First, like last year’s Fresh Hop Mirror Pond (another remarkable beer), the fresh hops in Chasin’ Freshies come from the heirloom Cascade hop strain (taken from the original 1972 cuttins!) that Deschutes invested years of time and money into growing at Goschie Farms. There’s a beer geek factor at play here, for sure, but there’s also something amazingly fragrant and fresh about these hops that I haven’t encountered in other beers. (Of course this could just be a combination of Deschutes’ deft handling of fresh hops along with how, er, fresh this beer is.)
(This also reveals the start of a possible annual pattern: releasing a popular pub-only fresh hop beer in limited bottles and brewed with this heirloom hop. I remember Chasin’ Freshies was in the Bend Pub last year, and Fresh Hop Mirror Pond has been a Portland Pub mainstay for a few years. Should be fun to guess next year’s heirloom fresh hop beer…)
Second, for a 7.4% abv IPA, this is an amazingly light beer—both in color and clarity, but also in body and mouthfeel: it’s simple, crisp, and clean and showcases the hops incredibly well. I don’t remember offhand the last time I had an IPA this light.
Finally… well I guess “finally” this is just a really well-brewed beer and is the best fresh hop beer I’ve yet had this season. Seek it out, now.
The name, incidentally, (which to my endless amusement Jeff considers terrible) is a ski term, at least one I know used by locals to Bend/Central Oregon, where Mt. Bachelor is a well-attended ski resort. Yeah, it has that kind of “Gen Y” feel to it—“freshies” referring to untouched fresh powder—but to me it works great as the name of a fresh hop beer. Your mileage may vary.
Appearance: Clear, bright, golden color with a crisp, fluffy white head.
Smell: Very fresh, bright with fresh-squeezed citrus (lime); a touch sweaty, with tropical fruit drizzled with juice from that lime. Really nicely fragrant and luscious while being delicate at the same time.
Taste: Lusciously toasty, bready malt punctuated by juicy hoppy character—without the bitterness and instead is very fresh and fruity and green. Super drinkable with a simple but clean and toasted-rich cracker malt base. Did I mention juicy? It’s really juicy, like fresh squeezed citrus hops.
Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light-bodied and crisp, which works really well to highlight these hops.
Overall: Amazing. Best fresh hop I’ve yet encountered this year.
Chasin’ Freshies on Untappd. BeerAdvocate: 83/100. RateBeer: 3.02/5, 47th percentile (and only 15th for the style). (Actually I’m really surprised the by RateBeer rating. Oh well, can’t please everybody.)