A “DELIGHTED TO WRITE THIS” QUICKY :: Deschutes Brewery Hop Henge Experimental IPA

by David Daugherty on April 1, 2012

Living here in the Southwest so far has been great and one of the best things about it is having such a huge selection of regionally distributed craft beer that I couldn’t get out east.

Deschutes Brewery, out of Bend Oregon, is one that has come up on my radar since I’ve been out here! I reviewed their holiday beer, making the top of my seasonal list.

As for today, getting right to it, simply stated, Deschutes’ Hop Henge is crazy good! From the label to the liquid inside, this is one extremely impressive IPA.

Let’s start with the label. Sacks of hops are constructed into a mock Stonehenge. The description on it reads “Stonehenge is a mystery. Hop Henge is a discovery. Our monument to hops – Hop Henge is brought to life by the uncompromising creativity of our brewers. With an immense hop flavor and bitter finish, this experimental IPA will stand the test of time.”

The ingredients that make up this monster of an IPA are Pale, Crystal & Carastan Malts but it’s the hops that make it big! Millennium, Northern Brewer, Cascade, Centennial, Zeus, Simcoe, Brewers Gold, & Citra Hops bring the IBU rating to 95 with an ABV of 8.5%. Probably the hoppiest ale I have had besides Oskar Blues Gubna which had an IBU rating of 100.

courtesy of untappd.com

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass, the color is a hazy orange, with a medium head and slow lacing. The aroma is wonderful! A strong, citrus smell comes across immediately as well as an earthy scent. The first sip had every salivary gland working overtime and every taste bud standing at attention!  Hop Henge is a really delicious and complex brew. This American Double IPA doesn’t disappoint at any stage of the tasting. As I finished my first taste, the extreme bitterness that hit at first blush was there for a minute, then as it faded, in came a nice, citrusy taste, almost semi sweet. The best way to describe it is that you weren’t tasting the beer, the beer was smacking your mouth around a little, and then rewarding you with a treat for making the effort. That made this one for me an incredible brew, a great take on an American Double.

Spinal Tap's Experimental Stonehenge

We’ve talked about session beer, mostly lower alcohol and less hoppy beers, but this one may just break the mold on session beers. Yes, I said this is a session beer and you’re saying “Dave, at 95 IBU’s? A session beer?” Absolutely! I think the addition of the Citra hop makes this one of the most drinkable IPA’s I have ever had and if you can get your hands on this, I suggest you do so fast because it’s only available from January to April. Looking forward to see what more experimental brews Deschutes might have in the making! CHEERS!

ed. I think Daves saying it’s worth regarding as a session beer, in the sense that you drink plenty of it, love it, fall asleep, wake up… then repeat. Sounds like a session to me.

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