A little wet behind the ears, Wet Hop Series #1 our first IPA
So here we go, this a real feast of firsts for us, our first blog post, our first wet hop series beer and our first IPA! We have heard the clamour on the streets of Berlin for a Berliner Berg IPA and not wanting to cause civil unrest we have relented, the result, our Wet Hop series #1 IPA!
Joking aside though, we are very proud and very excited to unleash our first IPA on the world, but first lets get the nagging question out of the way… What is a wet hop beer?
In essence a wet hop beer is a super fresh, super seasonal beer which is brewed in September of every year to coincide with the hop harvest, a wet hop beer is not necessarily an IPA and all beers brewed in September are not wet hop beers. The first place to start is to establish the difference between wet hops and dry hops.
Hops are basically very delicate flowers and like any delicate flower once picked they will very quickly die. This sounds very sad and to be frank it is, fortunately however for us beer lovers many moons ago a solution was found to this tragic situation, cooking. Well not cooking exactly but Kilning, Modern hop farms dry the hops in a kiln as soon as possible in order to preserve the hops as kilned hop flowers or processed as pellets. Thanks to this we can enjoy delicious hoppy beers year round which I think we can all agree, is pretty wonderful.
The one downside of this however is that rarely do we get the opportunity to truly taste the raw, natural flavour of this beautiful plant, only once a year in fact! Luckily for us that once a year is now and we have been fortunate to work with the fantastic hop farmer Josef Wittmann to acquire some super fresh Comet and Cascade hops for our first wet hop series beer.
Wet hops owe their name to the fact that they contain 75 to 80 percent moisture while dry hops contain roughly 8-10 percent. This brings a vibrancy and unique flavour and aroma to beer brewed with fresh hops and also means that every beer is individual and alive in a way that beer brewed with dry hops or pellets cannot be. The variables in these beers lend them their ethereal, legendary qualities, only amplified by the scarcity of their availability.
Predictably in order to get this rare flavour sensation into a beer you have to jump through a few hoops, most notably that the hops have to be in the brew kettle within ideally 24 hours in order to extract all the wonderful additional resin and oil while they are still at their peak. Logistically for a lot of breweries this is either expensive or unachievable so we feel obviously hugely privileged to have been given the opportunity and to be able to share it with you all.
The decision to make the first wet hop series beer an IPA was actually dictated by the hops themselves. Once we got our hands on the hops and more importantly got our noses in the hops, it was immediately clear that the time was right for our first IPA. The comet hop is an american hop by origin now also being grown in Hallertau and particularly when fresh brings a wild, grassy and grapefruity flavour to the beer, less aggressive and bitter than a lot of modern IPAs wet hop IPA’s strive to showcase the delicacy and beautiful fragility of the hops themselves. However the proof is in the pudding so I hope you are now looking at an empty glass of Berliner Berg’s Wet Hop Series #1 IPA and about to order a second. Here’s to many more blog posts and many more beers shared together, Prost!