Fall is the best time for hoppy beers

The Hoppiest of times is here!

This time of year is the hoppiest of the year – the month to celebrate for everyone who enjoys pale ales, IPAs, double IPAs, and any beer that shares in the glory of hops.

Why is this time the best for hoppy beer?

Late September/ early October is hop harvest in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. These three Pacific Northwest states are the heaviest hop-producing states in the United States. Hop farmers in these states are forecast to produce 106 million pounds of hops in 2019 – over 75% of the American hop yield. Hops are only harvested in these states once each year, and the crop is dried, pelletized, and processed to be usable for the rest of the year.

October is when the hops are the freshest and at their peak.  Each year, a unique style of IPA becomes possible, and several brewers take advantage of hop harvest to make a fresh-hopped IPA.

A bunch of green hops on a tree

Wet-hopped IPAs are unique and made during hop harvest because timing is crucial.  In order to be considered a “wet-hopped” IPA, hops are added to boiling wort within 24 hours of being picked.  This is not an easy feat for a brewery down the road from a hop farm, let alone one across the country.  Wet-hopped beers are also challenging to put through a typical brewing system.  Since they have not been dried or pelletized, it is common for hop particulate material to separate from the plant during the brewing process, requiring extended cleaning times and special procedures while brewing.

Why go through all of the trouble, then?  Well, the resulting beer is unlike any other beer experience available – hoppy or otherwise. The amount of oil and hop essence released when brewing with fresh hops is different than the same beer brewed with traditionally packaged hops.

In other words, for many breweries, wet-hopped beers are labors of love.

Check out these labors of love, and experience for yourself the joys of a hoppy October.

Wet-hopped beers:

 

Swamp Head Brewery Gainesville Green LabelSwamp Head Brewery Gainesville Green (7.0% ABV) – For over five years now, Gainesville’s Swamp Head Brewery has made this fresh-hop IPA with a different strain of hops each year. No one outside of the brewery knows what version of this beer will appear each year – what strain of hops? Which state will the hops originate? Will the beer be a traditional IPA or a hazy IPA?  While the brewery seems to savor the suspense, the beer never disappoints.

 

 

 

Fresh-hopped beer
After wet-hopped beer, another type of beer that expresses the freshness of newly picked hops is a fresh-hopped beer (usually an IPA).  Fresh-hopped beer is a beer (almost always an IPA) that is brewed only with hops that have been picked in the October harvest.  While the hops have been kilned, dried, and pelletized, being used quickly after picking ensures that the beer gives off aromas and flavors of the hoppiest time of the year.

 

 

 

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (6.8% ABV) – Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale has been one of the few American IPAs released for the holidays ever since 1981.  While many brewers release stouts and spiced beers, Sierra Nevada takes the hops from the October harvest and uses them while they’re at their peak freshness.  Celebration Ale’s holiday release is the gift that hoppy beer enthusiasts want (and get) year after year.

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Seasonal Beers: No snow but plenty of cheer

While Floridians don’t usually have to hunker down for an intense winter like their northern counterparts, the beers of winter still make their annual rounds.  The Sunshine State may still hold its name during the snowy winter months, but with the holidays around the corner there are plenty of chances to enjoy that cold beer with loved ones.

 

After all, just because Florida doesn’t get sleet, snow, and ice doesn’t mean that a Floridian will turn down beers next to the fire pit on a chilly night or with friends at your favorite hangout.

 

Here are a few winter brews to taste against the winds of Florida’s cold season:

 

Samuel Adams Winter Lager

 

 

Samuel Adams Winter Lager (5.6% ABV): a classic winter beer, this relatively strong lager blends the sweetness of malted barley with spices synonymous with wintertime like cinnamon, ginger, and orange peel. Like the liquid version of ginger snap cookies, Winter Lager can pull up a chair for dinner or dessert, pairing well with baked brie, a roast turkey, or gingerbread.

 

 

 

 

 

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2019

 

 

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (6.8% ABV): First brewed in 1981, Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale is the perfect gift for those who love hoppy beers – as its hops are picked at the peak of freshness. A massive dose of citrus and pine greets the nose before every sip and lingers around into the beer’s finish.  Try this American classic and see for yourself why it continues to stand the test of time.

 

 

 

 

 

2019 Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA

 

 

Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA (7.5% ABV): This crowd-favorite IPA began its life as a draft offering in the Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats in Rehoboth, Delaware. After pubgoers loved it, the beer saw national distribution and has grown each year since it became a regular wintertime offering from Dogfish Head. The beer is an IPA that features the addition of maple syrup and is continually hopped throughout the boil, then dry-hopped for even more hoppy aroma. The liquid speaks for itself – especially among grilled meats or guacamole appetizers.

 

 

 

 

Coppertail Brewing Alpha Hunt: Pax Odeon

 

 

Coppertail Brewing Alpha Hunt Series: Pax Odeon (8.4% ABV): Coppertail Brewing’s Alpha Hunt Series is all about exploration both in the story and in the beer. In story, each beer is named for fictional hunters that go in search of the mythical Coppertail monster that the brewery is named for. In reality, the beers are about Coppertail brewer Casey Hughes brewing IPAs to try out new and cutting-edge hop varietals and hop blends in a similar spirit of exploration.  Pax Odeon is a hazy IPA that features a blend of Loral, Sabro, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops that tempt the spirit of adventure all the way around.

 

 

New Belgium Brewing Nitro Cold Brew Cream Ale

 

 

 

New Belgium Brewing Up Next: Nitro Cold Brew Cream Ale (5.0% ABV): While winter is infamous for its darker beers that have a higher alcohol presence, New Belgium Brewing has crafted one of the lightest brews of the winter, releasing a cream ale with Austin, Texas-based High Brew coffee.  The beer is light in body and infused with coffee that is then canned with nitro for the nitro cold brew experience in a 5% ABV beer.

 

 

 

 

Funky Buddha Last Snow can

 

 

Funky Buddha Brewery Last Snow (6.4% ABV): Funky Buddha Brewery calls Last Snow its “ode to that special time in our home state where the needle dips just south of 75 – even for the briefest of moments.”  The beer is layered with tones of coffee, chocolate, and coconut throughout the aroma, flavor, and finish.  Open one today and watch the aroma draw in those around you, or better yet, open one and enjoy it with braised beef or black forest cake.

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever beer you decide to celebrate the winter with this year, we hope the season is a happy one for our teammates, families, customers, and communities.

Fall is the best time for hoppy beers

The Hoppiest of times is here!

October is the hoppiest month of the year – the month to celebrate for everyone who enjoys pale ales, IPAs, double IPAs, and any beer that shares in the glory of hops.

Why is October a month for hoppy beer?

Late September/ early October is hop harvest in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. These three Pacific Northwest states are the heaviest hop-producing states in the United States. Hop farmers in these states are forecast to produce 106 million pounds of hops in 2019 – over 75% of the American hop yield. Hops are only harvested in these states once each year, and the crop is dried, pelletized, and processed to be usable for the rest of the year.

October is when the hops are the freshest and at their peak.  Each October, a unique style of IPA becomes possible, and several brewers take advantage of hop harvest to make a wet-hopped IPA.

A bunch of green hops on a tree

Wet-hopped IPAs are unique and made during hop harvest because timing is crucial.  In order to be considered a “wet-hopped” IPA, hops are added to boiling wort within 24 hours of being picked.  This is not an easy feat for a brewery down the road from a hop farm, let alone one across the country.  Wet-hopped beers are also challenging to put through a typical brewing system.  Since they have not been dried or pelletized, it is common for hop particulate material to separate from the plant during the brewing process, requiring extended cleaning times and special procedures while brewing.

Why go through all of the trouble, then?  Well, the resulting beer is unlike any other beer experience available – hoppy or otherwise. The amount of oil and hop essence released when brewing with fresh hops is different than the same beer brewed with traditionally packaged hops.

In other words, for many breweries, wet-hopped beers are labors of love.

Check out these labors of love, and experience for yourself the joys of a hoppy October.

Wet-hopped beers:

Lagunitas Born Yesterday Wet Hop Pale Ale

 

 

Lagunitas Born Yesterday (7.2% ABV) – The brewers at Lagunitas are located in Petaluma, California – just down the highway from hop country. Born Yesterday is Lagunitas’s version of a pale ale, but instead of traditional hops, they add “wet, lupulin-drenched, un-kilned, whole-cone, fresh-picked-and-rushed-straight-from-Yakima hops for your immaculate reception. This Un-Freakin-Filtered, wetter-than-wet beer has 11lbs-per-barrel of Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic and Indigenous Catawampus.”

 

 

 

 

 

Swamp Head Brewery Gainesville Green LabelSwamp Head Brewery Gainesville Green (7.0% ABV) – For over five years now, Gainesville’s Swamp Head Brewery has made this fresh-hop IPA with a different strain of hops each year. No one outside of the brewery knows what version of this beer will appear each year – what strain of hops? Which state will the hops originate? Will the beer be a traditional IPA or a hazy IPA?  While the brewery seems to savor the suspense, the beer never disappoints.

 

2019 Terrapin Beer So Fresh and So Green Green Wet Hop IPA

 

 

 

Terrapin Beer Company So Fresh and So Green Green (5.2% ABV) – Athens, Georgia’s Terrapin Beer Company has been making this wet-hopped beer as an IPA for ten years now. Like Swamp Head, Terrapin has been using a different hop(s) each year. 2019 is no different – the brewery announced that So Fresh will be made this year using Zuper Saazer hops from Michigan. Give it a try and see what flavors these new hops give the beer.

 

 

 

 

Fresh-hopped beer
After wet-hopped beer, another type of beer that expresses the freshness of newly picked hops is a fresh-hopped beer (usually an IPA).  Fresh-hopped beer is a beer (almost always an IPA) that is brewed only with hops that have been picked in the October harvest.  While the hops have been kilned, dried, and pelletized, being used quickly after picking ensures that the beer gives off aromas and flavors of the hoppiest time of the year.

 

 

 

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (6.8% ABV) – Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale has been one of the few American IPAs released for the holidays ever since 1981.  While many brewers release stouts and spiced beers, Sierra Nevada takes the hops from the October harvest and uses them while they’re at their peak freshness.  Celebration Ale’s holiday release is the gift that hoppy beer enthusiasts want (and get) year after year.

 

 

 

 

Intense beer
When talking about hoppy beer, no discussion is complete without mention of Dogfish Head’s IPAs.  120 Minute IPA has been a standard of hoppy beer for over 15 years and it is one of the few IPAs that can be cellared for years.

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

 

 

 

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA (15-20% ABV) – No, it’s not a wet-hopped beer or even a fresh-hopped beer, but Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA has been pushing the boundaries of hoppy beer since it was first brewed in 2003.  Brewed to test the boundaries of continual hopping, a technique developed by Dogfish Head, 120 Minute IPA is meant to be sipped slowly over the course of an evening since it contains such a monumental hop and alcohol presence.  For all those lovers of extremely hoppy beer, 120 Minute’s release has been circled on the calendar for a while.