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.