After missing out on this year’s Lupulin REUNUless event at The Brick, Tomme Arthur of Lost Abbey and Port Brewing Company will be returning to Washington for a presentation on fresh-hopped ales, also known as wet-hopped or harvest ales. He will be appearing on both October 26 and 27. Event details follow this post. Tickets are available here
Harvest ales tend to offer a fairly-unique hop presence. In addition to the normal citrus, floral, herbal, and pine flavors that are found in most hop forward brews, these wet-hopped beers tend to offer a bitter, resinous taste with a dry finish. These ales appear during the hop harvest season, which occurs in the Fall every year. There are exceptions to this, as brewers like Sierra Nevada have started making Southern Hemisphere harvest ales, flying in freshly-picked cones from places like New Zealand, whose crop is ready in the Spring.
Fresh-hopped beers are typically brewed within days, and sometimes even hours, of the harvest. Brewers do everything within their power to make sure the hops go from the vine to their brew kettle as quickly as possible. The largest hop-growing region in the United States is that of Yakima Valley, Washington, which even holds an annual Fresh Hop Ale Festival
While the majority of hops are grown in the Pacific Northwest, an increasing number of small, local operations now exist around the country. Growers like Dave Bernard—who grows hops in Nelson County, Virginia—allow brewers like Mad Fox’s Bill Madden to get hops straight off the vine and integrated into the brew process before any of their vital compounds can begin to fade.
Tomme Arthur and Port Brewing are sure to offer some excellent selections, so make sure to grab your tickets today. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a few commercial examples, wet-hopped ales such as those from Sierra Nevada’s Harvest Series (DC, MD, and VA) and Founders Harvest Ale (DC, VA) have been spotted around the area.
Event description from The Brickskeller’s website:
If you like hops then Fresh Harvest, or Wet Hop Ales are a must to try if you haven’t already. The beer world’s equivalent to wine’s beaujolais nouveau, fresh choice hops are plucked from the vine and transported with a minimum of time, handling and processing directly to the brewers vat. In no other style will you find a better representation of the essence of the flavor of the hop oils.
This year one of the very best of the best American craft brewers, Tomme Arthur returtns [sic] to the Brickskeller stage.
We introduced Tomme to the East Coast about ten years ago when he was the head brewer for the San Diego area’s popular Pizza Port brewpub chain. Now as brewmaster of their critically acclaimed Lost Abbey and Port Brewing Companies Tomme’s won buckets and gobs of awards at the GABF, Craft Brewers Convention and anywhere else people get together to decide who brews the bestest beers. He is at the top of a very short list of cutting edge west coast brewers with the exceptional ability to not only brew complex Belgian beer styles at least as good as the Belgians themselves but is also leading the forefront of west coast brewers with an astonishing ability to extract the essence of the flavor of the hop into their hoppy ale styles. He’ll be bringing a great selection of these exceptionally tasty treats to our stage including FIVE from his own vats! In addition to his brews we will taste the first Wet Hop Ale ever brewed commercially, Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale along with another wet hop ale they brewed with hops grown in Sierra Nevada’s own hop yard, Estate Harvest Ale and MORE!
UPDATE: Here is the beer list for the Fresh Hop event!
Carlsbad – Plant to Pint
Solana – Low Tide
San Clemente – Riptide
Ocean Beach – Get Wet IPA
Port Brewing – High Tide IPA
Weyerbacher Harvest ale
Sierra Nevada Fresh Harvest
Sierra Nevada Estate Harvest Ale