Today I was lucky enough to receive a growler of wet hop ale by the Blackbear Brewery here in Orono, Maine. This ale was made using Cascade hops harvested the morning it was brewed, which can only be done once a year. The hops are Maine-grown as well, making it even more special.
This batch follows the style of an IPA: it’s sweet and malty at first, combined with a smooth, almost dry mouthfeel. The hop flavor punches through quickly, with a strong, bitter finish, but not overwhelming — an interesting effect of the fresh hops. The finish is a spectacular harmony of malt and hops, very well balanced.
The flavor is sweet, but not chewy, it leans more towards dry, but the heavy hop character keeps it full. The carbonation is low to medium, which keeps the focus on the flavor. It finishes very clean as a result, which suits the beer well.
The aroma is not a dominating component of the beer — the clean hop presence is pleasant, but not overpowering.
All in all, a very well balanced, good seasonal beer. I hope to see this next fall here in Orono. Catch it while you can.