Ask a Brewer: Deschutes’ Eric Moore

Deschutes Brewery is located in picturesque Bend, Oregon. They are widely known for their Mirror Pond Pale Ale and The Abyss Stout. Their brewer Eric Moore was kind enough to humor us with answers to our silly questions.

Eric Moore enjoying a brew

Eric Moore enjoying a brew

What’s special about your brewery?

I really like that Deschutes is constantly coming out with new beers and trying new things at the pubs. There is a never ending stream of creative and delicious beers rolling out of here and it shows no sign of stopping.

What’s your least favorite part of the brew day?

As crazy as it sounds there really isn’t any part of the day that I truly dislike! I know that’s a lame answer but it’s true. If pressed to come up with an answer I’d have to say throwing bags of grain would be my least favorite. It’s very dusty and messy and no matter how hard you try you will inevitably rip a bag and spill its contents all over the floor. Some beers we make we have to throw multiple pallets of grain for each brew which makes for a long hard day and weeks of cleaning out malt dust from your ears and nose.

What is your favorite part of the brew day?

I would have to say my favorite part of the brew day would have to be mashing in. There is so much about it that’s amazing! It’s basically the birth of a new beer and there’s so much potential for it to grow up and be the best damn beer out there but it’ll only get there with your guidance and nurturing. There’s also something great about it because you know in a few weeks it could be halfway across the country making someone happy. If those weren’t enough reasons why mashing is awesome, there is no better smell in the world than a mash, it doesn’t matter what style you’re brewing it all smells great.

What was the biggest mess you’ve made making a beer?

Without a doubt the biggest mess I’ve ever made while working in a brewery would have to be when I was training on the JVNW brewhouse at Deschutes. I was dropping a stout mash into the lauter tun and forgot to close the grain-out valve at the bottom of the lauter. This led to the entire mash dropping straight through the lauter and overflowing the spent grain buffer tank in the basement. I spent about 3 hours wading through ankle deep wort and grain cleaning it up…that’s the type of mistake you only make once.

What’s the largest batch of beer you’ve poured down the drain?

If you’re talking about the largest batch that yours truly has dropped down the drain see above for the story of me dropping 50bbl batch of stout down the drain.

Eric Moore always wears proper eye safety

Eye safety is important when brewing

What’s your favorite beer festival?

I know I’m going to sound like a homer here, but I would have to say that the Bend Brewfest is my favorite. There’s always a great vibe, good music, amazing beer, and it’s not as crowded as other beer festivals can get so the lines are always at a reasonable length…also I can walk to and from it, which is nice.

Have you shared, or are you willing to share, a homebrew clone recipe for any of your beers?

I have shared clone recipes quite a bit as I think that they are great. Deschutes is very good about putting recipes on our website for anyone to print off. Get on there and grab them, there’s a ton!

What’s the strangest ingredient you’ve added to a beer?

Up until a little while ago I’d have said that the cherry bark in the Abyss would be the strangest ingredient I’ve used. Last year however we started making Zarabanda recently which has these dried black limes as a spice in it. Truly unique in appearance and flavor they have like a sour, limey, tobacco-like flavor to them…very bizarre ingredient that I didn’t even know existed until I was asked to get some for the beer.

What was your happiest moment as a brewer?

The first time I saw someone order a second pint of a beer I had designed and brewed at the Bend pub. I say a second pint because if someone tries a beer and it’s awful, they more than likely aren’t going back for a second. For me the second pint tells me that they enjoyed it enough to get another one. It’s still a thrill to me even after 9.5 years to see someone order a second pint of one of my beers.

What dumb joke are people always making about your job?

I would have to say the one I get the most is something like “Oh man you must just sit around and drink beer all day that sounds like a tough job.”

What beer should be served at your funeral?

There is a tradition in Scotland where they lock the gates to the graveyard and not let anyone leave until all the cheese and Scotch is gone…I’d kind of like the same thing but with a couple
kegs of The Dissident and Abyss.

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