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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

First Fresh Hop of the Season

My mom is in town this week with a couple friends, and last night I took the gang to Deschutes.  It was, when we arrived, a glorious 80-degree evening and put was suffused with golden light.  I was trying to give them a good Portlandy-beery sense of the city, and all the uncontrollable factors were really working with me.  And that was before I saw they had Fresh Hop Mirror Pond on tap.

That beer is just spectacular--and also a case study in the evanescence of the genre.  Deschutes bottles FHMP, and it's a pleasant beer by the time you get it home from the grocery store and finally pull it out of your fridge.  A bit more delicate than regular Mirror Pond, maybe, but not a lot different.  On tap, spanking fresh at the pub, though, and it's a revelation.  The beer is nothing but Cascades, so all the aromas that seem unCascadey--mint and hay, a touch of licorice?, lemon--come from the freshness.  Based on the unctuous decadence of the body it feels (not tastes, feels) like the beer is swimming in hop oils.  A mental image pops into mind of a kettle of beer so choked with hops it's green as a pool of absinthe.

The funny thing is, I'm not a huge fresh hop fan--not like some people.  But I gotta tell you, done right, there's almost nothing as rare and wonderful as a just-picked, fresh-from-the-tap, wet hop beer.  You can taste the life.

Incidentally, the Hops Fest out in Hood River is about ten days away (9/29), and by the looks of the taplist, it's going to be good.  More on that soon--but put it on your calendars.  It's one of the good ones.


  1. Not a fresh hop fan (or even a dry hops fan) but a wonderfully written piece. Just saying...

  2. I think most fresh hop beers are crap. Laurelwood's Fresh Hop Red is an exception and so is the Fresh Hop Mirror Pond. Deschutes usually does things right, IMO. Just the same, this is a terrific usual.

  3. Well ... uh ... I brewed one for the first time ever. Never cared for the hype and so forth, but I just had to pick all those hops growing up my porch and obscuring the view. Care for a pint? It's called "Little Green Men". And, it's on cask so it's warm and flat as usual.

  4. sadly Deschutes Fresh Hop Mirror Pond is not going to be bottled this year. It's being replaced with "Chasing Freshies"