Hopheads rejoice, the time for fresh hop beer is here! Brewed immediately following the hop harvest, these beers come once year to commemorate everything we know and love about hoppy beer. With unusually bright and refined flavors and aromas derived from higher concentrations of the resins and oils often lost in the drying process used for most hops, fresh/wet hops are the beer-equivalent of fresh garden herbs. Most brewers agree that for a beer to bare the "fresh hop" or "wet hop" moniker, its hops must be harvested from the bine within twenty-four hours of brew time. Though this approach can be logistically complicated, expensive, and unpredictable, the payoff is a hoppy ale displaying flavors that represent an entire year's weather and work, making it a true celebration of the Humulus lupulus. Here's four fresh hop ales to satisfy your hop receptors this harvest season:
Deschutes Hop Trip (American Pale Ale) – 5.9%, 35 IBUs
Hop Trip shows off the juicy, citrusy side of Oregon hops with pine accents and a semi-sweet malt spine. Light spice notes entice the nose, helping it find favor with those averse to bitter ales as well as hop lovers looking for a sessionable departure from palate-wrecking IPAs.
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (IPA) – 6.8%, 65 IBUs
Sierra Nevada sees "fresh" and "wet" hops as two different things, stating "fresh hops are the freshest dried hops to come from the fields, typically within seven days of harvest." Semantics aside, Celebration Ale will satisfy a spectrum of ale lovers with its bold "fresh hop" flavors and balancing malt sweetness.
Deschutes Chasin' Freshies (IPA) – 7.2%, 65 IBUs
Deschutes' Chasin' Freshies captures the essence of fresh hops in their brightest, purest form. This year, the pine, citrus, and tropical fruit character of Mosaic fresh hops take center stage, offering a not-so-bitter but assertive flavor experience that show off the spectrum of flavors offered by next-generation hop varieties.
Left Hand Warrior IPA (IPA) – 7.3%, 60 IBUs
Since 2000, Left Hand has been flying Cascade hops from the same Colorado mountain farm to its Longmont brewery at the end of summer to make its floral and malt-forward Warrior IPA. By using fresh hops from the same farm year after year, Left Hand showcases varying aspects of the Colorado terroir with each season's batch, adding allure and mystery to this ale's aggressive identify.