The good folks at Butte Creek Brewing (thanks Scott) were kind enough to send me a bottle of their Fresh Hop Organic IPA (the full name is "Fresh Hop Organic Sustainable Harvest India Pale Ale"… quite a mouthful!), which I opened tonight. It’s one of the only fresh hop beers (other than Deschutes Brewery‘s) that I’ve been able to sample.
Butte Creek has been making a respectable name for themselves with their organic line of beers, and this fresh hop ale is (I believe) their first foray into the fresh hop arena. It’s 6.6% alcohol by volume, somewhat lighter than their regular IPA. I really dig the label, of which I present a poor substitute (professional photographer, I’m not).
Appearance: A very clear, nicely red-amber—a hint of honey—and a nice fluffy light tan head.
Smell: Caramel malt, hops are green and mild and steel cut. They’re not as prominent as I’d expect, which is a little surprising.
Taste: Malty and rich—hops are strong and crisp and clean—they coat the mouth as if oily, but they’re not really oily at all. More powdery and dry. Has an earthy note. Nice kick at the end. Residual sweetness from the alcohol.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a slight syrupy thickness. Nice hop character in the aftertaste leaving you a bit puckery.
Overall: A nice IPA with a respectable hop bite—the fresh hops here lend a fresh, clean character and maintain a big presence (though not in the aroma).