From Field House Brewing in Abbotsford comes their “Fresh Hop Sartori Sour IPA”. This weird and wonderful brew pours a weird brownish copper colour with a tan head. The aroma consists of floral and herbal hops with some sweetness and a definite sour note. The flavour is of sourness, toffee, sweetness with grassy, herbal hops with earth and a medium bitterness in the finish. The alcohol content comes in at 6% with an IBU of 30. This beer is more sour ale than IPA for sure but it is a fun brew and I am glad that I got the chance to try it this year. I hope you do too!
Commercial Description: Our hands harvested these columbia hop cones straight from the Sartori Hop Ranch in the beautiful Columbia Valley. These fresh hops met our sour red IPA, infusing this once-a-year brew with fresh green earthy flavours. Herbal notes meet fruity melon and tangy citrus, all nestled in a tart IPA.
From Bomber Brewing in East Vancouver comes their “Fresh Hop East Van SMaSH (Simco)” the latest India Session Ale in their Single Malt and Single Hop series of beers. The beer pours a light straw colour with a white head. The aroma consists of stone fruit, passion fruit, sweetness, mild malts, floral and grassy hops. The flavour is of and a very mild bitterness in the finish. The alcohol content comes in at 4.5% with an IBU of 30ish according to the brewery. This might be one of the better vehicles for fresh hops in the beer world. The beer is not expected to be a huge hop bomb when it is an India Session Ale and works quite well. Its my third fresh hop beer of the year and my favorite so far.
Commercial Description: Pine and resin aromas might make you think we harvested these Simcoe hops from a forest. But they were cut down in Toppenish, Wa, and then hurried across the Cascade Mountains to get their fresh flavours into our kettle. Take a sip and note the sophistication that British Golden Promise malt provides as a counterpart in our refreshing single malt and single hops session ale.
From Steamworks Brewing in Burnaby BC comes their latest collaboration beer “Hop Attack! Fresh Hop IPA” made in conjunction with Chris Sartori of Sartori Hop Farm in Chilliwack BC. Like all fresh hop beers this beer was made with hops that were picked and brewed with in a very small window. With Hop Attack the brewmaster Julia Hanlon was able to brew with these fresh hops less than 6 hours after picking. The beer pours a copper colour with a white head. The aroma is citrusy, grassy, herbal and finishes with earth. The flavour is of citrus, honey, herbal, grass, caramel, sweetness, mild bitterness with a dank and oily finish. The alcohol content comes in at 6% with and IBU of 50. This beer does a great job to hold its own against other fresh hopped beer that are being released right now locally. I just wish that fresh hopped beer had more of a West Coast IPA feel but that is just my preference. Make sure to pick up a few bottles asap as like all fresh hopped beer you should be drinking it as soon as possible after the release as the hop oils break down over time.
From Persephone Brewing Company out of Gibsons BC comes their “Harvest IPA” a beer that is wet hopped with their own hops gown on site. These hops are only one year old and most hops do not really achieve the best oils until a few years in. Persephone Brewing took a huge gamble with wet hopping this beer with their young hops. The beer pours a deep amber colour with a white head. The aroma consists of biscuit malts and floral/earthy hops. The flavour is of earthy hops with a decent hops bitterness, resin, citrus, but the real star of the show is the caramel and biscuit malt backbone. The alcohol content comes in at a very respectable 6.5%. The real star of this beer are the malts but this is an amazing wet hopped beer and is a very welcome addition to the local landscape. I have my bets that this beer will be even more amazing for the next few years as the hops plants mature. If you can still find a bottle then do not hesitate as this is one awesome beer.
Commercial Description: This light amber IPA is brewed with fresh cascade and centennial hops grown on Persephone’s farm. This beer has an aroma of orange and grapefruit, a subtle citrusy, grassy flavour with a light caramel malt background.
Well it is that time of year again! Driftwood Brewing out of Victoria BC has brought us their 2014 version of their wet hopped “Sartori Harvest IPA”. I actually got my two bottles of this years batch a little late as I was over 700km away when it was released on a road trip to the Kottenays. Luckily I was able to have a few bottles squirreled away for me as like always this beer fly’s off the shelves before most people realize it has even been released. This year the beer took a huge direction change with the label! From the nice subtle look of the original to the in your face version this year.
Like every year all hops used in this brew were picked at the Sartori Cedar Ranch in Chilliwack and brought back to Victoria and put into the brew kettle without drying them (most hops is dried and turned into pellets). This process adds a different flavour than drying out the hops and making pellets. This also means that the hops oils are much less stable in the beer and the beer should be consumed asap and not held onto. This beer will have a very short shelf life even to what a normal IPA should have. As can be guessed by the sudden glut of wet hop or fresh hop beers suddenly on the market the hop harvest just happened very recently! Fall is an exciting time for hop heads! This years batch pours a golden colour with a white head. The aroma consisted of earthy and floral hops, with not much shining through beyond that. The flavour was of huge earthy hops flavour with pine, hops bitterness, resin and some mild sweetness either from the malts or citrus. I don’t know if it was just my two bottles or if this was production wide but this years batch was far less balanced with very little malt or fruitiness of any kind coming through. I found it almost more of a fresher Fat Tug IPA this year. The alcohol content comes in at 7% this year and I would suspect the IBU would come in similar to the last two years around 75. To me it seems to be much more than just a label change this year but a entirely new beer. Don’t get me wrong it is a good beer but it is not what I have come to expect over the last couple of years of Sartori Harvest releases. I will not be hunting down any more bottles which in a way bums me out as usually I am on a mad hunt for as many bottles as I can find of this brew. Maybe this is just my experience and I hope that is the case. Luckily with beer it is all up to the individual person drinking the beer! Maybe I have just come to expect to much with this release and I do not mean to be a buzz kill Driftwood as I know this is a huge release for your every year but this years version just wasn’t my taste.