The Brew Site

Received: Fresh Hop Mirror Pond Pale Ale

This came today from Deschutes Brewery:

Their Fresh Hop Mirror Pond Pale Ale, which I believe is the first fresh hop beer other than Hop Trip that the Brewery has bottled.

I’ve been excited about this beer since Bill Night over at It’s Pub Night started talking it up the last couple of years as the best fresh hop beer out there… in fact this year he wrote, “The last couple of years, Deschutes’ fresh-hopped batches of Mirror Pond have been so good that I can’t shake the feeling that it is the best beer anyone in history has ever been privileged to taste.” (Okay, perhaps a bit of hyperbole, but since—up until now—Fresh Hop Mirror Pond was brewed and only available at the Portland Pub I haven’t been able to refute it.)

Aside from the high praise from Bill, there’s another reason to be excited about this beer: it uses heirloom Cascade hops. This is not just a figure of speech; this is from the letter that accompanied the bottle:

But this creation went far beyond just ordering some Cascade hops from the rich farmlands of Oregon — instead, Brewmaster Larry Sidor revived the original 1972 rhizome for the plant from the archives at Oregon State University.

“We are in the craft beer industry and we care about quality, which is why we asked the hop farmer to keep a field idle for two years — we actually paid them not to grow anything,” said Sidor. “This gave us a ‘pure’ field to start with, using cuttings from the original Cascade hop plant and we grew them up for more than two years.”

Goschie Farms of the Willamette Valley agreed to dedicate four acres of pristine land for heirloom Cascade hop cultivation.

Frankly there’s almost nothing about this that doesn’t flabbergast me on some level. The original Cascade hop from 1972? Holding a field empty for two years, then waiting at least three more years for the hops to fully mature?

Stan, are you paying attention?