Deschutes Brewery — Hop Henge Experimental IPA — 8.75%

For my money, Bend, Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery can do no wrong. Every time I weigh the pros and cons of pitching everything and moving north, being closer to the House that Cinder Cone built is always at the top of the plus column. I think that somehow those crafty Oregonians are aware of this and every year they drop this hop bomb to ensure that crazy ideas like that are pushed to the back of my mind by urgent messages from my tongue, screaming, “Damn, this is tasty! Have another one!” Somehow, nothing ever gets done.

Well, this year, we’re foiled yet again. 2009’s Hop Henge is labeled an “experimental” IPA which is a little disconcerting, but upon first pour, whatever they are doing up there (as long as no animals or aging hop heads were harmed) is aces with me.

Hop Henge pours with an incredibly tenacious head, like the meringue my great aunt Alice used to whip up for her lemon pies. The brew itself is a beautiful honey-colored nectar that throws off serious hop resin notes with a little grapefruit and cannabis thrown in for good measure.

Once this brew hits the tongue, it’s all over but the spielin’. The pounds of Centennial and Cascade hops are perfectly balanced to make this one of the smoothest-drinking hop bombs I’ve yet tried. Now, where’s my Oregon map?

Grade: A+

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