Deschutes Brewing, located in Bend, Oregon, is amongst my favorite breweries. This brewery has been around since the mid-80’s and is one of the big boys in micro-breweries based in Oregon, along with Widmer and Bridgeport. Deschutes is available in most of the country, in fact, no matter where you’re from, you’ve likely seen Mirror Pond Pale Ale on tap or in bottles.
In today’s review, we continue the fresh hop ale trend by trying Hop Trip Pale Ale from Deschutes. This beer stands out because the brewers actually drive to my home turf of Salem, Oregon to pick their hops amongst the fields around Oregon’s Capital city. Then, they immediately drive back to Bend to boil the hops immediately and begin the brewing process.
Hop Trip comes in at 38 IBUs and weighs in at 5.4% alcohol. The description on the bottle describes this as a citrousy hoppy beer with fall spice.
Hop Trip pours with very little head and has a copper-red color to it. It’s an appealing looking beer which just makes you even more excited to drink it.
Normally descriptions are justified, and in this, case Hop Trip is exactly as advertised. The Cascade Hops seem like they pop in your mouth upon your first sip. This beer is a little bitter, but a quick spicy aftertaste that makes this a balance hoppy beer. Hop heads will likely think Hop Trip is a little weak, but for hop lovers and those who like a mild IPA, Hop Trip will hit the spot.
This ale has a fun story behind it.Â You see, there are some great hops grown in the Willamette Valley area of Oregon (where I live).Â Bend, home to Deschutes Brewery, is a short 3 hour drive from the Valley.
Once a year, the brewers from Bend come over to the Valley to hand-pick their hops.Â Then, the harvested hops are taken over to Bend and boiled/brewed fresh.Â Hence the name: Hop Trip Ale
Hop Trip is available from October through December.Â So, how is this years batch?
In one word: phenomenal!Â I trialed a pint straight from the keg and enjoyed every sip of it. The hops flavor the beer in a smooth and savory way.Â This beer isn’t ‘hoppy’ the same way an IPA is – in the sense that IPA is bitter and shocking.
Hop Trip Ale is a bit stronger in flavor than an average pale ale.
So, get a bottle or pint the next time you’re out and about – you won’t regret it!
Apparently the Bend crew drives over to Salem to get the hops themselves, right off the vine. This all happens in September each year.
Here’s a short film about the process. So cool!