Drink this: Fresh by Strathcona Beer Co.

Fresh hop beer season has almost come and gone for another year, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to highlight another one of these delicious, fleeting beers.

Most fresh hop beers on the market tend to be hop-forward IPAs or pale ales—these styles do the best job of highlighting the luscious, floral, grassy flavours of fresh hops. But that doesn’t mean other styles can’t benefit from a heavy dose of fresh hops.

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Strathcona Beer Co.’s Fresh is a dry-hopped sour ale that features fresh B.C.-grown Cashmere hops, in addition to some Citra and Waimea, a somewhat obscure bittering hop from New Zealand. You’d likely never know that this is a fresh hop beer if the can didn’t announce it, though. But that’s OK, because it’s delicious. You can get away with a lot if your beer is delicious.

Like most dry-hopped sours, any harshness from the beer’s lactic acidity is balanced by the generous dry-hopping, creating a tart, soft, fruity beer. The addition of fresh hops has an interesting effect on this beer though, imparting some grassy, herbal notes, as well as a big tropical aroma.

According to the can, Strathcona reckons there’s a slight hint of white wine, and they’re right, if only because this beer hits all the same notes as a New Zealand Sauv Blanc: passion fruit, grass and grapefruit all tied together with considerable acidity. This effect becomes more pronounced if you swirl the beer until it’s flat. It’s uncanny, actually.

I love this beer because there’s more going on here than just the fresh hops. While it doesn’t necessarily highlight the fresh hops like an IPA or a pale ale would, this beer would be impossible without them.

Fresh by Strathcona Beer Co.

Fresh hop sour ale • 6.0 per cent ABV • 473 mL tall can

Appearance: Hazy deep gold colour with a fine, lingering off-white head.

Aroma: Tropical fruit, citrus, stone fruit, lactic acidity.

Flavour: Passion fruit, stone fruit, citrus, tropical fruit, pineapple, grass, slightly herbal, vegetal, somewhat vinous, well-balanced acidity, low hop bitterness, mild crackery malt character.

Body/Finish: Light bodied and effervescent, with a tart, dry finish.

Pairs with: Grilled asparagus, fush n chups, wool sweaters and Taika Waititi movies.

More beery adventures at thegrowler.ca.

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