THE BLOG
10/19/2010 06:05 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Getting Fresh with Wet-Hop Beers

The September/October issue of Imbibe Magazine celebrates the seasonality of beer, and come fall, there are plenty of brews to get excited about, not the least of which are wet-hop beers. Unlike the bulk of the hops crop, which is dried and compressed into pellets for easy transport and year-round use, wet (aka fresh) hops are left out of the drying kiln and either picked up or shipped directly to a brewer to use within 24 hours of harvest. The result is beers that delicately highlight the herbal, grassy or citrusy characteristics of the specific hop varieties used. And while brewing with fresh hops requires many more hops due to their naturally high water content, ironically, the IBUs (units used to measure a beer's hop bitterness) are typically lower, offering a nuanced, yet tempered hop profile. Sierra Nevada pioneered the wet-hop style in the mid-1990s, and since then, brewers across the country have showcased fresh hops in everything from pale ales to porters. Due to the seasonal nature of these beers, many don't make it beyond a brewery's own taps, but as demand grows, so does availability. Here are four bottled iterations that are currently available in most markets, but be sure to pick them up while you can, as they'll disappear from store shelves as fast as the changing leaves fall.

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Getting Fresh with Wet-Hop Beers
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Getting Fresh with Wet-Hop Beers