Deschutes Brewery’s new seasonal ‘Luna Jo’ is a cold brewed coffee lager made in collaboration with fellow bend company Riff Cold Brewed. Deschutes put themselves on the map with dark beers like Black Butte Porter and dark lagers and coffee beers are having a bit of a moment right now. Riff founder Paul Evers worked for a branding agency who did work for Deschutes in the past and then later went on to co-found Crux Fermentation Project before leaving that company to start Riff. Luna Jo is part of Deschutes 2020 Brand Calendar that was recently released.
More from a press release:
The Deschutes and Riff experimental brewing teams collaboratively explored the space of beer and coffee combinations utilizing cold brew, a fast-growing sector in the ready-to-drink beverage category and arrived at an unexpected pairing of a light-bodied, dark Mexican style lager that matched beautifully with vibrant coffee aromas and flavors of Riff’s Off The Cuff cold-brewed coffee.
“We have a long-standing friendship with the team at Riff,” said Veronica Vega, director of new product development at Deschutes. “We’re so excited to join forces with this fellow local craft beverage company to celebrate craftsmanship.”
When Riff co-founder and CEO Paul Evers and his family first moved to Bend thirty years ago, he was introduced to Black Butte Porter, a style he didn’t know well, from a brewery he’d never heard of. Since then, Paul has remained connected to Deschutes over the years, returning to the source of Black Butte Porter to collaborate with Deschutes along with the team at his new venture, Riff Cold Brewed.
Sharing ideas over time, both Deschutes and Riff used their experimental pilot brewing systems for pilot-to-pilot exploration.
“I’m super impressed by Deschutes’ freedom to experiment and their ability to balance innovation with standardization at their size,” said Paul. “Riff is a young, emerging company that is disrupting the coffee category, comparable to Deschutes thirty years ago with beer. We’re loving working with Deschutes as a trusted brand and leader in the broader spectrum of craft beverages.”
Deschutes and Riff share a passion for craft and with Riff’s roots in craft beer, Riff’s Co-founder and Director of Brewing and Innovation, Nate Armburst, was one of Deschutes’ original interns from Oregon State University in the late 90’s, their dedicated teams utilized cold brew’s smooth and well-rounded nature, with less bitterness and acidity than drip coffee, to add rich nuttiness to this surprisingly light bodied lager.
To both local Bend companies, Luna Jo represents more than a beer, it’s about coming together for projects because they’re different, fun and good for building community, it’s about making memories and building relationships.
“Our pubs and people meeting us and connecting with us, that is where I’ve landed on what makes craft, craft,” Veronica said. “It’s about relationships,” Paul chimed in. “It’s all about relationships,” Veronica agreed.
Luna Jo is 5% ABV and 25 IBUs and is currently on draft at Deschutes locations and Riff’s Tap Room and will begin shipping to distributors this week. Luna Jo will be available in all markets where Deschutes is sold in 12-ounce, six pack bottles and on draft through March. Riff’s Off the Cuff and other cold brewed coffees are available in Northern California, Pacific Northwest, Montana, Wyoming and Arizona, with continued expansion east.
About Deschutes Brewery: Family and employee-owned since 1988 with deep roots in Bend, Oregon, Deschutes Brewery defines quintessential Northwest craft beer. Founded on the guiding principles of true craftsmanship, ultimate quality, and extraordinary consumer experience, Deschutes is recognized for defining beers such as Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Fresh Squeezed IPA and the non-stop release of pioneering small batch experimental and barrel-aged beers. Deschutes can be found at its brewpubs in Bend and Portland, Oregon, Tasting Rooms in Bend, and Roanoke, Virginia and at accounts in 31 states across the country. Visit Deschutes Brewery’s beer finder at https://www.deschutesbrewery.com/beer-finder/ to find a Deschutes beer near you. www.deschutesbrewery.com
About Riff Cold Brewed: Riff is a coffee company based in Bend, Oregon and co-founded and led by a team of industry veterans and entrepreneurs on a mission to explore and celebrate all of the wonders the coffee plant has to offer. In the spring of 2018, Riff launched its line of ready-to-drink cold-brewed coffees and quickly garnered awards and the accolades from the world’s largest Cold Brew Fest (People’s Choice Best Cold Brew and Industry Choice Best Nitro Cold Brew), Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (2018 ‘Early Stage Company of the Year) and Bend Venture Conference (Winner of the “Impact” Category) to name a few. Riff’s latest innovation is Alter Ego, a natural energy drink brewed from upcycled coffee fruit (cascara). By utilizing 100% of the coffee plant, Riff is helping create a win-win-win-win scenario by providing a big boost for coffee farmers, adding sustainability to the coffee industry, reducing impact on the environment, and delivering a clean label energy drink to consumers. For more information visit letsriff.com or call 458-206-0825.
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.