Friday, November 18, 2011

Beer of the Week (Vol. CXXIV)

Another edition of Beer of the Week brought to you by the fresh-faced crew at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help you find the wine, whiskey, and beer that you’ll genuinely be thankful for.

Among the many Minnesota based craft brewers that have sprung up in recent years is Brau Brothers Brewing Company. Brau Brothers is located in the booming metropolis of Lucan, which is located in the southwestern part of the state, a couple, two three hours from the Twin Cities. Lucan boasts a population of two-hundred-and-twenty souls, including the three brothers whose name the brewery bears. If your German is a bit rusty that surname aptly translates to “brew” or “beer.”

Our selection from Brau Brothers is their special seasonal Hundred Yard Dash Fresh Hop Ale.

So what exactly is a fresh or wet hop beer anyway? Fresh Hop Beer? Wet Hop Beer? What is it?:

On Monday we got to brew the first of our three fresh hop beers. Some people refer to these at Wet Hop Beers. But what really does that mean? A Fresh/Wet hop beer is a beer that you make using hops that were pulled from the field within 24 hours of brewing the beer. Most hops are dried, concentrating the lupulin and alpha acids that provide the bitterness, flavor and aroma to the beers that hopheads have come to love. These hops are “wet” because their water content is 80-90% of the total weight. In dried hops, you only have about 10-20% water weight. This type of hop addition adds a different flavor and aroma and you have to use A LOT more (5-7X more) but there is no doubt that you have the freshest of the fresh with little to no oxidation problems that some stored hops can have.

Now, that’s fresh. And in this case, the hops come from Brau Brothers’ own hopyard, which features eleven different varieties and is the largest in the state.

12oz brown bottle. Two-tone green label has bold font and a background overflowing with hoppy goodness.

STYLE: American IPA

Alcohol by Volume: 6.8%

COLOR (0-2): Golden brown, mostly clear. 2

AROMA (0-2): Delicious aromas of citrusy hops with a little sweetness. 2

HEAD (0-2): White color, fluffy consistency, good volume and lacing. 2

TASTE (0-5): Strong hoppy flavors of grapefruit and pine as you would expect but with more caramel malt balance than last year’s version (as pointed out by Mark). Nicely bitter, but not overly so. Some grassy and almost peaty flavors as well. Mouthfeel is smooth and it has a medium body. It has a bit of a bite, but overall it’s rather drinkable. 4

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Pleasant and lasting. 2

OVERALL (0-6): A very nice fresh hopped beer. Strong flavors that don’t go too far in favor of hops and nothing else. It’s definitely a beer that you don’t want to drink straight from the fridge. You really can’t appreciate the full flavor profile unless you let it warm and breathe a bit (something I learned from experience). The only qualm I have with Brau Brother’s One Hundred Yard Dash is the price. At $11.99 a six-pack it’s a bit on the steep side and while this is a very good fresh hopped IPA, it’s not quite in the class of say Surly’s Wet. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 16