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Peter LaFrance

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A taste of… Deschutes Hop Henge IPA 2009

Deschutes Brewery
Bend, OR

Preface: Yesterday I received this brew from the folks at Deschutes Brewery.

A note on the label says, “Stonehenge is a mystery. Hop Henge is a discovery. Our monument to hops – Hop Henge is brought to life by the uncompromising creativity of our brewers. With an immense hop flavor and bitter finish. This experimental IPA will stand the test of time.”

Alcohol by volume: 8.75%
IBU: 95

The following are my tasting notes:

Appearance: This is a copper-penny bronze, slightly hazy, lightly carbonated brew, topped with a light tan, none-too- dense very rocky head comprised of sparkling medium sized bubble.

Aroma: The first impression is of fresh, green vegetal hops. The second impression strengthened the firs aromas. Not a trace of malt. The lip-to-sip has the hops rushing onward, inward and into the nasal passages.

Mouth feel: This is a medium bodied brew with so much hops that the mouth-feel this out after the initial sensation of cool refreshment.

Flavor: Following the refreshing mouth-feel, the initial flavor, before opening the mouth to experience the aromatics, is actually a tap on the tongue of sweet “bready” malt. This is almost immediately quashed by the hop flavors. There are a few levels of hop flavors here and without that first kiss of malt would make this a hop-tea.

Finish: Finishing notes are remarkably clear of grapefruit (Cascade) and leaves both citric, grassy and a whisper of phenol notes...

Comments: After the label warning of 95 BTUs I was expecting to have my taste sensors pummeled with grapefruit flavor. When this didn’t happen in either the flavor or finish I can only attribute that to the hop selection and the use of skillfully blended malts. It would take a real caramel candy sugar malt mix to rein in the hops horses. That said, I am very impressed with the balance and particularly the finish.

Carnivores, seated in front of a platter of rare prime grilled rib of beef can find no better beverage. Thin sliced potatoes roasted in duck fat, and sautéed Brussels Sprouts… ah heaven!

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

What others say:

BeerAdvocate: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/63/47434

RateBeer: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/deschutes-hop-henge-experimental--ipa/98697/

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