Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon was founded in 1988 as a small brewpub.
Inspired by their surroundings, Deschutes’ original line up of beers was named after local natural beauties – from Mirror Pond, to Black Butte, to the Deschutes River itself, the inspiration for the brewery’s name.
A true representation of the region, Deschutes’ Mirror Pond Pale Ale, a “quintessential northwest pale ale,” is brewed solely with Cascade hops, which were developed by the USDA’s hop breeding program in Oregon in the 1970s.
Primarily brewed with pale ale malt, a touch of Crystal, CaraPils, and Munich malts are used to provide color and complexity, giving Mirror Pond a solid malt backbone to balance the hop bitterness, while showcasing Cascade’s floral, citrusy notes.
Whether or not you’re a fan of camping, hiking, or nature itself, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Oregon’s great outdoors by the picturesque label.
While Jester King infuses their beer with a sense of place by fermenting with a mixed culture of brewer’s yeast combined with the naturally occurring yeast and bacteria from their land, Deschutes gives their beers a sense of place through their names and label art.
Interestingly, in an interview in Oregon Business in 2008, founder Gary Fish, was asked if, given the opportunity to do it all over again, would he name his brews after these local landmarks,
“If we had it all to do over again, would we name one of our beers Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Black Butte Porter?
I don’t know.
They were brands to be marketed in a local brewpub. Naming them after local geographic landmark was fine…
We’ve been a little bit hamstrung because those brands don’t necessarily resonate outside of the area, but it is who we are and where we are from.
We’re proud of that.”
Branding is often a challenge for new breweries, especially when they can’t forsee their own growth from a local brewpub to one of the nation’s largest craft breweries with distribution in 28 states.
But I only see the local focus as a positive – drinkers not only get to enjoy an incredible beer, they also get a taste of the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. And it’s certainly a beautiful place!
As a little aside, Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale holds a special place in my heart as it was one of my gateway craft beers.
Always available at my local when I was in graduate school – Bobby G’s Pizzeria in Berkeley, California – this pale ale helped me fall in love with all things beer. Thanks again to my friends Ellen & Rupinder for introducing me to it. And to Deschutes for brewing it – I wouldn’t be here without your beer!