I'm not a huge fan of beers that feature a lot of hops. I don't mind hops, but I got really turned off to them by a couple Indian Pale Ales that, to me, were just over the top. I used to not know what made it an IPA but when I found out it meant double hops (supposedly for British sailors going to India way back when, to keep the flavor balanced during the long water trip), I then assumed that anything claiming to be hoppy or be featuring hops I wouldn't really like.
So, I've been avoiding those for awhile. But you know what? That's kind of silly. I mean, all ales have hops, and I went through college pounding ales like crazy. (Mom, I'm kidding - I never had more than one or two at a time.) For me to decide hops are bad just didn't make a ton of sense when you look at it that way.
Still, I'm wary.
Of course, living in Oregon where some of the best hops in the world are supposedly grown, all the top local breweries like to celebrate the harvest with special brews. I've been reading reviews of these brews online and all these experts are claiming this beer or that beer is excellent because of the hops. I figured what the hell. When Deschutes Brewery - rapidly becoming my go-to - issued their annual Hop Trip from their Bond Street Series of beers, their annual homage to the hops harvest, I decided to give it a whirl.
It's not horribly cheap - I think I paid $5.99 for the 22 ounce bottle - and is only available from October to December every year, using the first hops of the season.
I wasn't sure what to expect, but again, they haven't steered me wrong so far...
And you know what? This was very good. It is a clean, crisp amber ale. You can just about taste the freshness of the hops and the flavor is delicate while still being a tad sharp; hoppy, but not overly so. I was definitely pleasantly surprised. If you like ales you should like this - I'll be getting more.
By the way - their Abyss released on Tuesday and yes, it's absolutely on my shopping list.