Despite my reservations about how early Twilight Ale showed up this year, I had to drink it anyway. It’s too good a beer not to drink; I daresay Twilight Ale is Deschutes Brewery’s most consistently-brewed seasonal beer, and I’m frankly amazed at how consistent my experience has been with it year after year, including this year (previous reviews here, here, and here).
In the glass, this is a good-looking beer: honey-copper colored and a generous, off-white head and very clear. It leaves a nice light lacing behind as you drink it. On the nose, it’s bready and brightly hoppy with what I’m coming to think of as Deschutes’ signature or “house hop”—(grape)fruity and slightly catty and green.*
It’s as delicious and drinkable as always, light, crisp and juicy with lots of fresh-baked bread crust and a touch of caramel. The hops really stand out in this beer—nicely floral and pungent on the tongue while the bitterness comes out at the back of the throat like a bitter herb tea.
Twilight is a standout like it is every year, and most excellent when it’s fresh. It is, quite simply, one of the best summer ales around. It’s in the stores now, so go pick some up.
And here’s hoping it doesn’t run out too early!
*(I had to go back and pinpoint the other instances where I’ve detected this hop in their beers; I noted it in the 2009 Hop Henge (“Hops which are green and catty; pink grapefruit(?); sticky, resinous, freshly-crushed hops with a touch of cannabis“) as well as this year’s (“Signature Deschutes hopping (of late); green and resiny and a touch of citrus and a touch catty“), the Red Chair IPA from last year (“smells like the new strain of hops Deschutes has been experimenting with (Hop Henge): floral and citrus and a touch catty“), and other instances. I think Mirror Pond has been exhibiting a bit of this lately as well.)