Most beers are made with dried hops or pellets. That's understandable, since brewing goes on all year long, though the hop harvest occurs only during a short window in the fall. But with specialty seasonals all the rage, it was inevitable that someone would come out with a fresh-hopped release. The first one I remember from a few years back was O'Brien's Harvest Ale from Washington-based Hale's, It was a delicious wonder with a unique hop profile. And while that beer hasn't hit Boise yet this year, a number of others have. Here are three worthy of your attention, all bottled in the 22-ounce bomber.
Chatoe Rogue Wet Hop Ale
A nicely balanced entry from this Oregon brewery offering lightly bitter, fruit-laced hops with touches of caramel and herb on the nose. This beer is very creamy on the palate with smooth malt mixing with orange and mango, backed by subtle, very clean tasting, lightly bitter hops (those hops, along with the barley, are grown on Rogue's own estate).
Deschutes Hop Trip
Big, resiny hop aromas explode from the glass along with touches of citrus zest and soft malt. This beer is definitely a more aggressive hop profile here than with the Rogue, but there's a nice roundness that isn't overly bitter. There is plenty of crisp citrus to keep things in line, with a nice, just sweet, malt backbone. It finishes clean and fresh.
Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown Ale
As the name implies (and as with the Chatoe Rogue) this one is made with fresh wet hops and organically grown barley at the brewery in Chico, Calif. It's delightfully complex with bright, citrusy hops colored by pine resin, spice and toasted malt. In the mouth, it blends sweet, caramel flavors with ripe grapefruit and lightly bitter hops. A well-integrated effort with exceptional persistence.