Weekly Online Newsletter Vol.105
This is one of my favorite times of the year to be in the beer business with the release of Oktoberfest beers, coinciding with the hop harvest and ultimately Fresh Hop Ales. Every year I look forward to my first sip of Fargo Brewing Company’s Super Green Fresh Hop Pale Ale. It certainly has become one of my favorite beers of the year. Many other breweries release Fresh Hop Ales, sometimes called Wet Hop Ales. Below is an excerpt explaining how unique and scarcely limited these beauties are.
THE FRESH FLAVORS OF WET HOP ALES
Examining the Mysteries of an Annual Harvest
All About Beer Magazine – Volume 35, Issue 5
November 14, 2014 By Heather Vandenengel
Excerpt Below – Follow this Link for the Full-Story http://allaboutbeer.com/article/wet-hop-beer/
For America’s brewers, the hop harvest is like Christmas. From about mid-August until the end of September, hops—the female cones of the plant Humulus lupulus that contribute to a beer’s aroma, flavor and bitterness—are picked, dried and baled or made into pellets and safely stored for breweries to use in the following months and years.
While the delicate hop flowers must be dried to be preserved, a sliver of those hops harvested skip that process and are set aside. Called wet or fresh hops, they are unkilned hops that retain all of their oils and contribute delicate, almost ethereal flavors. There’s an element of timeliness as well: After they are picked, they need to be delivered to the brewery in 24 to 48 hours or else they will begin to deteriorate, become soggy and rot.
Throughout the late summer into the autumn months, the wet hops appear in seasonal beers across the country, often in IPAs and pale ales that showcase the fresh, green aroma and flavors of the whole hop. Yet even as these beers appear more frequently in breweries’ fall lineups, the wet hop ales retain an air of mystery, and sometimes confusion. They are called wet hops not because they would drip water if you were to squeeze a cone, but because they retain a higher moisture content, about 75 to 80 percent when harvested, compared to 8 to 10 percent when dried. Then, there’s the question of semantics: Wet hop ale and fresh hop ale are used interchangeably, along with harvest ale. The Brewers Association Style Guidelines—used to judge beers at the Great American Beer Festival—classify it as “fresh or wet hop beer,” and for breweries, it’s more a matter of preference.
A fresh hop ale can be logistically challenging to make and difficult to brew, yet many brewers say it’s one of their favorite beers, and drinkers anticipate its arrival—a true product of the harvest only available for only a few months out of the year.
Fargo Brewing Company Super Green Fresh Hop Pale Ale – This super hopped up pale ale used over 300 pounds of whole cone — “fresh” — hops grown right here in North Dakota! We worked with Link Farms in Casselton and Ostlie’s Sunnyside Acres in Carrington to get some fresh and sticky Cascade, Chinook, Columbus, and Centennial hops. We also used Okefenokee pale ale malt that was grown in North Dakota and malted by Two Track Malting in Bismarck. This refreshing pale ale is brimming with intense citrus and tropical fruit notes. The body is light and crisp, letting the green goodness shine through. The flavor is dominated by flavors of citrus rind, pineapple and sticky-icky resin. The finish is dry and hoppy. We brewed Super Green the same day we picked up the hops from the North Dakota farms to capture the freshest possible hop character. This is a liquid testament to our favorite flower, made with ingredients from our favorite state. That sure is Super!
Odell Handpicked Pale Ale – In early September, the Odell Brewing team ventured 20 miles north of the brewery to help harvest hops from the Celestrina Hop Farm. Two hours after returning from the farm, 350 pounds of fresh local Chinook hops were added to the hopback. Hand Picked Pale Ale has a bright were hop character and hints of lemon zest and pine. It’s a labor of love and a treat for the palate
Lagunitas Born Yesterday Fresh Hop, Unfiltered Pale Ale – Born Yesterday is a newborn version of our re-born Pale, a Newer New Dogtown Pale with a fresh addition … We added some wet, lupulin-drenched, un-kilned, whole-cone, fresh-picked-and-rushed-straight-from-Yakima hops for your immaculate reception. This Un-Freakin-Filtered, wetter-than-wet beer has 11lbs-per-barrel of Simcoe, Equinox, Mosaic and Indigenous Catawampus. Whoa
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