Wet and hoppy

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First Posted: 11/10/2014

During the fall months pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers tend to get the most love by many beer drinkers. However there is another popular style that hopheads look forward to enjoying during the fall months, the fresh hop, or wet hop, ale.

It is known that harvesting crops is synonymous with fall and one of those key crops is hops. Hops are the wonderful plant that imparts that lovely bittering component in our favorite IPA’s and Pale Ales.

Many craft breweries buy these freshly picked hops and immediately put them into their beer imparting an extremely fresh and vibrant hop profile in the beer. These brewers also use the whole cone version of the hops as opposed to the pelletized version. The whole cone hop imparts a stronger hop aroma and flavor to the beer.

So if you are a fan of hops then the fall is probably your favorite time of the year. Here is a short list of great fresh hop ales that truly showcase the wonders of the hop.

1. Lagunitas Brewing Co. – Born Yesterday Pale Ale: The newest beer from Lagunitas was brewed using only fresh whole cone hops, bottled and cool shipped to wholesalers the same day. The intention behind this beer is to get it into the hands of consumers as fast and fresh as possible so that they can enjoy hops at their peak. It is a complete success and may just be the best pale ale you will ever have!

2. Founders Brewing Company- Harvest Ale: Bottled every October this American IPA is full of juicy hop aroma and flavor. The sweet malt bill is the perfect vessel to deliver the bright and fruity hop flavors and aromas. Truly a fresh hop beer with a noticeable brightness in the flavor, hopheads rejoice!

3. Deschutes Brewery- Chasin’ Freshies: This American IPA is brewed showcasing a new hop varietal each year. This year’s hop is the mosaic hop which is characterized by strong tropical fruit notes. Get this as fresh as you can, this is a beer that explodes with hop aroma and flavor and you want this fresh.

4. Victory Brewing Company- Harvest Ale: A brand new beer from a brewery that has certainly built a reputation for fantastic hop filled beers. Strong fruit flavors and aromas are balanced perfectly with a dry and sweet malt bill. If you have had Victory IPA’s in the past, try this one now.

5. Great Divide Brewing Company-Fresh Hop: Great Divide is certainly known for their world class Yeti Imperial Stout series, but they also have perfected many other styles, including the pale ale. This fresh hopped pale ale has strong notes of floral and pine hops with citrus dancing throughout that gives way to a dry finish that leaves you wanting more. An absolute must buy.

It should be noted though, that these beers must be enjoyed as fresh as possible as hops are the first ingredient in a beer to degrade and lose freshness. So check the bottling date and if you don’t plan to drink it immediately store it in the refrigerator. Once you taste the difference with fresh hops in beer you will never look at hops the same way again.