Fall is one of our favorite times of year here in the Bend Wild compound. Part of the autumn glory in Central Oregon is the release of a new batch of Deschutes Brewery’s Hop Trip, a delightful fresh-hopped beer crafted by the godfather of the Bend Beer scene. Frankly, last year’s version of Hop Trip was a disappointment. We didn’t score it but the numbers wouldn’t have been pretty. It was dry, simple and without verve. This years version is the polar opposite. At 5.5% alcohol and 38 IBU’s this autumn joy is loaded with crystal hops and an undisclosed dry kilned hop. Prior to tasting, the mention of “dry kilned hops” makes one ask if this is truly a fresh hopped beer. After the first taste, concerns dissipate as this Deschutes Beer is special.
Bend Wild – Beer Scoring Scale
Nose/Appearance- Clear with amber and garnet hues, this fresh hop beer pours with a tightly laced snowy white head. Perhaps not as citrusy as its label description might suggest, hints of pine, dried fruits, and suggestions of unlikely wood aging are present.
Body/Flavor- Excellent on both counts. For a beer of only 5.5% alcohol, Hop Trip has excellent complexity and flavor. A sweet malty backbone flirts with the ample signature of chewy and resinous fresh hops. Far more palatable and sessionable than your standard northwest fresh hop beer. Wonderfully balanced and intricate throughout the tasting process.
Finish/Mouthfeel- Occasional sips can hint at an excessive dryness which dominated last year’s version of Hop Trip are adroitly buried beneath layers of malty entanglement and fresh wet hop flavors.
Drinkability- 10,10,10. This low alcohol, flavorful beer is becoming a staple in the Bend Wild Compound.
Beer Likeness- Think of a lighter, hoppier Boont Amber from Anderson Valley, or an old Cinder cone Red from Deschutes, but with better mouthfeel and finish.