If I were to pick a favorite beer-drinking day from 2007, it would have to be the wet hop festival at O’Brien’s. Regular readers of this blog (hi, grandpa!) know that I love wet hop beers, and the lineup at O’Brien’s last year was simply outstanding.
This year’s wet hop weekend might not top last year’s because of the hop shortage and all, but it still promises to be darn good.
According to O’Brien’s owner Tom Nickel, this year’s wet hop action will happen Oct. 24-26 and feature about 20 wet hop beers, including several casks. See you there!
Before the month is over, Port Brewing is going to release this year’s High Tide Fresh Hop IPA.
If you’ve had High Tide in the past, then you know it’s something to look forward to. As I said before, I’m a big fan of fresh hop beers, and the High Tide is one of the best.
And there will be more of it than ever this year, according to brewer Tomme Arthur’s blog. Port first bottled High Tide in 2006, making one 30-barrel batch that sold out in two weeks. Last year they bottled three times that much and it sold out in two weeks as well. This year they’re making eight batches (240 barrels), the largest seasonal release they’ve ever done.
Here’s something to tide you over until the High Tide arrives.
Aside from college football, one of the things I really look forward to in the fall is the fresh-hop beers that come around. For the uninitiated, fresh-hop beers are those made with, er, fresh hops instead of pelletized hops. Hops are harvested in the fall and the fresh-hop beers are made soon after harvest time. The beers tend to be extra flavorful and delicious.
Thanks to Sierra Nevada, we don’t have to wait for fall to have a fresh-hop beer. Sierra Nevada recently introduced its Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale, which uses fresh hops from New Zealand, where hops are harvested in the spring instead of the fall because the seasons run opposited down there. The Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale can be found in bottles at BevMo and other good bottle shops, and on tap at various bars around San Diego. I guess it was introduced in May but only recently made it to San Diego.
According to the label on the bottles, Sierra Nevada made arrangements to get the hops from New Zealand and begin brewing with them at Sierra Nevada’s brewery in Chico within a week after harvest time. It was worth the effort. The Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale has the characteristics of a good fresh-hop ale, and is a nice treat.
Here’s some more info, from the Sierra Nevada Web site:
|alcohol content 6.7% by volume
||yeast Ale Yeast
|beginning gravity 14.7 Plato
||bittering hops Pacific Halertau
|ending gravity 3.9 Plato
||finishing hops New Zealand Motueka & New Zealand Southern Cross
|bitterness units 66
||malts Pale & Caramel