An expert's picks for harvest ales | Bleader

An expert's picks for harvest ales


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In the past few years we’ve seen a cool tradition take hold with American craft breweries in the form of harvest ales. Brewed in the fall to commemorate the yearly hop harvest, the hops for these beers are shipped to the breweries immediately after they’re picked, skipping the drying process they would usually undergo to preserve them. Fresh hops contain a lot more moisture than dried ones, and all of that goes directly into the brew kettle and ultimately gives us a beer that’s more fragrant, potent, and lip-smackingly fresh. A few picks:

Two Brothers’ Heavy Handed IPA Our local confederates out at Two Brothers actually use a different hop strain for each batch of Heavy Handed they brew, so flavors will vary from spicy and floral to bold citrus. You can check the lot number on any bottle against a chart on their website to find out which hops were used in your beer.

Port Brewing’s High Tide California-based Port Brewing uses 180 pounds of fresh hops for each batch of their High Tide, and this exemplifies the spirit of west-coast beers. Big notes of citrus and pine are sharp on the palate, with tingling acidity throughout. It almost drinks like a glass of fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice.

Founders Harvest Ale There’s a burst of citrus right up front, with underlying tones of pineapple, green tea, and fresh-cut grass. This one is a perfect example of how hops can come across as sticky on the palate.

Jason Baldacci is beverage director for Webster’s Wine Bar, the Bluebird, and Telegraph Wine Bar

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