A River Runs Through It

Last Friday I received two packages to greet the oncoming weekend. One from Deschutes Brewery contained 3 bottles of the brand new year-round release,River Ale, and the other was a small envelope containing the Hermetus bottle opener and resealer from Kaufman Mercantile. The opportunity presented itself to try out both items with each other on a surprisingly clear skied day on my back porch.

A product of German industrial design, the Hermetus bottle opener from Kaufman Mercantile looks way more complicated than it actually is. Of cours,e the very limited cardboard packaging it came in was all in German and perhaps I am slow but it took me a minute to realize the inscribed visual directions were actually suggesting the bottle opener itself is the capper. All the time I thought it somehow actually crimped the cap back on the bottle. Stupid me.

Deschutes River Ale is a brand new beer coming out in 12oz bottles and 6-packs on March 4th. Usually with new regular beers from the Bend brewer we get all kinds of test batches and hype in advance, but this time it seems things have been relatively quiet. I came into “River Ale” with no info; I did not even read the product sheet, but I was expecting something easy drinking, perhaps a pale ale. Popping the cap with my newly acquired and strangely-named Hermetus opener and pouring the beer straight down into a pint glass produced a big frothy white head that settled into rocky white mountains of foam.

Deschutes calls the River Ale in the style of a “Golden or Blonde” and it is truly a “session” ale at 4%abv and 28 IBU’s. Malt: Pale, Munich, Carapils, Crystal Hops: Cascade, Crystal, Nugget. Not knowing any of that at the time, I noted River Ale’s bready and grainy smell with a hint of lemon. I appreciated the flavors of light malty crispy flavor with a long cereal whole grain bread finish. I checked it’s balance of flavors with the finishing hint of grassy hops that left no bitterness.

As I sipped from the bottle in my backyard, I realized this would be an ideal time to test the Hermetus’ bottle sealing skills. According to the website, when the underside of the opener is slid along the top of a beer bottle’s lip it will lock in and hold a perfect seal. Below the metal underside is a soft plastic with a small amount of flexibility that allows a pretty tight seal. Still, I was skeptical of the claim by this company that you could even turn the bottle upside down with the Hermetus attached and it would not even leak. It turns out the claim was true and not only did it hold the beer to the bottle but when I slid the opener easily off the carbonation hissed out proving a superior seal that could keep your bottle fresh with carbonation likely overnight. Though I would not have a problem finishing off a bottle of River Ale, I might try resealing a 22oz bottle of New Belgium’s Cascara Quad at 10%abv for the next day.

Finally, after marveling at the Hermetus simple yet elegant charms, I poured the remainder of Deschutes River Ale into my glass and as the last sips of its tingly high carbonation spread the flavors of fresh bread across the tongue, I considered that both these products were worthy of recommendation on The New School.

Order the Hermetus Bottle Opener & Resealer here
Or request your local bottleshop carry it

Look for Deschutes River Ale at retailers starting March 4th

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com


  • jrandles
    Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:14 PM

    Thanks for the kind review of our new session ale. Deschute River Ale will be available all year long in 6-packs and on draft in most of the states we distribute in. The official kick-off will be at our pubs a week from today. Cheers!
    – Jason Randles