It’s not often that I’m blown away by something rather predictable. An exception to this rule is the Hop Henge Experimental IPA from Deschutes. I’ve had a few experiences with the Portland, Oregon brewery in the past, and I have yet to be disappointed by anything with their name on it. Aside from it being out of the Deschutes brewery, I was sold on the label – a recreation of Stonehenge out of, you guessed it, hop bales. After reading the label, I’m still unclear as to what makes Hop Henge “experimental”.
Moving on to the more important part of the beer, the cap-topped IPA comes in at a robust 9% ABV. Hop Henge has a pleasant, but predictable, hoppy aroma of what you would expect from an IPA which surprised me little. I do admire it for its color, though. It pours smoothly into a natural amber color, leaving a thin head that recedes quickly.
This IPA goes through a bit of a transformation between when it crosses your lips to when it moves down your throat. It has an expected strong, hoppy kick on the tip of your tongue, morphs into a smooth, sweet middle, and finishes with a bit of crispy burnt toast. Hop Henge, like most IPAs, has a very strong presence, and would be paired well with a more mild-flavored meal. Emily suggested that it would go well with a variety of comfort foods, including, but not limited to, macaroni & cheese or chicken & dumplings.
Maybe it’s my predisposition to loving Deschutes, or maybe it’s the dependable nature of a good IPA, but I couldn’t get enough of Hop Henge. I would have gladly had several more glasses of it, had we not had other brews to sample.
I give Hop Henge a well-above-average 8.2
More to come in the next few days. Cheers!
ps- in other news, eventually we’ll get some better beer glasses. These will have to do for now. Sorry.