Beer Review: Deschutes Hop Henge Experimental India Pale Ale, Is A Must Have

image courtesy of Portlandbeer.org's Flickr page Hard to believe that with the way the weather around here has been that Spring is only a few weeks away. Granted a few weeks actually means around, 45 days or so, but still the ground isn’t waiting for the calendar to change over to March, so with that we reflect on a recent beer consumed this past week.

Sitting in our fridge this past week was a bottle of Hop Henge Experimental India Pale. Brewed in the American-style of India Pale Ales, Hop Henge has been a beer that refuses to remain consistent year after year. With the Bond Street label, this beer has since its creation been a beer that cannot be compared with its predecessors, mostly in part to the hops used in its birth.

First here is what the Brewers Association has to say about the American-style India Pale Ale characteristics.

American-style India pale ales are perceived to have medium-high to intense hop bitterness, flavor and aroma with medium-high alcohol content. The style is further characterized by fruity, floral and citrus-like American-variety hop character. Note that fruity, floral and citrus-like American-variety hop character is the perceived end, but may be a result of the skillful use of hops of other national origins. The use of water with high mineral content results in a crisp, dry beer. This pale gold to deep copper-colored ale has a full, flowery hop aroma and may have a strong hop flavor (in addition to the perception of hop bitterness). India pale ales possess medium maltiness which contributes to a medium body. Fruity-ester flavors and aromas are moderate to very strong. Diacetyl can be absent or may be perceived at very low levels. Chill and/or hop haze is allowable at cold temperatures. (English and citrus-like American hops are considered enough of a distinction justifying separate American-style IPA and English-style IPA categories or subcategories.

Hop Henge as it rests in the glass appears deep copper and clear with a strong whip-cream colored, foamy head. Over time as the beer’s foamy cap recedes there is a noticeably strong curtain of lace that is left behind.

As it warms up, aromas of lemon grass, earth (green grass), along with pine needles and sweet caramel are released.

Taking our first sip we are taken in initially greeted by bits of sweet orange citrus, vanilla, and bits of oak, along with mild earthiness (green grass, rich soil). With the last bit receding down our throat be pick up sweet caramel in the finish. Overall this beer has a medium weight to it as it rests on the tongue and there is a slight stickiness.

Brewery Description

First brewed in 2006, Deschutes Brewery’s Hop Henge Experimental IPA reappears this year with more extreme hop flavors than ever before. The new formulation is the epitome of the brewery’s experimental style and commitment to innovation, while gratifying their unquenchable thirst for beautifully balanced hoppy beers. The newest incarnation of Hop Henge uses several new hop processes and techniques to create a truly unique and unexpected beer.

Several pounds of Centennial & Cascade  hops are in each barrel with a heavy dry-hop presence to top it off. A blend of crystal, pale and carastan malts creates an overall biscuity characteristic that is dense and muscular, building the alcohol base to support the monstrous hop profile.

When one of our brewers came up with the name Hop Henge, he also came up with the idea of actually recreating Stonehenge, only with hop bales. We were up for the challenge and even though the weather did not want to cooperate, we pulled it off and threw a party afterwards. Click here to view the photos.

Our Thoughts
You Must Have This. If this is still on the shelf at your nearest grocery store or favorite bottleshop, you must pick one up. Listed as available between January and April, its safe to say there is probably plenty to be found if you are willing to look for it.

Thoughts by your Colleagues
http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/63/47434
http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/deschutes-hop-henge-experimental-ipa/98697/

About the photo’s author
"Matt Wiater is a photographer covering the Portland beer scene for portlandbeer.org."

In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review.

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