Deschutes Brewery, undisputedly one of the top 10 largest craft breweries in the U.S., is working hard to increase its presence in the market. Deschutes has been brewing beer since the ‘80s and isn’t interested in slowing or scaling down.
A deal was recently struck to set up another brewing facility in Roanoke, Va. This Eastward expansion will bolster the affected Virginia economy and bring in new resources to the local craft community there and around.
And speaking in that vein of freshness, today’s review is Hop Henge, an imperial IPA from this monolith of craft brewers. Each release of this beer varies in ingredients and characteristics, but the central intent of this brew is—what Deschutes calls—exploring the endless possibilities of the almighty hop. This is the motto of their Bond Street Series, which draws inspiration from the original pub in Bend, Ore. Found in this series are maybe some more familiar offerings: Fresh Squeezed, Armory XPA, Hop Trip, Chasin’ Freshies, and Pinedrops.
All things considered, I have an immense amount of respect for Deschutes and their search for innovation, love of creativity, and transparent support for home brewing. Today’s beer consumers aren’t of the same mind our dads and grandpas were—much of the time we want to try new takes on traditional styles, and if you can convince us it’s rare or limited we’ll take the day off work just to go wait in line for it. I’m not suggesting that Hop Henge is worth burning a vacation day, but it is a very nice distinction from many currently available DIPAs.
From the bottle, the facts are short and sweet. “A balance between a multitude of whole flower hops,”1 bottle conditioned, and 8.9 percent ABV. Further search substantiates Pale and Munich malts and English Ale yeast. For an “imperial IPA” I was a tad surprised to see an IBU rating of 66, as it seems to drink much less than that.
The pour is clear and fiery orange, and atop the neon tangerine liquid is an off-white three finger head. The aromas are predominately tropical consisting of pineapple, mango, and passionfruit. There is also the beloved grapefruit quality familiar to the imperial style, which is subtly supported by a sweet bready feature and yeast underpinning. Hop Henge is very lively and crisp and finishes exceptionally clean after each sip. Overall the beer has a medium attenuation and a quality IPA look and feel. The tasting notes are equal parts grapefruit, pineapple and hops. The hop profile is far from two dimensional however and has a pleasant transition from citrus to herbal and presents itself in strength respectively. The impression is almost like a blend of west coast and European hop approaches. Deschutes’ Hop Henge has a warm alcohol heat, and solidly confirms the listed ABV. The beer leaves dry, balanced, and bids you a citrus rind and grassy farewell.