Deschutes Brewery Hop Henge Experimental IPA (2013-2014)
Brewed by: Deschutes Brewery
Beer Classification and Specs
- Style: IPA
- Variation: Imperial (Double)
- Seasonal: Winter – Spring
- ABV: 8.8%
- IBU: 99
Notes: A member of Deschutes’ “Bond Street Series.”
Brewer’s Notes and Ingredients
Stonehenge is a mystery. Hop Henge is a discovery. Cascade and Centennial hops unite with Chinook and two new, experimental varieties to erect a hop sanctuary. Revere the almighty hop!
Hops: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, and 2 experimental variety
Malts: Pale, Munich
More Hop Henge Images
Artwork: A cartoonish rendering of Stone Henge, but the stones are actually sacks of hops.
Color: Orange to bronze color, partly cloudy.
Aroma: Sweet, with touch of spiced citrus.
Arrived in: 22oz. Bottle
Served in: Goblet
Each month Wine Enthusiast publishes a beer buying guide. At the end of last year, the 2013 Top 25 Beers was compiled from the best of their monthly best. Beer listed in Wine Enthusiast’s final countdown “exhibit extraordinary craftsmanship, innovation and quality at prices that still represent affordable luxury.”
With a score of 95, Hop Henge ranked as Wine Enthusiast’s 3rd best beer of 2013, and immediately piqued our interest. Not only was it top rated, but also advertised itself as “experimental India Pale Ale”, making it too good to pass up. And honestly, that clever name and artwork didn’t hurt either…
During the holidays we found some, and enjoyed it, but unfortunately it got lost in our avalanche of favorite holiday seasonals. Luckily Deschutes kept producing Hop Henge into 2014, and we were able to find more bottles for a proper review. So here we go…
Hop Henge poured fairly carbonated, and its foamy head calmed down after a few minutes. Several clusters of patchy, uneven, bubbles were left floating on the liquid, like a smashed up ice floe. The lacing mimicked the same behavior along the dry sides of the glass.
For the mouthfeel, Hop Henge was quite effervescent. It was lighter consistency, and gave off a very “dry” feel, like champagne, followed by the crisp bubbly you would find in a glass of brut.
We would characterize Hop Henge as being more on the floral side of the IPA fence. Although after the floral start, there was a moderate citrus finish, closer in taste to tangerine or orange peel than grapefruit.
Grapefruit is typically the characteristic “citrus” found in most IPAs. Or maybe that’s just what our palette detects most of the time… Regardless, the orange snappiness was a nice departure from the grapefruit norm.
Now what are those two new experimental hops? Just like Stonehenge, nobody knows for sure, but we do have a theory. Since Cascade is characteristically floral, you would have to assume the two mystery hops are highly citrus based, and helped accentuate that tangerine to orangey finish.
We really enjoyed Hop Henge, and kept it in our beer rotation for as long as we could find it in stores. Its season has almost passed, but we can’t help feeling it would make a better summer release for the lighter consistency, citrus fruit, and satisfying refreshment.
Final Score: 4.5/5
Hop Henge was crisp, floral, citrusy, and refined. It was correctly billed as a “hop sanctuary”, since it maintained a comforting level of hops throughout. Not being a bitterly over-hopped India Pale Ale, and pleasing orange citrus notes, made this IPA a welcomed change of pace for us within the IPA style.