Deschutes Buzzsaw Brown Ale

Also From This Brewery

One of the things Iíve always admired about Bend, Oregonís Deschutes Brewery is the way they manage to pull off well-balanced beers that tantalize the tastebuds without hitting you over the head with malt and hops. This is all the more impressive in a region known for itís aggressively hopped and at times mega malty beers.

Their Mirror Pond Pale Ale is a perfect example of this, and really one of my all time favorite beers. Another great example is their late spring summer offering Buzzsaw Brown Ale, a brown ale in the English mild sense of the word, and one that is perfectly suited to warming late spring days and still cool nights in the Pacific Northwest.

I ordered up a pint of Buzzsaw at a pub while visiting Bothell, Washington. Itís also available in bottles though I am not sure if the seasonals are as widely distributed as Deschutes regular offerings in areas outside Oregon and Washington where they sell their beer.

Buzzsaw has received a bit of criticism from dyed in the wool beer geeks on some beer sites precisely for the reasons I laid out above. They say it has too much malt, and not enough hops. For the American Brown style that might be true; here, though I suspect that Deschutes was aiming at the mild style. Either way, the result is a very drinkable and very enjoyable brew.

Buzzsaw Brown Ale pours a chestnut brownish color with a thick and creamy head formation and a soft, fruity nutty nose. A fine layer of Brussels lace clung to the sides of my pint glass as I sipped and the liquid descended.

The palate is gentle and not overpowering, with a slightly biscuity, nutty maltiness, a little hazelnut, a hint of toffee and a touch of fruit. The beer finishes with a very gentle hoppiness, just enough to balance the soft malt, and a soft floral hop aroma.

Everything about this beer is soft in character, from the malt to the hops to the yeasty fruit esters. That makes it a fantastic mild ale, and a true session beer that you can easily sip all night.

This is a beer that will pare well with food, too. I found it a great companion to a grilled steak as well, and suspect that the soft nutty malt flavors should match up nicely with most red meats.