It’s harvest time in the world of beer, which also means that major players in the realm of breweries are heading out to hop farms around the country for hop selection. Yes, they go to the farm and smell a bunch of hops and decide right there and then how many hops they think they will go through in a year. While they’re out there sniffing smashed hops out of their palms, they’re also thinking of the Fresh Hopped beer they want to brew with a load of those hops.
The window is small from harvest to plow, 24 hrs to be exact. This incredibly meager frame of time will result in the best representation of the hops in question. After the first 24 hours, the risk of spoiling increases with every passing hour. This, for most breweries, especially those here in the Midwest gets their hops from Washington can be a labor-intensive process. Most breweries are set up to brew with whole coned hops which mean the entire brewing process takes more time, more labor, and results in a greater loss of liquid in the wort. But all of this labor, many brewers would tell you, is 100% worth the extra effort. With all the extra work put into creating these beers, the cost at the register is often more than your typical beer, but when you remember all of the extra efforts take to get you the freshest beer with the freshest hops in such a short amount of time, the price is totally worth it. Grab any one of the beers below and give thanks to your local brewer for all the work they put into making your favorite freshly hopped beers!
And Now, the Brews
|Surly Brewing | Wet | Wet-Hop Pale Ale|
|The freshly picked Citra hops were delivered on September 13th at 6:00 am from Gasseling Ranches near Yakima Valley, Washington and by 9:15 am the first batch of Surly Wet was being brewed. By Monday, October 1st the beer was being canned and tapped at the brewhouse later that day. By Tuesday, it was on its way to store shelves statewide. By Tuesday evening, if you were an over planner, you could have been drinking some of the freshest beer a brewery the size of Surly could offer. Luckily, if you’re a somewhat lazy SOB like myself, Surly made a whole bunch of it and it’s still available pretty much everywhere (but specifically here at Top Ten *Wink* *Wink*). Strong wafting aromas of super dank hops and tropical fruit with a hint of malts followed by expressive flavors of grapefruit, grass, citrus, pineapple, and a decent hop bitterness. Surly makes ridiculously forward IPAs but this Pale Ale could easily take the place of Furious and I would just fine with that. The fresh hops push the limits of your taste buds to create a satisfying beer!|
|4 pk 16 oz Cans | 6.1% ABV | N/A IBUs|
|Indeed Brewing | Fresh Hop Ale | Pale Ale|
|Gotta give love where love is due, and Yakima has some good air and dirt. Brewed upon delivery with freshly plucked Mosaic hops, specifically chosen by the head brewer, Josh Bischoff, for the notes of blueberry that were being expressed from the raw hop. With the addition of a few different malts, Indeed‘s 2018 version of their Fresh Hop Ale was born, and, for the first time with plans of being canned and sent out into the world for the masses. A robust nose of blueberry with a Harold and Kumar level of resin followed by bright notes of lemon and citrus. The sweet nose gives way to Cheech and Chong levels of dank goodness, mild citrus, and mild bitterness. This complex Pale Ale is crisp on the finish and completely refreshing, which is not surprising giving the wide range of aromas and flavors that can be attributed to the hop.|
|4 pk 16 oz Cans | 4.9% ABV | 35 IBUs|
|Inbound Brew Co. | Fresh Fruit | IPA|
|Now, let’s reign in those hops by moving closer to a more local reach. Inbound worked with St. Croix Valley Hops with bucket loads of freshly harvest Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook hops. Now, before we get too much further, grab yourself a can or four of Inbound‘s Fruit of the Loop and set it down next to your crowler of Fresh Fruit because Fresh Fruit is just Fruit of the Loop on some fresh hop steroids. The resulting beers, like it’s aforementioned base has an extra hearty nose of grapefruit, peach, and a hint of apricot. On the palate, the fruit reigns supreme with only a very mild expression of malts. With so much fruit from the fresh hops, this beer’s sweetness is almost enough for you to forget what actual fruit tastes like. Yes, can I get chicken sandwich with a side of Fresh Fruit?|
|Crowler | 6.4% ABV | 97 IBUs|