Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Deschutes Chasin' Freshies

Type: "fresh hop" IPA
Origin: Bend, OR
Price: $6.59 22 oz
ABV: 7.4%
NSP: 7.3

Fresh hop beers seem to be the new craze. They have been brewed in the past, but now it seems many a respectable company offer up their own rendition, with Deschutes alone serving up two offerings (see Hop Trip).

The original motivation behind this style of beer is hard to understand. The only reason I can conjure up is "cuz it sounds rad, BRO". Fresh hops aren't typically used in beer for good reason: they are not nearly as potent as their properly dried brethren. Nor are they as complex in character. But the end result is that you really do pick up a "freshness". It makes me think of green. Why? How the fuck should I know? It just does. And it seems to work. So why the hell not. Even though it's blasphemous to the beer gods to waste hops (you need WAY more fresh hops to get the same bittering power as dry hops, ounce for ounce).

Chasin' Freshies is a tasty beer. Brewed entirely with fresh Cascade hops, you expect it to have qualities of Sierra's flagship, and yet it doesn't. For whatever reason, it makes me think of Ommegang BPA, sans the Belgian qualities (an awful comparison, but they really do have a similar quality in the way you "feel" the bitterness). The lack of a strong citrus component is just more evidence that fresh hops lack the umph, but this beer works. It also happens to be the most pale IPA I have ever seen. It looks like a typical non-American lager (think Spaten, or Heineken, NOT Coors Light), which is confusing as shit.

Although I did enjoy this beer, in the end I still prefer the flavors that come with dry Cascade hops. They are much more interesting. Nonetheless, as a seasonal offering, think of this beer as a celebration of the hop harvesting season.

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