The Dissident

John Bachman, one of my two best friends, made the trip down to Phoenix this weekend for some football. And when I say "some football", I mean that's pretty much all we did. From 9 am until the USC officially put Ohio State away, we were parked on the couch. It helped that Oregon squeaked out a thrilling win over Purdue in double overtime, as it was an awful day for the Pac-10 overall.

And John, being the great friend he is, brought me some beer from back home. I'd asked him to pick up Bridgeport's 2008 Hop Harvest, which sounds unbelievably good. Harvest ales are typically excellent, made with wet hops brewed within an hour of picking. The flavor is lip-smackingly fresh. The beer was being released on the day John flew down, but Bridgeport wouldn't sell him any, even though the cases were stacked behind the bar. Thanks for the effort, John. Thanks for nothing, Bridgeport.

Instead, John brought me a bottle of Deschutes Brewery's "The Dissident".

The Dissident is a another entry in Deschutes Brewery's Reserve Series along side The Abyss, Black Butte XX and Mirror Mirror, which means it's lovingly-crafted and heavy. At 11% alcohol-by-volume, this is probably not something you'd want to finish alone, especially if you're driving anywhere.

Belgian brewing is generally seen as the pinnacle of the craft. While I've discussed my love of heavy-hitting hops and thick, rich stouts, Belgian beers are complex and unique. Many Belgian beers are brewed in abbeys and Trappist monasteries, where open windows and vats allow wild yeast strains to float in. Many Belgian breweries have even developed special glasses which accent particular aromas.

Colorado's New Belgium was one of the first American breweries to focus on Belgian-style ales, and other American breweries have followed suit in recent years.

Belgian beers are a difficult taste to acquire, sort of like an experimental but critically-acclaimed indie band. I appreciate the depth, but they can be difficult to drink, with odd aftertastes, and sour and sweet notes wrapped in fermentation.

Maybe it's because I drank The Dissident so early after bottling, but I found it lacked the notes which bother me about most Belgians. The first tastes are rich and grapey, bringing to mind the fruit tones of framboise, but the chewy, fermented aftertastes were pleasantly absent. Over time, The Dissident probably develops these flavors as it continues to ferment in the bottle, but it was one of the most enjoyable Belgian-style beers I've ever swallowed. From the bottle we shared, it seems John agreed.

If you're looking to try Belgian-style beers, I suggest Chimay Blue or White and Tripel Karmeliet. Both are readily available (even at Trader Joe's). For a sweeter taste, Duchess Bourgogne, framboises or lambics will do the trick. Mindy loves those those.


  1. awesome I'll have to check out those recommendations at trader joes. can't wait.

  2. Am I the only one who feels guilty for having Bud Light Lime in the fridge after reading one of Jordan's beer posts?

  3. Jordan-

    I have to ask. I've always considered myself a "good" beer drinker. I've always loved a good microbrew, and even on vaccation, I make my wife follow me to as many pubs as possible to try the local beer.

    But when I read your posts I feel like I am about as beer educated as- well...I can't think of a clever analogy. Bottom line is I feel like I know nothing.

    So my question for you would be, where do I start? What should I look for? Any good web sites, any good books? I want to understand beer and taste beer the way that you do, Jordan. Teach me!

  4. Bryan, I can't say I know you very well, but through your Beatles post and now this comment about Bud Light Lime, I'm developing a picture of the aesthetics of your life that's probably a bit unfair.

    Just thought you should know.

  5. Bryan,

    While you might not actually be the only one who feels guilty about having Bud Light in your fridge, you should still feel guilty about it.

    Just thought you should know.

    P.S. -- If you're ever up for a fridge exorcism, I'm sure that Jordan would be happy to perform it.

  6. Jordan-
    You have done for beer what Donald Miller has done for God. You have taken something that I thought I understood and opened up a whole new level on conversation.
    Your beer memoirs are rambling, yet poignant with a wit as sharp as the elixir that inspires you.

    You've taken beer drinking out of the hands of the establishment, with their Budweiser Select and High Life, and brought it back to what it was originally; a love story between the beer and it's brewer. Beautiful.

    When your book, "Amber Like Pilsner" finally hits the stores, I plan to be the first in line. Thank you for what you have given the world Jordan Green...thank you.

  7. Aw, shucks, guys. You flatter too much.

    Tyler: Not sure you'll find Tripel Karmeliet at Trader Joe's, but I know the one by our house has Chimay.

    Bryan: I'm a fan of the Corona w/lime. As for an American brewery manufacturing that taste in a light beer...I'm not so sure.

    Rob: Thanks for the encouragement. I did work at a grocery store all of last year...one with an excellent beer selection. Before that, I would've thought I knew beer pretty well. But there's a LOT out there. A LOT.

    Your post made me think I should write some posts on developing beer taste, though...I think i'll start soon.

    Melody: Honestly...too kind.

  8. I'm so glad you posted this - perfect timing. Stephen brought home a bottle of The Dissident a few nights ago. When I saw the lable I laid claim on half of it whenever he decides to crack it open. Stephen immediately ranted about how I always 'steal' half of his beers and how he wasn't going to share this one with me. I then proceeded to name all of the lovely bottles of wine I have bought over the past 3 years of our marriage, of which, 100% have always been shared with my dear husband.

    Tonight Stephen sat me down in front of the computer to read your blog in order to 'help me understand why it is so important for him to drink this whole bottle on his own'.

    Not only did your description of the brew make my mouth water and encourage me to go straight to the fridge and sneak it all to myself, but the following line completely sealed the deal: "At 11% alcohol-by-volume, this is probably not something you'd want to finish alone, especially if you're driving anywhere."

    Thank you for backing me up on this one, Jordan.

  9. Dan,

    I like to humble myself before others in hopes that when they meet me they will be like, wow, you're not an awful person like i thought you were.

    and as for my beatles post, the more i think about it, the more i think i took way too much flack for that. it was a legitimate post, in my opinion, and completely misunderstood. Jordan compared it to someone asking "Hey! I keep hearing America is a cool country. Do you mind telling me about it and describing some of your favorite American memories?"

    What is wrong with that? What is wrong with someone wanting personal stories about something truly great? Nothing, I say, nothing!