A big trend this year seems to be the fresh hop beers—brewing with just-picked hops that are still "wet" (as opposed to dried hops, which is the norm). I first encountered this last year with Deschutes Brewery‘s Hop Trip, which I wrote a bit about. I liked it quite a lot, so I picked up this year’s batch and did the review thing.
Overall, it’s not as hoppy as I remember from last year, nor is the green hop character as pronounced. Did they use a different variety of hops this year? I know they brewed with Crystal… perhaps last year’s was different.
Appearance: Clear amber with brownish-red hues. Fluffy off-white head, two fingers worth.
Smell: Grassy, resiny (pine?) hops… smells "green" but not as hoppy as I expected. Herbal and floral.
Taste: It’s not as hoppy bitter like I remember last year… not as intense. Twiggy, resin, grassy, a "green" character. Malt is light and subtle, appropriate because you want to let the hops do the talking.
Mouthfeel: Thinner than I’d expect… thinner in body than Mirror Pond? Nice and smooth… a little bit of bite from hops.
On the whole, even though it’s different from what I remember last year, this is still a very good beer. The hops aren’t overwhelming or too pitchy or sharp, and it’s a great pale ale.
On BeerAdvocate, it scores 86, with 96% approval… take that with a grain of salt though, since most of the reviews are from last year. Same caveat with its RateBeer review too—it scores 3.79 out of 5 and lands in the 95th percentile.
Not that it doesn’t earn those scores. Just don’t be surprised if you read one of those reviews and it’s not quite what you expect.