Deschutes Hop Trip: A Fresh Hop Pale Ale
Brewed by: Deschutes Brewery
Beer Classification and Specs
- Style: Pale Ale
- Variation: Fresh Hop
- Seasonal: Oct. – Dec.
- ABV: 5.9%
- IBU: 38
Notes: A member of Deschutes’ “Bond Street Series.”
Brewer’s Notes and Ingredients
Each year around Labor Day, Deschutes brewers high-tail it over the pass to Doug Weather’s hop fields near Salem for the harvest. After bagging these aromatic jewels, we hustle back and toss them into the brew kettles within four hours of picking. Our reward: a pale ale with a uniquely bright citrus punch and fall spice. It’s something only Deschutes would take past the idle-talk stage.
Hops: Nugget, Centennial, Fresh Crystal
Malts: NW Pale, Extra Special, Cara-Munich, Carapils
Additional: Brewed with Salmon Safe hops
More Hop Trip Images
Artwork: A wood panel truck with “Hop Trip” stenciled on the side is hauling an enormous load of fresh hops down the highway.
Color: Beautiful, semi-cloudy amber to reddish copper.
Aroma: Sweet and earthy with mild pear or apple.
Arrived in: 12 oz. Bottle
Served in: Tall Pilsner
There are two different freshness movements these days, and either greatly benefit the craft beer consumer. First, there’s the guaranteed freshness by date, like Stone’s Enjoy By series.
And then freshness can also be achieved inherently through the brewing process with wet, or fresh hops. But aren’t all hops fresh? No — most are harvested, and dry out over the course of the year until they’re used.
The fresh hop concept is actually nothing new, but like anything craft lately, more breweries have been adopting this trend. Deschutes has been taking their Hop Trip for many years, but we didn’t get to go along for the ride until now.
Like it says in the brewer’s notes above, Deschutes takes a quick road trip, bags the newly picked hops, and hauls them back to the brewery to be thrown in the kettle. It’s worth reiterating that these unwilted hops are harvested, with the brewing process underway in about 4 hours.
By the time the beer is brewed in early September, and distributed in mid-late October, you are drinking an ale brewed with hours old hops, put in your hand within 6-8 weeks. Win, win.
Our very first observation about Hop Trip was it seemed closer to an amber / red ale, with its coloring, and sweet aroma.
This ale was highly carbonated, with a horde of pin-sized bubbles that clung to the glass, while more escaped through the slightly opaque amber liquid.
There was not much head, which dissipated rather quickly to a few paper thin clusters of froth. Its effervescence tinged up on your tongue with each sip, which made for a crisp mouthfeel.
As far as the taste, Hop Trip’s freshness could not be more obvious. None of its profiles were too overpowering — more like a pleasing medley, or continual transition through succulent, sticky, and natural flavors.
It started with an earthy dampness, where gentle spice and evergreen emerged, followed by slow rolling traditional hoppiness. As soon as that characteristic “pale ale” flavor developed, droplets of sweet citrus, like Meyer lemons washed over.
People sometimes say beer or wine can taste like bubble gum. Well, this one does for sure in the finish. Hoppy beer gets you smacking your lips for more bitterness, and Hop Trip had the same effect — only for more of its sweet juiciness.
Final Score: 4/5
The fresh hops added a whole new dimension of clean and bright character to this ale. We wish Hop Trip was a year round beer, but unfortunately you cannot harvest the freshest of hops anytime you please.