Brew Review: Hop Henge

25 Oct

Brew: Hop Henge (Bond Street Series)

Brewed by: Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR)

Style: American IPA/Double IPA (8.96% ABV)

 

Deschutes Brewery is easily one of my favorite smaller breweries in the world.  One of the first breweries I was introduced to besides Summit here in St. Paul.  I worked out in Idaho for a summer and one of the guys I worked with had a connection with the brewery and would also pick up a 6-er of Mirror Pond or Black Butte and I was hooked.  Actually his dad was one of the engineers at the brewery and I should be bothering him probably every day to see if his dad can get me a job or something.   Anyway, since that summer (age unknown) I was stuck on this brewery and since then every time I go back and have a Mirror Pond or Black Butte I realize how solid even their year round beers are.  Thankfully they also take huge amounts of pride and care in crafting their seasonal and limited release beers which is where Hop Henge falls.  This brew is available between January to April.

Hop Henge pours out clear amber.  The amber is mixed with some nice orange tones creating a nice sunset looking ale.  A light fluffy head that is more off-white than white appears rising up a solid ½ inch.  A really solid looking IPA or Double IPA if you want to get technical. 

The aroma that flows off of this beer is dominated by the hops.  Pine resin and floral hops constitute a lighter hop profile with light meaning not syrupy or heavy but airy.  They still dominate but they are like a basketball player quietly getting 25 points a night compared to Carmelo Anthony who will loudly get his 28 points a night (and take about 24 shots to get those 28 points in the process). Along with the hops there is definitely a strong malt backbone that you can detect lurking back there.  I have a feeling that this is going to be a well balanced brew.

The taste is somewhat uninspiring upon the first sip.  The bitterness from the hops is there and in full effect, the malt is present to back up and balance (nicely I might add) the bitterness from the hops.  But past that there isn’t much to write home about.  There aren’t any nice flavors jumping out at me and I don’t get an especially creamy or sharp feel in the mouth. 

I would say that this beer is OK.  It has plenty of potential and delivers somewhat but I don’t think it really took it to the next level like it should have.  The hops have their place but the characteristics of the hops that I like to see come out, juicy fruit aromas and taste weren’t there.  Maybe I had an off day when I cracked this brew, I don’t know.  I know for sure that next year I want to give it another shot to see if it was me or the beer but at this point I wasn’t sold.  I’d rather go back to Black Butte porter and sink into its creamy dark delights.

 

Final Grade: B-

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