The same year Deschutes was established, in 1988, the brewery released its first seasonal beer, Jubelale. The dark, malty strong ale (6.7% ABV, 60 IBUs) has won a laundry list of awards and earned a "world-class" ranking on the beer review site beeradvocate.com. Created each September, the specialty brew is one of the most highly anticipated special releases.
But, in spite of the beer's popularity, its label has not always enjoyed such broad consenus. Since 1995, the label has been created by a different local artist. Of course, like beer itself, artwork is a matter of tastes. Me? I didn't care for the abstract snowflakes and swirls of the 2007 label, but I have friends who loved it for its colors and ho-ho-ho festive feel. Conversely, while I thought the 2004 country cabin artwork, inspired by 15th century Flemish paintings, classic and brilliant; others were less impressed.
This year's label was created by Avlis Leumas, and I think he nailed it (and I challenge anyone to dispute me). He incorporates the palate that has become synonymous with Jubelale (the blues and whites of winter, contrasted by blazing yellow-red sunsets). More interestingly, he has captured a creature that has captivated many of us—the noble Barred Owl (also known as a "hoot owl") who, for several months last winter, made a very public home in Farewell Bend Park near the Old Mill District. Leumas' painting, "Lost in the Loud," shows the quiet stoic bird looking back on town and the river that runs through it. Details such as a jumping fish, a buried Jubelale bottle and a mouse that's rolling away a bottle cap are beautiful reminders that we live in a delicious place.