stoic, and the super roasty malt of Abyss and Doggie Claws. The alcohol factor isn't as intense as, say, a brand-new Abyss, ensuring that a glass down at the pub is highly enjoyable even fresh out of the starting blocks.

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