Friday, November 12, 2010

Fresh Hopped Beers

I had two excellent fresh hop IPAs last month, Port Brewing's bottled High Tide Fresh Hop IPA and on draft, Pizza Port Ocean Beach's Get Wet fresh hopped IPA.  The two beers seemed similar, but I didn't drink them side-by-side comparison.  Both were highly hopped, flavorful, yet approachable IPAs. The fresh hops allowed for an intense, juicy citrus flavor along with pine (yes, I didn't find these tastes mutually exclusive).  The alcohol in High Tide was 6.5% and Wet Hop's was 7.3%.  This was great, because usually a beer with such intense hopping is going to be 7.5% abv or higher.  I welcomed the lower alcohol without any loss in the beer's body or balance.

The one previous time I had High Tide was in the spring, long after the fresh hop flavor mellowed.  I know I am stating the obvious, but you must drink this beer (or any fresh hop beer) as close to its release date as possible.  We had Get Wet along with Rouge's weak fresh hop beer, whose name I don't remember and didn't write down, and Sierra Nevada's Estate beer.  Like most Rouge beers, its fresh hop beer was forgettable, and we realized that Estate was not really a fresh hop beer, it was Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with homegrown ingredients.  Estate was good, but we did not get to appreciate it after the hopped-up Get Wet.

I've never paid too much attention to fresh hop IPAs.  This was a mistake. The excellence of High Tide and Get Wet make me want more fresh hop IPAs. 

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