Review of Deschutes Brewings Inversion Ipa

There’s no doubt about it, Americans love their hops. There’s hardly a beer style in the country that doesn’t come equipped with a blast of some sort of American hops in it. These beers go beyond the American pale ale or IPA where you expect a certain hoppiness. Try an American brown ale, an amber, or a barleywine or imperial stout. So very often the main difference between the American and European versions is a blast of American hops.

According to the American Hop Museum in southern Washington, commercial hop production dates back to New York in 1868 when farmers found it to be a profitable crop, well suited to the local climate. Eight years later Yakima Valley growers were shipping 80 bales to market. Over the years, acreage increased in the Pacific Northwest and when the railroad arrived, Hops’ place as one of America’s cash crops was all but guaranteed.

Today, the Yakima valley produces the majority of America’s hop harvest every year. And it’s a good thing too, because those hops find their way into the bulk of American craft brewed beer. These hops find their way into everything from American ambers to American IPA, lending them a citrussy, pine resin quality that has become distinctly American. Bend Oregon’s Deschutes brewing has made their Inversion IPA a testament to the hops.

At least that is, according to the beer’s description on their website. This American IPA, clocking in at almost 7% abv, contains no less than a half dozen separate hop varieties. With varieties such as Millenium, Centennial, and Cascade, Inversion promises to offer up a very impressive hop experience. Inversion pours a very clear, dark copper colored ale. Minimal carbonation supports a dense, mousse-like head with good retention.

There’s an upfront juiciness beer’s aroma that’s both appealing and hard to pin down. It’s very much like ripe peaches and apricots. Ripe juicy fruits combine with caramel malts almost giving the impression of a great dessert. Center gives a bready quality, preventing the nose from becoming cloying in its sweetness. Finish gives a subtly leathery quality, just hinting at a hoppy finish.

Flavor starts out malty, more sweet caramel notes. There’s more sweetness in the center, giving the impression of very ripe fruit. Ripe fruit and hints of brown sugar provide a subtle through note for this beer. Finish is bitter in an English rather than an American fashion. It is not as bitter as an IPA could be, but is assertive and English in its quality.

Overall, a very fine example of an IPA. So often American beers are bold and brash and lacking in subtlety. Inversion IPA however is an exercise in balance over ham-fistedness. Every flavor and aroma leads well into the next and adds to the beer’s overall balance. Give this one an 8.5 out of 10.