Light: Deschutes River Ale
Deschutes needed this beer. At 4% and 28 IBUs, this is clearly a light session ale—a "cool-down beer," if you will. Normally Pabst, Hamm's, Rainier, Olympia et al. fills this role, but, man, they don't have Oly on tap at Deschutes. And if you're there sucking down My Abey Weiss, a delicious 7.3% Trappist-style beer, you may need to move to something more mellow as the night wears on. Hence "cool-down beer."
But Deschutes needed the River Ale for greater market power, too. I talked to Deschutes CEO Gary Fish after a recent City Club meeting and he said that the lower-alcohol beer will allow Deschutes to distribute to areas in Colorado and Utah, where the alcohol laws make zero sense. It's not Deschutes' most flavorful beer, but it's not supposed to be.
Dark: Three Creeks Hodag
Cascadian Dark Ales are a fine compliment to meat and potato dinners. The Hodag, from Three Creeks Brewing, is one of those beers. So we fired up the grill and had some brats with our Hodag. At 6.4% , this is not a cool-down beer—it's the opposite. But it's a solid dark IPA which is best enjoyed with food, preferably meat.
The funny name is in honor of Hodag, the mascot of Hoodoo Ski Area (Hoodoo celebrated its 75th year this January). Hodag is also the name of one of the lifts at Hoodoo.