We tried Deschutes's River Ale on tap at Downriver Grill. It is a beer we haven't seen any other place in town, be it on bottle or tap. That's not to say it can't be found -- it is, in fact, widely available on bottle (and somewhat widely on tap) -- but we haven't found much reason to look for it.
This is a blonde ale, a type of beer that rarely puts our hearts on fire, but we had expected something a bit more from Deschutes. In many ways the River Ale tastes like an extremely watered down Red Chair. Which is a bit of an odd sensation.
It pours nicely enough, golden color and all, with a decent, white head. Give it a sniff and you can pick up on some vague floral hints and just a bit of maltiness.
When you drink it... again, it's an odd sensation, drinking something that tastes like Red Chair mixed with water. There are some hops and malts in there, but they've been assigned to play second or even third fiddle.
In other words, pretty much what you'd expect from a standard 4% blonde. There's just not a whole lot going on here. I personally expected more from Deschutes, even though a blonde probably never will knock our socks off.
I don't know if this is a seasonal or not, but if it is The Brad Hauge has sniffed it out, and it is an all-year release. I guess it's aimed at those who find the Red Chair too big. Fair enough, but I just thought the River Ale was really, really dull.
Vote for Deschutes River Ale: It’s your civic duty!