Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Unique IPAs — Hermitage Brewing Co. vs. Deschutes

Hermitage Brewing Co.
Ale of the Hermit

(Wood Aged IPA)
ABV 8%

Clear orangish brown.
Acidic fresh cheese, vanilla yogurt.
Watery yogurt.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Tad bitter.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

Hop Henge IPA
(Experimental IPA)
ABV 9%

Clear orangish brown (a bit lighter than the Hermitage).
Aroma: Piny hops, grass, pepper.
Flavor: Big, sweet hop candy.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Malty
Finish: Sweet honey malts with almost no bitterness at all.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good -

Blow by Blow
Well, this one was a big disappointment. The Ale of the Hermit (another beer I picked up in California that is brewed by the Tied House) tripped on the carpet on the way to the ring and was knocked out cold. We suspect it was an infected bottle (perhaps it picked up some nasties from the wood aging?) because no IPA we're aware of is supposed to taste like yogurt. We dumped the whole thing down the drain and turned our attention to the Hop Henge.

The Hop Henge calls itself an Experimental IPA. You can find the brewery's description of it here. Our first question is, why did they not call this a double or imperial IPA? At 9% alcohol, it certainly seemed more like a double IPA to us. The aroma was promising, with gobs of piny, grassy hops and a bit of pepper but after that the beer faltered. The flavor was dominated by sweet malts with only a hint of hop character and the finish had almost no bitterness at all. Based on this, we'd have to say that the experiment was not a great success. It certainly wasn't a failure, as the beer was quite tasty, but we thought it lacked the hop presence to counter the super sweet, honey maltiness.

In the end, the Hop Henge won by virtue of the Hermit's inability to provide a drinkable beer. Since it's a seasonal release we hope that next year's batch will find a way to get more of those big, juicy hops into the flavor and finish.

Winner by unanimous decision: Hop Henge

1 comment:

  1. It had to have been bad. It tastes nothing like the way you described. You should have taken it back to the store. We've been having trouble with stores properly storing, rotating, etc.
    Do you mind emailing me with info about where you bought the Ale of the Hermit? I'd also like a chance to win you back!
    Marketing Gal