Reviewed: Deschutes Chasin’ Freshies Fresh Hop IPA 2018
Product description: Like fresh powder, it’s a seize-the-moment thing. This year we’ve chased down Strata fresh hops to add to this bright IPA. At harvest, we rush the hops from the vine to our kettles to ensure we capture the purest, juiciest essence of the hop flower in every beer. Enjoy the fresh, bold aroma and flavor that comes but once a year. Malts: Pilsner Malt, Flaked Oats. Hops: Strata. 65 IBUs, 7.4% ABV.
Deschutes Brewery – Deschutes Chasin’ Freshies Fresh Hop 2018 – 12oz bottle served in nonic pint – 7.4% ABV
Sampling from a 12oz bottle, this year’s Chasin’ Freshies immediately looks like a big improvement over subsequent years. The beer is crystal clear pale straw, a color almost unheard of for a Deschutes branded IPA. There’s incredible bleach white foam that rises up out of the glass like an ice cream float. It looks amazing and way more impressive than I expected.
The aroma continues this trend. It’s bright and well-integrated with pink lemonade, pomelo, freshly-cut grass, and wet sourdough with a big yeasty character. If I didn’t know this was a fresh hop IPA, I would maybe think I was smelling a hoppy Belgian blonde ale like De Ranke XX Bitter. I’m not familiar with Strata hops, the variety used for this year, but love the aroma on them.
Digging into this one, wow, each sip is just way cleaner than I would have ever imagined. This beer has almost a lager-like cleanliness to the mouthfeel. There’s ample sugar left in this beer to nicely balance out some spicy, resinous hop oils that give the beer some powerful but not overbearing bitterness. Overall sweetness is at a 7/10 as is bitterness. There’s much more body to this beer than you would expect and way more finesse. White crystalline sugar, white grapefruit sections, lemongrass, and frosted pound cake round out the primary flavors. You get a rich, coating mouthfeel throughout the experience thanks to ample oils from the fresh hops used plus the oats addition.
The aftertaste is long and enjoyable with resinous hops piling on for over a minute. Each sip demands another until the glass is drained in under 15 minutes. This is a thirst-quenching, perfect beer in my opinion that shows how well-refined and clean IPAs can be. It’s a miracle really as Deschutes has been in the past one of the greatest examples of how not to make an IPA: dark amber in color, ultra sharp bitterness, one-note orange peel flavors, and reliance on caramel malt for body.
Aside from Pacific Wonderland Lager, this year’s version of Chasin’ Freshies is the best beer I’ve ever had from Deschutes. It shows a mastery of what makes a world-class, modern, clear IPA. I would urge you to seek this one out before it’s gone. I will be making a run for more tomorrow.
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