Fresh hop — sometimes called “wet” hop — beers only happen once a year, when hops are harvested in late August well into September.
Most of those hops are dried, which preserves them so brewers can use them throughout the year. But increasingly, a percentage of hops never make it to the drying kilns. These hops go directly from bines to brew kettle — sometimes within just hours — to become the main attraction in fresh hop beers. (Incidentally, bines are different from vines. Bines wrap themselves around a support, while vines use tendrils or other means to cling to supports.)
If I could recommend one for you to try this year, I would go with Founders Harvest Ale. Easily one of my favorite fresh hop beers and one I would like to keep stocked well into November.
A nice medium white head to go along with the golden/orange color. Fantastic aroma of grapefruit, orange, and pine. Not as big of a malt backing as some IPAs (which I prefer) but there is a subtle existence there. Grapefruit and orange start out in the flavor profile, followed by minimal sweetness from the malts and then the wonderful resinous pine flavor smacks you in the mouth. Here’s what the brewery had to say about their beer:
This liquid dream pours a hazy golden orange straw color with a large puffy white two-finger head. First sip of this beer rewards with a super juicy hop presence bursting with fresh orange and lemon citrus then continues to introduce toasted malt undertones.
PURCHASED AT: Hy-Vee Marion, IA
POUR: Golden/orange pour with a medium white head.
AROMA: Grapefruit, orange, lemon, and pine.
TASTE: Lots of citrus fruit, a bit of sweetness and then the hops take over.
Ratebeer.com rating: 99
Beeradvocate rating: 95
My recommendation: Fresh Hop beers are meant to be drank fresh. If you’re an IPA fan this is a must have and you have to get it soon! Terrific brew!