Deer Creek Brewery Deerfly American IPA (6.8% ABV)
Pour: 16oz can into a snifter
Appearance: Pours a lovely dark reddish-gold with about two inches of thick, fizzy head that persists. Good edging and lots of lacing.
Aroma: A lot of herbal notes in the nose, to the point of smelling a bit like iced tea. Light lemon/citrus notes, a bit of something grassy.
Flavor: Earthy/grassy hop notes up front, with a bit of caramel sweetness in the middle and a bitter, piney/resiny finish. Very different.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and sticky. Lightly carbonated, coats the teeth and tongue.
I’m of a certain age where I’m never going to refer to the outdoor amphitheater in Noblesville, IN as Klipsch Music Center. That place will always be Deer Creek to me, and it looks like I’m not the only one. Established in 2015, Noblesville’s Deer Creek Brewery named themselves in honor of the amphitheater, and according to their website, they strive to create “a variety of beer styles that seek to embody the diverse line-up and free spirit of the former music venue.” Deerfly is the first of their beers I’ve seen up here in South Bend, but I’m definitely impressed enough by it to add Deer Creek to the list of breweries I need to visit when I’m down in Indy to see a show.
To me, summer is IPA season, but with so many craft breweries churning out a seemingly infinite number of variations on the style, it has grown increasingly difficult for brewers to come up with anything that tastes different or new unless they start adding crazy ingredients or playing around with hybrid styles. There’s something about either the combination of hop varieties or when and how they’re added while brewing that makes Deerfly fairly unique. Unlike some breweries, Deer Creek doesn’t list the hop varieties they use on their website, so this is only a guess, but it might get its earthy/citrusy notes from Simcoe, possibly with some Challenger for the sweetness, and a Magnum finish for bitterness and the resiny characteristics (though to reiterate: that’s just an educated guess – I could very well be wrong about all three). Whatever they use, the combination ends up being far more complex than almost any other IPA I’ve tried in recent memory, hitting just about every possible hop note aside from floral (which I don’t really like anyway) at some point in the flavor profile. I will definitely be picking this one up again.