The trouble I had with The Dissident is that it looked so…serious. Look at that label—those birds are downright imposing. And the wax. Such serious wax. And so I kept putting off opening this bottle. You need a special occasion for this kind of bottle. You need to let it breathe after you open it. Maybe write a sonnet while you drink it.
Alas, I have the patience of a three-year-old. When no special occasion presented itself, I decided “Thursday afternoon” was special enough.
The Dissident is an Oud Bruin—a Belgian-style brown ale that’s brewed with cherries, fermented with Brett and aged in French wine barrels. Yeah, fancy. And good.
Deschutes doesn’t do a lot of sour beers, but they’ve been knocking it out of the park with The Dissident since 2008, releasing a new version every couple of years. The latest version hit the streets in the middle of December 2014. They want you to wait until the middle of this year to drink it if you find a bottle, but honestly, who could wait that long? Obviously not me.
The beer has a rosy, copper kind of color with no head whatsoever. The cherries come through in the nose, but they take a back seat when you take a sip. That’s when the red wine takes over, with heavy notes of pinot and a pleasant acidity. Yeah, the beer’s classified as a “sour,” but it’s not as puckering as some of the other sours out there today. The beer does have a salty vinegar note (it’s a hell of a lot appealing than it sounds), and a layer of fruity tartness. As it warms, there’s even a grainy sweetness that comes through, mellowing the whole thing out and giving me one more reason to absolutely love this beer. It’s my favorite sour right now, which makes sense, because Dissident pretty much sets the standard for Oud Bruins from America. Grab a bottle and see if you can wait until the middle of the year to crack it open.
Brewery: Deschutes Brewery
City: Bend, Ore.
Style: Oud Bruin
Availability: In 22 ounce bombers, but very limited