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Saturday, September 20, 2008

BridgePort Hop Harvest

BridgePort's Hop Harvest is one of the first fresh-hop ales to hit the market, and I had the opportunity to try a pint last night. A year ago, I considered this beer one of the "winners" of the fresh-hop crop, and it has lost nothing in year two.

It's brewed with Centennials (a high-alpha Cascade), weighs in at 7% by volume, and is purported to have 70 IBUs. But these details are misleading because with fresh hop ales, everything's different. I tried it both on cask and regular draft, and this was an instructive experiment. Cask reveals the herbal quality--I get a lemongrass note and some savory herbal touches (rosemary, basil?). I say lemongrass to suggest that the citrus note isn't straightforward; it's herbal rather than fruity. The malt is softened on cask, and it tastes nothing like a burly 7% beer. As for the IBUs, I've no doubt they're there, but this beer isn't bitter.

On regular draft, it's not nearly as tasty. The richness of the hops are subdued (everything is just less intense), yet there are some sharp, almost grinding notes that are absent in the cask version. I highly recommend trying this at the pub where it's on cask (I was at the Hawthorne pub) to taste the qualities of the wet hops.

1 comment:

  1. Apparently this is actually the third year (at least), as they had the 2006 (not bad… fairly well balanced, not overly bitter for my sensitive sensibilities), 2007 (least favorite… had a weird, artificial quality - supposedly not present in the bottle when it was first released, and way bitter) and 2008 (not sure… I should've cleansed my palette after the 2007) on tap at the NW brewpub for the 2008 bottling's release party. They did not, however, have it on cask, which incenses me… the best IPA's I've had have all been cask-conditioned; how could they leave that out for its release party? *shrug*

    Ah well… at least I got to meet Jamie Floyd from Ninkasi that night at the Whole Foods just down the road (as I was picking up more bottles of the Dissident), who gave me a taste of the Tricerahops from the bottle; not quite as smooth as on cask, but still one of my favorites.