Back again with another IPA. Why so many IPAs recently? Well the simple answer is that I bought a lot of beer, and IPAs are better fresh. Hence, you’re going to get reviews of IPAs in bunches. So quit your bitching. Today’s IPA is Port Brewing’s High Tide “Fresh Hop” IPA. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “Fresh Hop” or “Wet Hop” allow me to offer a bit of an explanation.
When hops are harvested, they are usually dried (and in some cases pelleted, which spell check tells me is a word). Fresh/Wet hop beers come right after the hop harvest and are made with undried hops. Now I’m not a hop scientist (but I am studying to be one), but I’m told that more of the resins and volatile oils remain in the fresh hops from not being dried. Hop oils, acids, resins, flavor, aroma and the like all tend to fade over time. I recently had a Hoponius Union – an excellent beer – that was almost completely devoid of its trademark hop character.
So I decide that it was long overdue for me to crack open this bottle of High Tide, and I’d just spent the past ten minutes listening to Jim Jefferies talk about trying to pull out a vibrating egg that had been lodged in his ass so I felt like I needed a drink. And on that note…
From the side of the bottle:
Our version of a seasonal IPA brewed and dry hopped with freshly harvested Centennial and Simcoe flower hops. Fresh hop beers can only be brewed once a year, during this annual Fall harvest. We use the hop cones at their peak of freshness bursting with flavor and aromas. Each fall we brew High Tide IPA in celebration of the new crop year. We hope this seasonal IPA will be a welcome addition to out lineup of distinguished beers and be sought by hop heads everywhere seeking something a little more extraordinary.
Appearance: This is pretty brilliantly clear, which is really surprising for such a hoppy beer, especially one that uses whole hop cones. Impressive. The color is a light orange, amber-golden color. There’s a nice big white head on top of this beer that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.
Smell: POW, right in the kisser. This is dank and resiny. There’s a marijuana-like smell that comes off… not that any of you would know what that means… but also some citrus and some orange. The flavors from the Simcoe hops really pop here. I got a lot more hop aroma than a lot of reviews I read; no barnyard or farmhouse notes that I’m picking up.
Taste: Definitely still some dank and resin left in this puppy, and it is definitely bitter. There’s a nice sweetness, too. There’s a bit of grapefruit and a little bit of citrus. I get a lot of the malt profile, too. Some biscuity and caramel flavors in there. Spicy character at the end.
Mouthfeel: This beer is pretty smooth, with a lingering bitterness on the sides of the tongue. There’s not a palate-coating bitterness, but it is lingering. The carbonation is light, but strong enough to carry the flavor and aroma.
Final Verdict: 4.0 out of 5. Buy it, if you’re a hophead.
This is a pretty solid West Coast IPA. I don’t know if using the fresh hops really add anything over the usual method, but the beer is damn good so who am I to argue with results? Especially since I can’t brew an IPA to save my life.