Today here in Bend, Deschutes Brewery is hosting their “Hopzeit Autumn IPA Celebration” (release party) at their Bend Pub, where they are pouring free samples of their new fall seasonal all day long. Full pints are available too, of course.
Deschutes had recently sent me bottles of Hopzeit, so in conjunction with their release event today I have my review and comments.
Here are the details and specs for Hopzeit Autumn IPA:
This modern ale inspired by the time-honored flavors of a Märzenbier combines classic malts with the latest hop varietals from Germany to deliver an herbal and balanced Autumn IPA that’s as at home in your backyard as the biergarten.
Malts are Munich, Vienna, and pilsner; hops are Herkules, Sterling, and Hull Melon. It is 7% alcohol by volume, with 60 IBUs.
I have to say, thank you to Deschutes for finally offering up a packaged fall seasonal beer, bridging the gap between summer (formerly Twilight Ale, now Hop Slice) and winter (Jubelale) — it was fairly off-putting to receive bottles of Jubelale in August!
And in general, I like the idea of an Oktoberfest-styled IPA (even if the whole “everything as IPA!!!” shtick is getting played out), and I think this one largely succeeds. Amusingly, and a little oddly, they are including the hashtag #SayNoToPumpkinBeer in their marketing and promoting Hopzeit as “100% gourd-free”; I wasn’t aware they were under such pressure to produce a pumpkin beer or that such an anti-pumpkin stance was warranted. That’s fine, but I don’t know that inventing a new style (Märzen IPA?) is the answer either; I’d have been super happy with a solid, traditional Oktoberfest. (And it struck me as I was drinking these that instead of a new style, it rather seems as if Deschutes has simply re-created Altbier. Or maybe a Sticke Alt.)
Appearance: Crystal clear, deep amber-copper in color, with a generous light tan head that reminds me of wood putty. Color is akin to a shiny new penny.
Smell: Tangy, fruity hop aromas — not citrusy or tropical, as much as like honeydew melon, lemongrass, and squash. (Gourd-free indeed?) There’s a lemony-herbal spiciness that’s reminiscent of tea. Clean, slightly rye-like spicy maltiness.
Taste: Big punch of bitterness up front, woody and minty and herbal. Following that is a grassy-grainy malt body that’s warm and toasty, very much in the Oktoberfest style. A touch sweet at the back, drier than caramel — Munich. Hops have a minty-fruity character going on that’s hard for me to quantify — these newer German varieties I’m simply unfamiliar with. Sweet blossoms? As it warms a spicy-bready character becomes evident, not unlike a rye or pumpernickel bread.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, crisp, smooth. Drier finish, with an almost minty aftertaste/feel.
Overall: This is good, and an interesting take on blending the two influencing styles. Not revolutionary but a well-hopped, malty, lager-like take on an IPA. (Hoppy red?)