Fresh hop season is back! One of the most exciting times of the year for BC beer lovers, fresh hop season means a whole slew of new beers to try from across the province.
What makes fresh hop beers so special? They are only available for a short window of time because they are brewed with freshly picked “wet hops” immediately after harvest, often needing to be part of the brewing process the very same day they are picked. Because of this they showcase bright, grassy flavours and a distinctly fresh quality not found in beers made with dried hops. It also means they should be drank as soon as possible, so don’t think about keeping any of these for the long haul. But that’s part of the appeal, once a year we get these unique brews.
So, what have BC brewers cooked up this year? A lot really. No longer are fresh hops confined to the likes of IPAs, but now we see them in all sorts of expressions. Let’s check out some of the best.
Main Street Brewing: Before The Fall
One of the first fresh hop beers out this season. This saison combines Pahto, Czech Saaz and fresh BC Saaz hops from Pemberton’s Myrtle Meadows Farm with Belgian pilsner, Canadian wheat, German Carafoam and rye varieties of malt & farmhouse yeast for a brew that conjures up flavours of chamomile, spring flowers and light herbal spice.
Driftwood Brewing: Sartori Harvest IPA
It comes up on every list, every single fresh hop cycle, and for good reason. This is required drinking for anyone interested in fresh hopped beer. The Sartori Harvest is the OG of fresh hopped and has continued to be one of the best representations of the style despite the massive growth in competition. Tells you how good this IPA really is.
R&B Brewing: So Fresh, So Stolen
Another brewery that launched a fresh hop faster than you could imagine, the So Fresh, So Stolen lager has been on tap at the brewery since the end of August. Also using BC Saaz hops from Pemberton’s Myrtle Meadows Farm, this lager should be crispy with melon and floral notes.
Dageraad Brewing: Wet Hopped Blonde
Dageraad has perfected their Blonde recipe over the years, and this wet hopped version is soft and delicious. Using Sartori hops, wet hopped blonde is fermented with Belgian yeast and bottle conditioned for natural carbonation. There’s a complexity offering a spirited herbal aroma and bright citrus notes on top of the full body of a classic Belgian blonde.
Category 12: Fresh Hop IPA
Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to serve up a delicious fresh hop beer. A classic fresh hopped IPA is exactly what Category 12 achieved this year, with Centennial hops grown at Topp’s Hops in the Chilliwack Valley. Expect aromas of delicate citrus notes.