It seems only appropriate that my first Beer + Travel post be about a brew from my hometown of Bend, Oregon.
Thoughts from the Sky:
There has been a lot of controversy around 10 Barrel Brewing. They’ve been at the forefront of the big beer buying out micro-brew discussion after their purchase by AB InBev in late 2014. Joe IPA is one of 10 Barrel’s flagship products and I can say this, it’s most likely only because of their semi-recent purchase that I’m able to get their beer in Southern California. I remember when 10 Barrel Brewing’s pub was the hottest place in town. They had hour plus waits to try their beer and food pair and it was really worth it (The lines haven’t calmed down much). They were my favorite brewery in Bend so this write-up is based on fond memories and some very tipsy nights. I’ve even had this same beer on tap pre-beer-juggernaut. Despite the AB InBev’s ownership, the 10 Barrel brewermasters have constantly stated that you need to judge them by their beer.
And I can now say this — It still tastes the same.
10 Barrel’s beer still tastes the same as it was before its purchase and because of that I’ll tip my (lack of a) hat to them. As long as they keep brewing beer like this, they’ll always be one of my favorites and my go-to for beer down here in my home away from home. Sure, this is partially because some of my favorite brews are hard to find, seasonal, or simply not distributed beyond the Oregon-Cali border (aka. Boneyard, my favorite brewery).
Joe IPA is a combination of Simcoe, Amarillo and Mosaic hops. And it’s a great combination. You taste the bitter notes almost instantly but not overwhelmingly so. It’s crisp and the bite is quite perky, but it goes down surprisingly smooth. The flavor is quite hoppy, as standard for most IPA’s from the Pacific Northwest and the taste stays with you. Overall, I’m quite glad that the flavor is lingering as it’s pleasant and makes me want more. I just wish it wasn’t $11.99 for a 6-pack, but I suppose you get what you pay for.
Should you try it?
Yes please. In an age where everyone with decent beer is getting offers from big beer (and I can understand why the owners sometimes cave) we need to support the ones that don’t change the taste, or dumb down the quality of the beer. Because AB InBev now owns them, if they feel that the people aren’t quite buying into the beer in it’s original form, they may seek to cut costs to keep it profitable. That would be a disgrace. There of course are draw backs to drinking a beer from a so-called sell-out as you’re not going to feel as special. It’s not a brew that you and only a few others have tasted and is hand crafted to the same extent but we have to give them credit for putting forward such a spectacular beer to the mainstream. I for one, will continue to support their effort.
10 Barrel Brewing and Joe IPA are a registered trademark of 10 Barrel Brewing Co. an AB InBev Company