Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fresh is best

The Great Divide beers I have had before I liked quite a bit - The Hercules Double IPA and the the Titan IPA. The Titan I am most fond of - it's not anything revolutionary, but it is a sturdy, flavorful, balanced, smooth American IPA. I don't buy it often, but I'm never sorry to have it in the fridge.

So when I saw this Fresh Hop Pale Ale big bottle I picked it up. And I like it too. The brewers say that the difference is they use freshly harvested hops, available in the early fall, as opposed to the pressed pellets of hops people use the rest of the year around. I have no idea if this is true, of course, but it makes a good story. And the beer is a little different. I don't have a Titan in the fridge now to compare first hand, but I could tell that Fresh Hop is a little different. I got a distinct herb flavor from this beer that I haven't gotten with a pale ale before. In fact (and this is going to sound strange, but I mean it as a good thing) it tasted of a good, musky parsley (yes, there is such a thing).

Like the Titan, this isn't one I will go mad over, but it is a solid, refreshing and ever so slightly unusual beer. I'm glad to be drinking it at this very moment.

UPDATE: I looked around a little and discovered that this is true, though beer wonks are divided as to whether it is worth using fresh hops versus the dry kind. The fresh stuff is called "Wet hopping," a phrase that sounds faintly unseemly.

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