Readers Choice 7: Deschutes Fresh Hops

25 Sep

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I have to raise a glass to the readers on this one. During this fine fresh hop season we have had here in Beervana, Deschutes rose among the masses with their fresh hop beers. Don’t get me wrong, wonderful fresh-hopped beers were found just about everywhere, but still among my favorites is the Fresh Hop Mirror Pond.

The moment it arrives, I stick my nose in my glass to enjoy the bright citrus and pine hop aromas. The brightness carries beyond the dry-hopped nose – this beer just pops in your mouth – it’s juicy but finishes dry. What I love is that you can still taste the malt, just a light sweetness, keeping this beer balanced among all those fresh hops. And lots there must be with the complex and nuanced flavors. What stood out to me were the orange essence, a light creaminess, and pine finish. Based on memory (which is hit-or-miss at times), this is slightly heavier than last years but still really bright, highly drinkable, and very tasty.

Of course, while I was there, I enjoyed more than one fresh hop. Next up, the King Cone.  I would rank it as good, just not as good as the Mirror Pond, but if you can tell from my description above that is a pretty high bar that has been set. The King Cone is lighter and has a light bitter hop and a great big floral nose. Quick turnaround on that one (a couple weeks I think) – less time with the hops means the hops don’t sit as heavy in the tongue. Also means it’s already blown. Sorry folks.

Last came the Fresh Hop Bitter on cask: subtle malt and citrus aroma, super smooth, lighter bodied and softer mouthfeel than the Mirror Pond fresh hop. Less complex with lemon citrus notes and finish. This one lingers on the palette. This is an easy drinking beer. 

That’s it folks. Hope you are enjoying (enjoyed) fresh hop season. The next Reader’s Choice will be for the Holiday Ale Fest. I’ll get the survey up once the beer list is released. In the meantime, ask your favorite barkeep for a pull from one of those taps. Cheers!

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