Over the last month or so, brewers across the country have eagerly anticipated overnight deliveries of just harvested hops to in order to fashion their annual wet-hopped ales (also commonly referred to as fresh-hopped or harvest-ales). Within days and sometimes hours of being picked, brewers add the fresh, whole cone hops to their brew kettles. The resulting outcomes are fresh and hoppy flavors unique to this style of brew and this time of year. Fresh hopping can be likened to cooking with freshly picked spices and herbs, or fresh vegetables just harvested from your garden. Vegetal, earthy, floral, citrus, and herbal flavors and aromas that are sometimes diminished by the processing and pelletizing of hops are abundant. These beers are not dominated by bitterness like some hoppy beers are, instead the above listed flavors are much more pronounced.
For the optimal beer drinking experience, wet-hopped ales should be consumed as soon as possible. The one of a kind aromas and flavors exploited by the fresh hopping process tend to fade quicker than they would in your everyday hoppy beer.
One of our favorites, which also has the most widespread availability of any wet-hopped ale, is Two Brothers Heavy Handed. This unique brew is really five different beers sharing the same name; check out this blog post for some insight into this. Also keep an eye out for Sixpoint Autumnation. This is a wet-hopped pumpkin beer; a valiant and successful attempt at harnessing two of the most popular fall styles of beer. Many breweries make wet-hopped ales, however most are very limited. Be sure to stop in your local Binny’s soon to see if your favorite brewery’s wet hopped-ale is available.