Mirror Pond Pale Ale- A new tasting for an old favorite

Posted by on Aug 6th, 2009 and filed under Beer Scoring, Bend Beer News, Recent Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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We at Bend Wild have lots of history with Deschutes Brewery’s Mirror Pond Pale Ale and therefore thought that it would be an appropriate first beer to score on this website. As our beer roots first began to develop outside of the Pacific Northwest, Mirror Pond photos was quite a discovery when I first moved to Bend, Oregon. It’s hop presence, full balance flavor and it’s approachability set it apart from the the other beers it was sampling at the time. Disappointingly, Deschutes Brewery stopped bottle conditioning Mirror Pone Pale Ale in about 2003, thereby changing the flavor. we at Bend Wild weren’t and aren’t a fan of that decision.

Mirror Pond Pale Ale made by the Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon

Mirror Pond Pale Ale made by the Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon

We’ve heard rumors that the decision to stop bottle conditioning Mirror Pond was directly associated with an affiliation with Costco. This probably won’t be verified but it undoubtedly did change the taste of a favorite beer. Well in honor of our initial online beer review, we decided to revisit this old classic. As what we understand to be the second best selling pale ale in the U.S. You would expect a quality product. We actually scored this Mirror Pond simultaneously with another beer which will be reviewed later. The Scores are as follows:

Bend Wild – Beer Scoring Scale
Mirror Pond Pale
Overall Drinkability
Total Score

Yeah, we realize this is a strong initial score, but this was a very good Mirror Pond, and frankly there aren’t many Pale Ales that can measure up to this beer.  Some specific observations

Nose/appearance: strong bouquet of whole flower cascade hops that carried throughout the tasting.  Not as citrusy as some west coast pales but pleasant, full and complicated for a pale.  The whole hop aroma was accentuated by an off white head with medium sized bubbles and a light reddish amber color.  Attractive and aromatic.

Flavor/Body : Complex and once again bolstered by whole flower flavor.  We’ve experimented with fresh hops straight off of the vines in the Bend Wild tasting garden and this is how fresh whole hops taste.  Medium mouthfeel with mild citrus and and crystal malt notes.

Finish/Mouthfeel: Excellent.  Pleasant and balanced . Not too bitter  but with distinct hop flavor notes.

Overall Drinkability: 10/10  What more can we say?  I think I’ll go buy my first six pack in quite some time as this was an excellent bottle of beer!  As Mirror Pond Pale Ale has been somewhat maligned in the tasting garden in the last few years, I feel heartened and relieved that one of the Deschutes flagship beers has risen back up to its lofty previous levels.

Celebrity Likeness: Rene Russo from the Thomas Crown Affair era.  Smart, personable, balanced . . . and just a little naughty.  Rene, give us a call and we’ll have a beer.  Kids, don’t tell Mommy :-)

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