Mess With a Classic -- Why not?

Our eagle-eyed Bend brother, Jon Abernathy, noted this rather shocking development from Deschutes:

Mirror Pond Pale Ale Experimental Trials!

We here at Deschutes Brewery are always looking at ways to improve our beer, this includes our flagship brand Mirror Pond Pale. We are trying to provide a pale that has more hop flavor and aroma. We would like to enlist your help to pick the pale that is most desirable. You will be presented with two 10oz snifters and a comment sheet on which you will be ask to pick the one you like the most and rate it. Feel free to leave comments. Thank you from Deschutes Brewery. $4.25

Jon concludes that it's hard to find "anything that needs 'improving' or 'fixing.'" At the risk of committing apostasy (again), let me dissent. Because, no matter how hallowed Mirror Pond may be, that doesn't mean it's fully evolved. When John Harris's recipe was unleashed on the public over a decade ago, it was a revelation--wonderfully flavorful; a celebration of Cascade hopping, sweet, citrusy, but easy-drinking and light. However, in 2008 an all-Cascade pale must share shelf space with many others (in, admittedly, the right beer store).

So to keep its edge, I think Mirror Pond could afford a wee bit more oomph. Perhaps another hop style for complexity, and/or more hops later in the boil for richer flavor and more intense aroma. It would be quite possible to add character to Mirror Pond without sacrificing its Mirror-Pondness or alienating longtime fans. With the right tweaks, it could be a brighter, sharper, even more delightful beer. Sure, it's 90% perfect now--but a brewery like Deschutes might prefer perfection to tradition.

Beers do evolve. Maybe it's Mirror Pond's time.
Jeff Alworth1 Comment