Monday, November 21, 2011

New Belgium Fresh Hop IPA review

New Belgium Fresh Hop IPAGood things often come in pairs, and in this case this meant the 2nd of a two bottle sample from New Belgium Brewing. Today's beer review is of their 2011 Lips of Faith release: New Belgium Fresh Hop IPA.

This is part of a complimentary shipment of beer direct from New Belgium for review on this blog. This is one of the two final Lips of Faith brews for 2011. Fresh Hop IPA weighed in at 70 IBU and a respectable 7% ABV. As with most Lips of Faith beers, it came in a 22oz bomber bottle with a painted on label depicting a giant hop bud.

New Belgium packed in a good amount of Cascade, Centennial and Amarillo hops in this brew, all of which went from vine to brew kettle in less than 24 hours. This qualified it as a "Fresh Hop" or "Wet Hop" brew.

I had recently tasted some fruity and funkier beers, so making the switch back to IPA's for this review might just prove to shock me back to my senses.

Appearance: Fresh Hop IPA poured a translucent orange color with a hefty off-white head. The beer's clarity was almost immaculate, not hazy in the least. It was well carbonated too. The head left a thick sticky white lacing around the glass that just wouldn't quit. In the bright florescent lights, this beer almost seemed to glow orange.

Aroma: Here is what I feel is New Belgium's strength with Fresh Hop IPA - the fresh clean citrus and pine aroma from this beer. I almost get the sense that there was some citrus fruit in there, probably because the hops were fresh off the vine. It's a wonder what fresh cut hops can do for the nose on an IPA. This scent was very hoppy and inviting and a tulip glass seemed like a good choice.

Taste: Right from the start, this beer tasted very fresh and crisp. This is one of the few IPA's that didn't seem resiny to me. Sure, it was loaded with hops, bitter with a nice malty semi-sweet taste, but it didn't make me feel sticky. New Belgium took the time to filter and clarify this beer yet kept a big amount of hop taste with some citrus overtones. The malt balance seemed just right and the body was plenty enough to satisfy.

This beer left my mouth moist. Some IPA's can dry out my mouth rather quickly, but New Belgium's Fresh Hop left my mouth almost watering. This is not an over the top IPA, but rather a tame and refreshing one. This is one I could drink year round if it were only available that long. I'm becoming a believer in fresh hop (wet) IPAs.

Overall: This was a beauty of a beer. Very visually appealing - clear, great head and nose and a clean hoppy taste. I'd rank this one up with some of the best IPA's I've had. It's one that I didn't have to fight the bitterness, rather it was well balanced with the malt while still highlighting the hops. If you aren't a big IPA fan then you might want to use this beer to convince your palate that hoppy beers can be good. A tip of the hat and a big thumbs up for this aromatic IPA.

(Blogger disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. I simply made a promise to New Belgium to give this a fair, honest and timely review.)

Video showing the pour of :
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Related articles:
- New Belgium Lips of Faith Prickly Passion Saison review.
- New Belgium VIP Tasting highlights 092911. (GABF pre-event)
- New Belgium Mothership Wit review.


This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com - a Colorado beer blog.
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