Nick Carr on October 10, 2016 0 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery Deschutes Brewery Location Bend, OR Style Specialty IPA ABV 7.0% IBU 60 Hops Herkules, Sterling, Hull Melon Malts Munich, Vienna, Pilsner Shelf Life 3 to 6 months Suggested Glass Nonic Pint or IPA Glass Serving Temp 46-50°F Availability August – October Food Pairings Grilled Spicy Bratwurst, Grilled Chicken Pizza, White Stilton w/ strawberries, Dark Chocolate w/ Hazelnuts Autumn is probably the busiest time of year for seasonal beer. It’s Oktoberfest, harvest season, Halloween, and Thanksgiving all in the span of a couple months. The parade of specialty beers are endless and these days every brewery has at least one, if not two or three, inspired by ghouls and goblins, festive parties, and the oh-so-popular pumpkin. I love all of it. Those toasty Märzens, warming and rich, the perfect expression of Autumn. Trying to choose the ideal beer to pair with that singular thankful moment when family comes together around the Thanksgiving table. The Halloween-themed beer, often much like a costume party, a regular beer dressed up in a spooky disguising label. And finally, the plethora of pumpkin marching across the beer shelves, the many not-so-great making a hide and seek game of finding those few truly good. Fall is all about the seasonal fun, but it’s always nice to find a different expression of season. Shop Deschutes Brewery on Amazon Deschutes’ Hopzeit is just that. “Zeit” means “time” in German, so the name translates as “Hop Time.” According to Deschutes, it’s a hopped-up Märzen, a hybrid of the Märzen and IPA style. It combines the well-known U.S. Sterling hop with a couple newer and lesser known German varieties — Herkules and Hüll Melon (sometimes called Huell). The Herkules hop variety is a bittering hop introduced in 2006, which combines a robust generic hoppiness with some melon and citrus undertones. Hüll Melon had its introduction to the beer world just four years ago in 2012, making it a brand new player. It is a pretty unique and fruity aroma hop variety, bringing signature characteristics of honeydew melon and strawberries. How these characteristics might play in the background of a toasty, warming, and bready Märzen is intriguing and something I can’t wait delve into. Oh, one more thing. For all the homebrewers out there, Deschutes is one of only a few breweries that actually gives you the start of a home brewing recipe right on their website for most of their beers. Now, they don’t provide exact proportions — can’t expect them to make it too easy — but they give just about everything else, including the yeast type, boil time, and fermentation temperature. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while reviewing Deschutes Hopzeit. If you tasted this beer or you’re enjoying one as you read this review, please share your thoughts or tasting notes with everyone down in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Color is like a new penny with just a tad more orange. The orange hue really flares when held in sunlight… very pretty. Clarity is good though there does seem to be some very light haze. Head climbs to almost two fingers; tightly packed small bubbles, with some soapy qualities on top that cling to the glass. Retention is admirable for 60 IBUs, dropping to about half a finger, but then holding strong. Aroma shows true-to-form German malts; crackery, biscuity, with just a hint of sweetness. There’s a flowery fruitness there that I’m having trouble recognizing; maybe sweet melon, but with a little more of a floral quality. Herbal and spicy with an interesting minty tinge. No sign of the 7% alcohol. Mouthfeel and Taste: Body is a nice medium and carbonation is average. Mouthfeel is peppy, but manages to remain mostly smooth. Light hop astringency and no alcohol warming. Taste is strongly herbal reminding me in some respects of a tea. The backbone of malt pokes through following the aroma almost exactly with a nice display of cracker and slightly sweet biscuit. Herbal bitterness rises mid-palate; bitter melon rind with a rare wisp of the sweeter insides — honey dew maybe. Bittering isn’t overpowering, but enough to backup the IPA descriptor. Finish is medium dry, bringing a generous mix of spiciness and breadiness. Reminds me for a brief second of dense lightly-sweet rye-pumpernickel bread, but it drops away quite quickly leaving a herbal, resiny, forest-like hop quality. This more than the malt elements remain into the aftertaste. FINISHING THOUGHTS In character, I’d say it’s much closer to an English IPA then an American IPA. It would behoove drinkers to approach this as an IPA — as it states on the bottle — and not come to it expecting a Märzen. You’ll be disappointed if you do. Don’t get me wrong, the Märzen qualities are there, plain as day for any to find, but the IPA side is a little more substantial. I have to say I really liked Hopzeit. But, I am a sucker for anything that halfway reminds me of an English IPA; and this one doesn’t even do it all that well. This one is for the hop-head looking to enjoy an Octoberfest-isc type beer, just approach it with an open mind. Cheers!