I think this beer – and its brewery – are worth noting.
The Brewery: Deschutes Brewing hails from Bend, Oregon, and pretty much everyone west of the Mississippi knows about them. But I just found out they aren’t available in the East, and I can’t understand why. They’re great.
They’re the no. 2 buyer of whole cone hops behind Sierra Nevada, and they make quality, non-over-the-top beers in just about every style you’d want. Most importantly, when Danielle and I visited their brewery over the summer, we BOTH loved every beer in the sampler (though I lost my notes). That’s never happened. And they make an excellent burger to boot.
The beer: For the past two years they’ve come out with a fresh hop IPA called Chasin’ Freshies – a hat tip to skiing/boarding on fresh powder. Last year’s brew focused on piney, West Coast Cascade hops. I never tried it, but it came out with ‘okay’ reviews. This year’s take was a winner. It focuses on Amarillo hops, which are very popular for the orangey, citrus notes they add to beer. The bomber I tried was a little old; they came out around October. But the bottle said it was good through December 18, and it tasted great.
Chasin’ Freshies Fresh Hop IPA: 4
The beer looks a little unusual for an IPA: It’s a hazy golden yellow instead of a more trademark amber. But the thick, white head reminded me of “freshies,” and the viscous, nasty lacing on the sides were what you’d see in a high-quality brew.
The oldest part of this beer was the smell, but I could still get some high notes of tangerine, grass and a little bit of fresh-cut mango. And the taste was strong enough that its oldness didn’t really matter.
In my face right away was a resiny, hoppy bitterness that stays through the rest of the beer. But in the middle is a delicious mix of mango and orange, with the orange out front. It’s full and smooth, with a snappy, fresh bite at the end. Deschutes’ website says it might pair well with “spicy red fish stew” or “raisin filo strudel,” but I think it might go just as well with barbecue chicken.
Overall, this was the most refreshing of the fresh hop beers I tried, though I wish I could’ve tried it about a month ago. Still, well done.