Deschutes Hop Trip
Product description: Vine to kettle in less than four hours, we wait restlessly all year for the hop harvest celebration. After bagging these aromatic jewels, we hustle back and toss them into the brew kettles within hours of picking. It’s our one chance to capture the bright citrus and pine essence of fresh hops.
Deschutes Brewery – Deschutes Hop Trip – 12 oz. bottle poured into specialty glassware – 5.7% abv.
From a 12oz bottle with a best by date at the end of December, Hop Trip is clear, deep amber in color with thick, yellowish foam; softer carbonation; and ample head retention. It’s a little darker-colored than I’d like for this style, but let’s test it out.
The nose starts off with red apple, rose, sharper lemon soap. Some of the compounds are volatile and dissipate after a few minutes. Cinnamon, ruby red grapefruit, and brown sugar rub come through as it warms – a nice improvement!
Digging into this beer, Hop Trip is richer and oily in mouthfeel with a Sierra Nevada type of gritty, cracked whole grain character. Southern sweet tea comes to mind with autumn leaf tannins and bright lemon and orange peel for balance. Red apple skins creep in here and there, but it’s not prominent enough to ruin anything. The beer is lighter bodied than you’d expect given the color and beer style. So, it’s pretty crushable. In the finish, there are honey bread rolls and still, a decent amount of sweetness remains; making this malt-focused overall.
I can’t really get the fresh hop component out of the aroma, but the base malt character is phenomenal and that’s the essential part of the beer. My biggest criticism is that this is billed as a fresh hop pale ale, but the whole time I’m thinking autumn IPA or even just amber ale. The recipe includes Cara-Munich and Munich malts, which add a hefty melanoidin character that drives the richness of the mouthfeel. But the hop character just isn’t powerful enough to match the base beer while the best hop aromas from the fresh Crystal hop addition are lost on me.