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Deschutes goes all-in on hops this summer

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Deschutes Brewery is growing—opening a new production facility in Roanoke, Virginia, as announced a few weeks ago—and it's fair to say that Fresh Squeezed IPA is a major driver of that growth. Since Bend's biggest brewery started bottling it in 2013, and especially once it became an all-season beer the following year, the Citra and Mosaic-hop bomb has become one of Deschutes' biggest brands nationwide. On Untappd, the beer-centric social app that lets users keep track of what they've drunk and where they drank it, Fresh Squeezed has been checked in over 347,000 times, making it Deschutes' most popular beer on the app by far. (Black Butte Porter is a distant second place at 207,000 check-ins.)

The take-home from this performance is pretty clear: India pale ale sells. Thus, for 2016, Deschutes is introducing two new hoppy ales to its bottled lineup. Down 'N Dirty IPA is its latest year-round release, available now in 22-ounce bottles across the brewery's entire distribution map. Named after the annual Dirty Half Marathon sponsored by FootZone in Bend, it's a fairly rugged ale at 6.3 percent, and while it's not the citrus explosion that Fresh Squeezed is, it's still an attractive package of Cascade and Centennial hops, keeping things smooth and offering just a bit of tart goodness at the end.

It's joined this summer by Hop Slice Session IPA, which replaces Twilight Summer Ale (the sales of which, sources say, were heavily cannibalized by Fresh Squeezed) in Deschutes' seasonal rotation. "Session IPA" is a bit of a controversial genre—a lot of so-called session IPAs are really plain old A's, flavor-wise—but the 4.5 percent Hop Slice sweetens things a bit with Meyer lemon, which lends a juicy feel to the Azacca, Galaxy, and Amarillo hops and keeps things full-bodied and flavorful for the low alcohol content.

Can't stand IPAs? Nothing to fear. A lighter pub ale called Big Rig just debuted in bottles as well, and Black Butte XXVIII, the latest in Deschutes' annual barrel-aged imperial porter lineup, is slated to launch on June 27. In early May, meanwhile, look out for Pinot Suave, the first of five Reserve Series beers coming in '16. It's a Belgian-style ale aged in French oak barrels with Pinot grape must—an 11.2 percent berry-laden delight.

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