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Ground Breaker Route 20 Fresh Hop IPA

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Ground Breaker Brewing Route 20 Fresh Hop IPA

New England Style Fresh Hop IPA

This is my last Fresh Hop review release of the season (I think!) and it’s a goodie. Today we’re reviewing the Route 20 Fresh Hop New England IPA brewed by Ground Breaker Brewing in Portland Oregon.

Ground Breaker Route 20 Fresh Hop IPA

Ground Breaker is a dedicated gluten free brewery that released THREE limited release IPA’s this Fall, two of which were fresh hop IPAs. Within these three, they released TWO versions of the Route 20: one fresh hop, and the other a dry-hopped hazy. I will include links to the other two IPA reviews at the end of this article, so feel free to read up on those too! :)

The Route 20 Fresh Hop IPA has a 6% ABV, a 24 IBU, and is brewed on a base of sorghum, malted rice, and malted buckwheat. It features 200 lbs. of FRESH Oregon-grown Santiam hops.

gluten free Fresh Hop IPA

Fun/depressing fact: The Oregon mountain pass I have to drive over to get to Ground Breaker’s brewery in Portland is named Santiam pass, and it literally burned to the ground last month during the massive wildfires, taking several small towns with it. ????

Another fun fact…the Route 20 series is named after the longest continuous road in the US, which is appropriate because this New England style IPA is touted as the โ€œbest of east and westโ€ on the back of the can.

Let’s pop this baby open and see how it compares to its sister release, the dry-hopped Route 20. I’m so excited!

The Taste Test

Route 20 Fresh Hop New England IPA

I think these Route 20 can designs are absolutely beautiful! This green fresh hop one is my favorite of the two. (The dry-hopped one was similar, but designed in browns.) But let’s get on with the pour…

The Route 20 Fresh Hop IPA pours with a gorgeous golden orange color and a moderate head. The carbonation looks dynamic and the clarity allows light, but no shapes. As you might have guessed, the aroma is rich with hops. The nose is floral and earthy. The head bubbles away but leaves some character at the top of the glass. 

The Route 20 Fresh Hop IPA tastes very herbal, with both floral and pepper qualities. The carbonation is actually pretty mild when drinking. My first reaction when the Route 20 hits my tongue is that it tastes SO clean. Carbonation lands on the middle of the palate and it finishes flowery and mellow on the bitterness. 

The Route 20 IPAโ€™s visual appearance is so bright and juicy looking that from a distance one might guess it was a PNW citrus bomb, but this “east meets west” IPA stands true to its mission. It is pleasant, easy drinking, and the aroma matches the taste very closely. 

Ground Breaker Route 20 Fresh Hop IPA

This is a very nice Fresh Hop whose hops would not offend anyone you placed it in front of. Meaning, this is a great IPA to hand to your non-IPA drinking friends. ;) So the ultimate questionโ€ฆ

If I was forced to choose between the two 2020 Route 20โ€™s (thatโ€™s a mouthful!) I would most definitely opt for the New Englandized dry-hopped version over the Fresh Hop version, as it aligns much more closely with my bitter-loving taste buds. But what a treat that they released TWO!

For the same reason I might choose the dry-hopped Route 20, YOU might choose the Fresh Hop Route 20. So THANK YOU Ground Breaker for brewing a little something for all of us IPA lovers out there.

But wait, there’s more! Check out:

Ground Breaker’s Other 2020 Limited Releases:

P.S. Like what I do for the gluten free beer community? Consider buying me a beer for my efforts! ;)

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