Friday, October 29, 2010

Fresh Hop Ales — Left Hand vs. Deschutes

Left Hand Brewing Co.
Warrior IPA
(With Colorado Fresh Hops)
ABV 7.6%

Clear dark orange.
Malty sweet with floral and spicy grass notes.
Nice medium body with sharp grassiness and good sweet malt backbone.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Moderate burnt tasting hop bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):
Good +

Fresh Hop Pale Ale
ABV 5.5%

Hazy dark orange.
Aroma: Intensely sweet mango and pineapple.
Flavor: Creamy body, sweet with more of those tropical fruit flavors.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Hoppy
Finish: Mild bitterness with lingering tropical fruit.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good +

Blow by Blow
We've had two fresh hop tap tussles (1,2) and a fresh hop growler grudge match, but even those could not quench our thirst for the lupulin. Fortunately we had two bottles of fresh hop beer in our fridge that were taunting each other, so we let them have at it for our first official fresh hop bottle battle!

Both the Left Hand and the Deschutes are excellent fresh hop beers, but they don't taste or smell anything alike. The Left Hand is more traditional with spicy, grassy notes to go along with a solid malt backbone. The Deschutes, however, is totally unconventional. It's a tropical fruit freak with intense tropical fruit aromas that continue through the flavor all the way to the finish. At first, the Hop Trip had the Warrior reeling and confused, but eventually the Warrior settled down and overcame the novelty of its opponent. We really enjoyed both, but after waffling a bit we both agreed that the Warrior was more what we expect from a fresh hop beer. It also went a bit better with our food (kale pesto pasta with chicken) which may have helped sway our final decision. However the Deschutes beer was no slouch, so if you're looking for something fun and different, definitely give the Hop Trip a try.

Winner by unanimous decision: Left Hand (two in a row!).

In the interest of full disclosure to satisfy the FTC’s law, this battle features a sample bottle received from the Deschutes Brewery.

No comments:

Post a Comment