Thursday, July 31, 2008

Deschutes Brewery - Hop Trip Pale Ale

The Lighter Side of Hops...

Deschutes Brewery makes their seasonal Hop Trip Pale Ale as part of their specialty "Bond Street" series, their brewmasters' homage to their roots. Golden tan with a pleasant malty nose and just a finger of foam, this brew is a surprising change from all the hop-heavy beers I've grown used to here in the Pacific Northwest! If you're a big Hop-Head or even someone who shys away from the magic herb, you owe it to yourself to try this one. Brewed with freshly harvested hops instead of the more usual compressed pellets or dried flakes, the flavor of this Pale Ale is different to anything I've had before! The taste is almonds and grape leaves with just a hint of molasses smoke at the back of the tongue. The finish is a light floral herbalness with just a hint of lemon resolving to a subtle burnt carmel. Look for this one in the Fall, just after the hops are harvested - well worth seeking out. This would go well with a home-made lamb and potato stew with lots of garlic, tomatoes, sage and onions.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

He'brew Brewery - Origin Pomegranate Ale

Seeds of Love.

He'brew Brewery is the offbeat producer of this decidedly offbeat IPA. The malty-sweet nose threw me a bit as I was expecting the herbal bouquet of hops from this medium-amber ambrosia. Nowhere near as sweet or acidic as I expected based on its name (and ingredients), the flavor is heady with dark malt, figs, dried peaches and just a tang of hops. The flavor is rich and complex though more reminiscent of a solid Bock than an IPA - but maybe that's just the Pacific Northwesterner in me talking as our IPAs tend to be "hop bombs". Nonetheless this ale is a real mouth-pleaser I'll seek out again! I'd pair a 22 ounce bottle of this with potatoes au gratin topped with basil ground beef and Walla Walla onions.