It’s officially Autumn, and that means this year’s batch of Wet Hop Pale Ale, a beer brewed entirely with freshly-harvest Ontario-grown hops and Canadian malts, is heading to stores. While you probably know how fresh and delicious our Wet Hop Pale Ale is, you may not know exactly what “wet hopped” beer is. Have no fear, we’ve got your back.
To begin at the beginning: hops are a flowering vine, also known as Humulus Lupulus, that sprout cone flowers. These cones contain the essential acids and resins brewers need to make delicious beer. Hop vines grow up to 20 feet tall, and are harvested at the end of every summer.
Generally speaking, there are three formats of hops used by brewers: fresh hops, pellet hops, and hop extracts. Pellet hops are the most common among craft brewers, because they allow the precious oils and resins to stay fresh much longer than in unprocessed hop cones. They are also more compact, easier to store, and easier to accurately measure. They sort of look like rabbit food, but you probably won’t want to eat them since they are extremely bitter!
Hop extracts are the most concentrated form of hop oils, extracted through natural or chemical processes. They look like dark honey, and are very thick and viscous. Extracts are often used by macro breweries since they are more consistent and predictable, as well as more “light stable”.
Finally, we’ve got fresh hop cones, the original, all-natural hop format. These delicate flowers can be added directly into beer during the boil process, and provide a super fresh and crisp hop profile you can’t get anywhere else. The challenge is that hops can only be harvested once a year, and need to be brewed with within 24-48 hours of picking, before they dry out. Our Wet Hop Pale Ale is brewed on the same day the hops were harvested at Big Head Hop Farm, in order to ensure the optimal fresh hop flavour and aroma.
We always work hard to use fresh and local ingredients whenever possible. It’s amazing how hop farming is coming back in Ontario, and we’re lucky to work with the fantastic people at Big Head Hops. Brewed with Chinook, Cascade and Centennial hops, the beer pours a light gold colour with aromas of fresh-cut grass, pine resin and hints of orange peel. Soft biscuit malt notes are balanced with the delicate fresh hop flavours, with a very clean, mildly bitter finish.
Wet Hop will be available in tall cans at the LCBO and our Bottle Shop while supplies last, and on draft at better beer bars across the province. Good things grow in Ontario, including amazing beer!