We are pretty excited about our first ever wet hop beer, which is the Wet Hop Session IPA that is out this week. We love this beer and are so glad we made it, but have jokingly nickname it the "logistical nightmare beer."
For those of you who don't know, most beer is made with hop pellets or dried cones, which have a long shelf life if stored correctly and are pretty easy to transport and store, but still have that lovely hoppyness that (most everybody) loves. When a brewer makes a wet hop beer, he or she is using fresh-off-the-bine (hops are grown on bines not vines, fun fact!) hops. The fresh hops have an extra earthy-citrusy-grassy smell and taste that you don't get with pellet hops.
Why "logistical nightmare?" Fresh hops are BULKY and have to be used within 24 hours of picking so that's why wet hop beers are rare - there's only one short window each year that you can produce them and transportation is kind of tricky. You have to find someone willing to go pick up some big-bagged fresh hops for you at exactly the right time. In our case, this person was FHB co-owner/marketing lady Molly, who had her car in the shop but was able to borrow a sweet green mini van to make the journey to the Iowa Hops farm in Newton to pick up the goods. This is what a borrowed van of Cascade hops looks like:
The hop picking, hops pick-up, and drive time were all coordinated with Jake's brewing day, so at the right time Molly started north and dropped off the hops just in time for them to be thrown in the boil.
We hope you like the new beer!