Tap This: With Oktoberfest season winding down, it’s time to move on to the fresh hop IPA
While pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers get all the love this time of year there is another very popular style that hits the shelves this season, the fresh hop IPA. But with this beer, you must enjoy it fresh!
Hops are a crop and, much like any other crop, they have a harvesting season, which is late August til late September, depending on the region. Brewers are anxious to get their hands on these dank, delicious, fresh hops and brew some world class beers.
The results are beers with a much smoother yet more pronounced hop profile. The overall impression is they are decidedly fresher than many counterparts with a hop forward aroma and a juicy quality to them that other IPAs cannot match, this quality lends itself to the other popular name for this style, which is the wet hop IPA.
So if you consider yourself a hop connoisseur and have never met an IPA you didn’t love than be on the lookout for any one of these delicious wet hop ales. The hoppiness will astound you and they are so fresh it’s scary!
Deschutes Brewey- Chasin’ Freshies IPA: Deschutes changes the type of hop featured each year for its annual fresh-hopped offering, and the spotlight shines on Lemondrop hops in 2015. While the name of the hop may make you think there will be only lemons on full display, there is quite a lot of grapefruit and orange on display with lemon being more of a backing note melding with the fresh grain. An assertive bitterness for sure, but quite subdued with a wonderful display of grapefruit lemon notes for an easy drinking and delicious IPA.
Great Divide Brewing Company- Fresh Hop Pale Ale: While this is classified by the brewery as a pale ale, after one sip it is apparent that it drinks more like an IPA. Very pungent pine and hints of green onion are the dominant aromas with fresh tangerines and grapefruit present in the background. The bitter pine notes are the longest lasting due to the sheer freshness of the hops and at 6.1 percent ABV, this pale ale has earned the respect it has garnished.
Founders Brewing Company- Harvest Ale: A perennial favorite among many hop lovers, Harvest Ale has the perfect dosing of fresh hops balanced against a silky smooth malt backbone, not to mention that the 7.6 percent ABV! Citrus and pine are the dominant flavors with citrus taking a front seat settling into a decadently sweet, but not cloying, malt backbone. A must try for all IPA lovers.
The most important thing to remember with these beers is that they are best enjoyed fresh. While many of us are guilty of blindly grabbing beers from shelves do yourself a favor with these and check the bottling date on it! If it is not fresh it will not be what the brewer intended! So drink it now, don’t age it, and enjoy the freshness!
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.