For many years,
one of my favorite beers has always been Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale.
Of course, I haven’t been able to get it as often as I might like. Still,
I’ve always retained fond memories of the beer going all the way back to the
very first time I tried it. A fellow beer geek from California, whom I had
interactions with on the old Prodigy bulletin boards, had sent me some in a
beer package. In return I had shipped some East Coast brews out to him.
Today, I was thumbing through some of my tasting notes on beers I sampled
while in Seattle. One night after work there, I stopped at a bar with a
number of Pacific Northwest brews on tap; one of them was Mirror Pond.
Naturally, I indulged in a pint. And oh, the memories the beer brought back.
I talked about it with the bartender, who told me that Mirror Pond was in
fact one of his favorite brews. He told me it was a big seller in Seattle,
even though Deschutes is from that “other” PNW beer state, Oregon. I saw
lots and lots of Mirror Pond in supermarkets and gas stations while I was
out there, too.
Interestingly enough, when I dug up my old tasting notes for comparison
purposes, I noticed that I took them on March 18th, 1998: exactly seven
years ago to the day I wrote this review. Here’s what I thought back then:
I have had several excellent beers from Deschutes brewery from Bend,
Oregon. The Mirror pond Pale Ale isn't the biggest of them, but it may well
be my favorite. This beer has balance with a capital "B", and the crafting
beers is a true test of the brewer's art. If Mirror Pond is the final exam,
then Deschutes passes with flying colors.
Light golden in color with a temptingly fruity nose, this beer pleases each
of the senses (it even sounds good!) The first sip reveals a soft maltiness
that blends admirably with the big, tea-like Cascade presence and gradually
to the slightly bitter finish. The interaction of malt and hops is sublime
in this beer. Highly recommended.
And you know, balance is probably one of the best ways to describe this
beer. In many ways it reminds me of
Smuttynose Shoals Pale
Ale ; both accentuate every nuance of beer, with none overpowering,
nothing missing from the equation. Here’s what I thought about Mirror Pond
Mirror Pond Pale Ale pours to a shining orange amber color with a
light creamy head and a soft, enticing fruity nose. The palate is fairly
smooth with just a touch of caramel malt goodness amidst a mostly crisp and
refreshing body. There’s plenty of fruit in the palate; even more in the
Mirror Pond finishes with a light dose of Cascade hops and a dry but not
overpowering bitterness. Again, all the ingredients add something here:
fruity hop notes, hop bitterness, fruity yeast notes, and crisp malt. That
makes this an excellent session beer, one you could sip all day at your
favorite pub (or at home for that matter).
Mirror Pond has won plenty of awards, too. Deschutes lists the following on
Gold Medal, Best American Specialty Beers
2004 Men's Journal July Issue
Gold Medal, American Pale Ale Catagory
2004 North American Beer Awards
Gold Medal, B.I.I.A., International Ale Competition Class 3
2002 Brewing Industry International Awards, London, England
Silver Medal, Bottled American Pale & Amber Ales
2001 Real Ale Festival, Bottle-conditioned Beer Awards
Silver Medal, American-style Pale and Amber Ale
2001 Real Ale Festival, Individual Category Awards, Cask Ales
Gold Medal, Pale Category
2000 California Brewer's Festival
Gold Medal, American Pale Ale Category
1994 Great American Beer Festival
If I could buy this on a regular basis, it would always be in my fridge.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.