I was back in Ann Arbor last weekend, so naturally Tim and I had to brew some beer. We went to Adventures in Homebrewing to pick up the ingredients for our beer and there were in the middle of packaging their fresh hops. Unfortunately, our schedule is kind of tight, and we had already decided to reprise our S’More Stout to be ready by the holidays.
Since seeing pound upon pound of fresh hops, I’ve had a hankering to try some fresh hop beers. I’ve had some home brewed wet hop beer made with home grown hops at our local brewer’s guild meeting, and they have a very different taste and feel to them. So, when I was at Binny’s for the Leinenkugel event and saw the Sierra Nevada Harvest ale, I picked it up.
Sierra Nevada writes on their website:
The cornerstone of our Harvest series is the beer that started the modern-day fresh hop ale phenomenon in America, our original Harvest Ale.
Created in 1996, Harvest Ale features Cascade and Centennial hops from the Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington. These hops are harvested and shipped as “wet” un-dried hops—the same day they are picked—to our brewery in Chico where our brewers eagerly wait to get them into the brew kettle while their oils and resins are still at their peak.
The beer pours a light amber with a very small head that has still not completely disapated, but has gently laced down the glass. The aroma has a wet or oily hop note that is both a bit floral and resiny. This is a very different character than most of the west coast pale ales. The taste has that wet, floral hop profile in the front, which is quickly followed by a strong, malty sweetness. There is a very coating, lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. The beer is a little thin, but the body isn’t what makes this beer.
Of the two fresh, wet hop beers, I enjoyed the OREgasmic ale a bit more. It had a better balance while still highlighting the hops.