Great Divide Releases Fresh Hop Pale Ale
On the heels of the US hop harvest, Great Divide Brewing Company is releasing its unique “wet-hopped” beer, Fresh Hop Pale Ale. Fresh Hop is an American-style ale brewed with freshly picked hops instead of the dried and pelletized hops brewers typically use. It will be released on October 1st.
“Wet hops are expensive and difficult to brew with,” says Great Divide founder Brian Dunn, “and Fresh Hop is a very labor-intensive beer for us to make. A brew takes many extra hours and three times the normal staff.” But, he says, the extra effort is well worth the trouble.
“It’s a really unique opportunity for us to brew with seasonal ingredients, something we don’t get to do very often. And fresh hops give a distinctly fresh, almost earthy and grassy hop character to the beer.”
Dunn and his crew first brewed Fresh Hop five years ago, making it the first beer of its kind to be brewed commercially in Colorado. The beer, which serves as the brewery’s fall seasonal, has won outstanding reviews from America’s food & beer press and consumer reviewers.
Brewing with fresh hops requires five times the hop volume of pelletized hops. The very perishable, just-harvested hop cones are shipped overnight to Great Divide shortly after harvest. The morning of the scheduled hop delivery, Great Divide’s brewers begin brewing Fresh Hop Pale Ale, and have the brewing beer ready for its hop additions as the fresh hops arrive at the brewery.
Dunn says his staff gets extra pleasure from the process. “When those boxes of freshly harvested hops arrive,” he says, “we open them up and everyone in the brewery crushes them between their hands and takes a huge whiff. It’s really incredible to smell that fresh hop aroma.”
Fresh Hop is an American-style pale ale with moderate hop bitterness, highlighted by a unique and intensely floral and citrusy hop character. Fresh Hop is a superbly refreshing, medium-bodied, light copper-colored pale ale weighing in at 55 International Bittering Units (IBUs) and 6.1% alcohol by volume.
Great Divide brewed just 200 barrels (a barrel equals approximately 31 US gallons) of Fresh Hop. The beer is available in limited quantities of draft and 22 ounce bottles.