Deschutes Fresh Hop Mirror Pond Pale Ale, a limited Bond Street offering from Deschutes prompted by the availability of fresh heirloom cascade hops from a local farm, poured a light amber with a thick, creamy white head that stuck around. The nose on Fresh Hop was outstanding, with pine, citrus, and woody flavors smelling like they had been freshly bottled that day.
Deschutes Fresh Hop Mirror Pond opened with a sweet, caramel malt base with an undercurrent of grassy, pine hops. The hops never overcame the nutty, doughy malt base of the pale ale, and what did wasn’t nearly as nuanced as the nose… mostly a resinous pine. Only in the fade did the hops hint at anything beyond a grassy pine, with soft floral notes cutting the dry finish.
Deschutes Fresh Hop Mirror Pond Pale Ale is an interesting, if ultimately underwhelming, experience. The nose is so fresh and flavorful that the flavor, almost identical to the standard Deschutes Mirror Pond offering, falls short of expectations. Several people who shared a couple of bottles with me stated they wished more of the fresh hop goodness came through.