"Failure is not the opposite of success; it's part of success," Arianna Huffington once famously said. It may have been describing her early life, but the quote is also a fitting description of 10 Barrel Brewing's current seasonal offering, "Project: Failed." Setting out to make something completely different, they failed—but certainly succeeded with a high-quality textbook example of Imperial Red Ale. The fact that it's not labeled "Imperial" is odd.
With an ABV of 6.7% and 65 IBUs, "Project: Failed" falls squarely into the Great American Beer Festival's definition of Imperial Red Ale. Other defining characteristics of the style include reddish brown color, medium-high caramel malt character, full body, and medium fruity-ester flavor...check, check, check, and check.
The fact that Red Ales aren't common in Bend is another quandary. "Project: Failed" is a fantastic beer for food pairing, enough body and malt sweetness to enjoy with a salty gorgonzola. The flavors and smooth texture also pair well with a medium-rare burger. Take that to its logical conclusion and enjoy 10 Barrel's "failure" with a big, juicy bleu cheese burger—a successful pairing to prove this beer is not a failure.