A “Fresh Hop” Pale Ale
Deschutes Brewery
Bend, OR (USA)

This sample was provided by the good folks at Deschutes Brewery. I must admit that this bottle has been well cared for, for a few months I’m sure. However, at 5.5% abv, I doubt there has been any regression of flavors. The effects of “cellaring” ale infused with fresh picked hops will be interesting eh?

As with all brews sampled here, it arrived via parcel post in good condition and has been kept refrigerated until an hour before opening.

Appearance: A red-copper crystal-clear brew is topped with a very rocky head of large bubbles. The almost white foam leans toward linen and quickly dissipates leaving fine Belgian lace.

Aroma: If you have never had the chance to smell the aromas of fresh hops this is as close as you can come without the actual flower in your hand.
The second sensation is laced with strawberry and raspberry esters.
The moment between lip and sip introduces an almost palpable wild flower aroma that becomes the first “hop” flavor.

Mouth feel: A rich, creamy initial impression is reinforced by the carbonation (fairly high) and the hop flavors that are rich, almost savory.

Flavor: The combination of the savory hop mix and the rich grain accents, enhanced with caramel, combine to render not so much a marriage of “sweet” and “bitter” but a synthesis of flavors that are sensed as “rich” with a touch of “happy”.

Finish: The final flavors of savory and caramel linger for just long enough. While not quite a pallet-cleanser, the effect is lusher and less hurried.

Comments: The “cellaring” was, if anything, influential in the mellowing of the fresh hop and rendering that savory sensation. The lingering traces of hop and grain on the pallet would nominate this as a session brew perfect for a chilly evening with good conversation. Some nuts (food not friends) would make a nice escort.

N.B. I have a feeling (haven’t checked) that I have posted notes on this brew in the past…

Deschutes Brewery: http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/splash/default.aspx

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