Today I walked over the bridge to the deschutes brewery for the official 2009 Abyss release party. The party was to start at 2:00pm, but I got there about half an hour early. Instead of waiting in line for bottles, I made my way to the bar, waited for a seat to open up, and when it did, grabbed front row seats for the toast. Since I was early, and the abyss hadn't been served yet, I ordered a burger a blackweiss. Both were pretty tasty, but they served the purpose of killing time more than anything. Just before two, the bartenders started filling taster glasses with 09 Abyss, which can be seen on the trays in the first picture.
Once the trays were filled, everyone in the bar, and all the people that had been waiting in line (around the building at this point) were given a taster glass, and asked not to drink it until the toast at 2:00pm. At that point, the head brewer for the Portland location got on the mic, gave a brief description of the beer, and nervously stuttered his way through an Irish toast. Once through it, everyone drank their abyss, and Abyss was officially on the menu.
There were two ordering options for Abyss on tap. A 10 ounce pour of 09, or two 5 ounce pours, one of 08 and the other of 09. I went with the vertical. They tasted as one would expect. The 09 is still a bit hot, but otherwise perfect. The 08 was divine. Very much the same, maybe a bit thicker, and the booze had mellowed nicely. They each had about the same mouthfeel to me, but the appearance was different when served. The 09 had great head retention, whereas the head on the 08 quickly subsided.
As I was drinking my vertical, I asked the server if I would be able to purchase bottles from the bar, avoiding the now very long line. She said she would get them for me, but not to make a big deal of it, since she didn't want to start creating chaos at the bar. I also inquired about the gift sets I had seen behind the bar, and she said she couldn't get to those, and that if I wanted one, I would have to get in the line. I guess she felt bad, because after I asked for my check so I could get in line, she talked to a manager, and came over and said she'd get me the box set too. She just asked that I tell her when I'm leaving, so I could nonchalantly pick it up on the way out the door; again, to avoid creating a chaotic situation at the bar. I did as I was told, and shortly afterward, I was on my way, with 5 09 bottles in my messenger bag, and a gift box in hand... with an 08 bottle inside!
On the way back toward the east side, I spotted (hard to miss actually) this cool Henry's ad. Not a big fan of the beer itself, but that's Portland history right there. I liked the graphics, as well as Mt. Hood in the background, so I took a picture.
A little further up, I was stopped on the burnside bridge, which was up to let a barge through. To the naked eye, Mt. Hood was visible in the background to the right of the bridge. Didn't pick up in the shot though. After patiently waiting (I had to pee!) for the bridge to come back down, I finally made it back to the east side, then home.
Back at the house, I shot this picture of my epic haul: