Deschutes Brewery : Chainbreaker White IPA


Photo: Craig Kalnin

Having previously educated ourselves to the existence of such wild things as White IPA’s, we’ve been on the lookout for another example to check out.  We’d heard good things about Chainbreaker White IPA from Deschutes Brewery, another of the Pacific Northwest’s great craft breweries that you really should know all about.  Also hugely beneficial, Deschutes beers are a heck of a lot more available north of the 49th than some of their American craft-brethren; their Hop in the Dark Cascadian Dark Ale is currently available at many of your favorite beer spots, well worth checking out, we’ve been through more than a few bottles already!

Deschutes have been brewing beer in Bend, Oregon since 1988, a great little town with a lively downtown pub & restaurant scene, as well as a couple of perfect weekend-getaway-with-the-husband/wife-as-long-as-you-don’t-let-on-that-this-is-actually-a-beer-cation boutique hotels.  Seriously, as long as you keep your Deschutes brewery tours down to 1 a day, you’ll probably be okay.

Chainbreaker certainly looks the part of a white beer in the glass; lemony-white in colour and cloudy as a Vancouver summer.  If the pouring instructions (conveniently located on the label) are followed, a solid multi-finger bright white head appears, then gradually fades to a thin top, leaving you clear access to the goods in your glass.  Wafting up we get coriander, herbal freshness, and subtle Christmas oranges & cloves, but not a lot of hops on the nose, which seems to be a trending theme in this beer category (at least in our statistically insignificant sample size thus far).

The flavour journeys us towards the IPA side of the beer’s personality, delivering rounder, more floral hops than we’ve seen in previous examples and a touch of smooth sweetness, but with an undercurrent of edge, spice and grapefruit that plays well with the spice and citrus notes in the nose.  At 55 IBU’s, this beer isn’t going to overload your hop-o-meter, which is a good thing (even if it’s hard for us heavy hop-heads to admit!); this beer is more about mature subtle balance, which Deschutes have found.  Chainbreaker finishes smoothly between the gentle ride of the white balanced with nips of an IPA’s bite.

Overall, Chainbreaker is another exciting example of this unique combination of two distinct beer types; well rounded, enjoyably complex and highly drinkable.  It is also a great example of a fine beer from a brewery known for more than a few fine beers.

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