Fresh hop beer season is here and so is the hype surrounding these delicious, ephemeral beers. To some, fresh hop beers explode with life, capturing the fleeting flavours and aromas of those tiny nuggets of goodness before they quickly fade away for another year. To others, they taste like fizzy compost.
For the uninitiated, fresh hop beers are beers that are brewed using fresh hops (duh) — so fresh that the hops are harvested, transported and thrown in the brew kettle all within 24 hours. Since the hops aren’t dried, kilned and pelletized, they retain all sorts of crazy volatile flavours and compounds normally lost during processing. Those flavours fade fast, however, and after just a few weeks, fresh hop beers can lose their personality.
Expect big floral and grassy notes, along with amplified fruit and citrus (depending on the hop variety used). Personally, I get a fun little fizzy sensation from fresh hop beers, kind of like Pop Rocks, but not quite as intense.
Port Moody’s Parkside Brewery teamed up with internet’s most famous B.C. beer bloggers to put together its fresh-hopped release for the year, Internet Famous. Brewer Vern Lambourne enlisted the help of the B.C. beer-stagrammers behind @thebeerrater, @crafttourist, @thirstyexplorersclub and @seatoskybeerguy, utilizing heaps of Big C hops (in this case, Cascade, Centennial and Columbus) from Northwest Hop Farms in Chilliwack.
This hazy IPA is kind of an odd colour, almost like a bruised peach, with a sturdy off-white head that’s so thick and persistent you can almost float a dime in it. (You can’t, though. I tried.)
The aroma explodes with melon, citrus and fresh-cut grass, joined by flavours of stone fruit, passion fruit and pine as it makes its way down your gullet. That little fizzy sensation is there, too. There’s a slight cracker-like malt character, but nothing that gets in the way of all those fresh hops.
Like all fresh hop beers, this one’s going to fade fast, so get your hands on it pronto.
Internet Famous by Parkside Brewery
Hazy Fresh Hop IPA • 6.4 per cent ABV • 473 mL tall cans
Appearance: Opaque, browny peach colour with an off-white meringue-like head.
Aroma: Melon, citrus, passion fruit, grass.
Flavour: Melon, stone fruit, grass, citrus, passion fruit, pine, grapefruit, cracker-like malt character, low hop bitterness.
Body/Finish: Creamy and full-bodied, with a dry finish.
Pairs with: Halibut tacos, pad thai and spending countless hours on your phone voyeuristically obsessing over the lives of complete strangers.
More beery adventures at thegrowler.ca.