The history of Deschutes Brewery's Jubelale, the "festive winter ale" that hits shops and bars every September, is as long as that of the company making it. It is Deschutes' oldest seasonal beer, launched just a few months after the brewery's opening in 1988, and it was also the first beer Deschutes ever bottled, with founder Gary Fish and his crew of 10 employees spending an entire day in late '88 pouring the ale from tap to 750 ml bottles by hand.
The recipe has changed slightly over the years—debuting at 6.3% alcohol by volume 26 years ago, now clocking in at 6.7%—but the style hasn't. Jubelale is an English-style strong ale, a dark, malt-laden brew that's usually spiced and lies between pale ale and barley wine in potency. It's not a genre seen often in Central Oregon, and that's a pity, given Bend's penchant for the occasional 5 degree evenings from December onward. The style's also known as "winter warmer" for a reason, after all.
The beer's not at all for the stereotypical Oregon hophead, but if you like your ales more malt-forward as the weather chills, you'll be in heaven. Caramel and brown sugar notes dominate the aroma, with a pleasant, spicy sweetness giving way to a mild but lasting bitterness in your mouth. It's one of Bend's better late-season beers, and its ubiquitous presence in local beer aisles (usually sticking around through February) makes it perfect for kicking back at the base of Bachelor during a powder day.
Really dig Jubelale, by the way? Then keep an eye out for Super Jubel, a Bond Street pub excusive that usually drops around December. It's the Jubelale recipe turned up to max volume (10% ABV) and aged in Pinot barrels, guaranteed to warm you up and knock you out.