For those who don’t know me, I love a good dark beer. My “go-to” beer is Deschutes Black Butte Porter that I was turned onto by my good friend Rick Howe.
Back in 2005, Deschutes introduced a bold new imperial stout named The Abyss. It is a very limited release beer with an 11% alcohol content. When I first caught wind of this beer, I was on a mission to have some.
In this journey, I came upon several road blocks. The beer wasn’t readily available to me in my usual haunts and when asking for it, I was either too early or they had just run out of their allotment and wouldn’t be getting any until the next release.
In 2009 (or thereabouts) we had an opportunity to use a friends timeshare in Bend, OR over St. Patrick’s day. With our 2 friends Tim & Denyse, we drove there. Seeing how Deschutes Brewery was based in Bend, Or, I was sure my journey to the promised land was going to end.
So we go to the Brew Pub on St. Patrick’s day and in anticipation of finally tasting this beer, the server asked what we all wanted to drink. She finally got to me and I ordered in my most pleasant voice “I’ll have the Abyss please.”
She looked at me with sad eyes (point to be made here, she barely looked at me with any emotion but it makes the story better, right?) and said “I’m sorry, it isn’t available now.”
I was shocked…to travel all the way to Bend on one of the most beloved Irish holidays and I can’t have the beer that I have been salivating for?
Fast forward to a rather sad occasion, my friend Tim’s father, Frank, passed away and we felt it was important to attend his services in Spokane, WA. Frank was a typical grumpy old Irishman but always had a twinkle in his eye and loved a good whiskey.
Nancy and I traveled with Rick and his wife Bonnie and we went to a restaurant called Hay J’s Bistro (check the website) . It was right next door to the hotel where we were staying. On the outside, the place is nothing much to look at. It’s located in a strip mall and is adjacent to a gas station. I wasn’t expecting much…imagine my surprise when we entered the place. We were pretty much blown away by the food, service and of course, the fact they had The Abyss available.
We were handed menus and naturally we went to the drink section first. Again, we were blown away by the selection with the varying varieties of whiskey. I turned the page and looked to the beer section…
A moment of pause here….did you ever have time stop? I glanced down the beer selection and the words The Abyss seemed to float off the page and head toward my eyes…teasing me with selections from four different years.
Not wanting to be disappointed, I called our waiter over and asked if it was really available. “Oh yes, in fact, I’ll go get our expert over so that he can explain the differences in each year.”
Rick and I were pretty amped up. He hadn’t had it either. After the expert went over the qualities of each year (2011-2014), we each ordered one 22 ounce of the 2013 Abyss. We requested that we have it served with our meals which was perfect because they needed time to chill.
I am not going to bore you with how much we enjoyed the beer. It was immaculate…smooth with a light molasses taste and a great finish. It went well with the steak medallions I ordered (which by the way were some of the best I’ve ever had) and, truth be told, one was all I needed to have a nice glow.
To make it even more perfect, Rick and I discovered that we could purchase The Abyss to take home with us…in fact, the expert made us such a deal that we couldn’t pass it up. $80.00 for four bottles, from the 2011 to the 2014 vintage years. We made the purchase without hesitation and are now proud owners of this amazing beer.
If you want to check out on The Abyss and other fine beers from Deschutes Brewery, visit their website at dechutesbrewery.com.
Take care and enjoy!