FROM PORTAL'S OWN BEER SOMMELIER
NOVEMBER 9. 2021
Believe it or not it’s September already. I’m not sure how we got here already, but I’m not about to complain because September is a great month for beer. September brings us the Oktoberfest celebration and fine German-style beers. But it’s also the time for hop harvest. And hop harvest means wet hop beers. It’s a once a year feeding frenzy kind of Beermail.
For those who love themselves some malty brew and all things Bavarian, we’re getting it lined up for you. We’re starting out with Oktoberfest from Sierra Nevada, a fantastic, easier drinking take on the traditional Marzen style of festbier. It’s fantastic, complex amber lager at it’s finest. And stay tuned because we’ll bring in another festbier to follow this one up and try to get through as many as we can before the sun sets on Oktoberfest.
Festbier could use a dance partner to really make it feel like a party. How about a traditional Hefeweizen? Yes, that will do. And Silva Brewing down in Paso Robles makes a good one. Pillowy soft from a heavy handed use of wheat with a traditional nose of banana, clove, and citrus zest thanks to an expressive Bavarian ale yeast. Oompa till you drop, y’all.
Wet hops. Oh, wet hops. This is the magical time of year when hops are harvested and rapidly processed to preserve their hoppy goodness. Typically the hops used in brewing beer have been kiln dried, packed, and stored super cold to maximize their flavor stability for as long as possible. Think of them as an herb you're trying to maintain the flavor of. Fresh versions are great, but they’re volatile, and their water content makes them prone to "going bad". Hops are the same. If they're not handled properly and dried for storage they can get mildewy which is a total waste.
However, there is a short window where if they can be transported from vine to brew within about 24 hours (the sooner the better), they can be used fresh, often called wet. This is a very different process. You can't measure them by weight because they're full of water. So it takes A LOT MORE HOPS to get the job done. Oh, but the reward. The flavor and aroma of hops that haven't been dried can be a total game changer. Much more dank and juicy and offering tropical aromas previously unseen dried offerings.
Like the Oktoberfest beers, we’ll try to feature as many of these wet-hopped treasures as possible. We’ve already lassoed a couple for your enjoyment. Local Brewing Co. secured wet Strata in Oregon and hustled them back to brew Stratabis IPA. Grassy, earthy, mildly citrusy, and, oh yeah, damn nugs. The real danky dank.
We’ve also got a wet-hopped pilsner from Barebottle on deck, also featuring Strata hops. Possibly the same run of fresh hops Local brought back. Sharing is caring after all. Barebottle makes some of the best hoppy lagers around town so this is bound to be an absolute treat. Haus Fresca, rockin the fresh house.
There’s also cider...
We’ve also got some new cider bottles to join our awesome Far West Cider cans. I’ve been trying to find a way to add Two Broads ciders to our stable of delicious things and “because” became all the reason I needed. Two Broads Ciderworks is a very small batch cidery run by a lovely couple that is as daring as they are spunky. Their ciders are expressive of the varietals of apples they hunt down and expressive of the boisterous character of both Broads. We’ll be getting two of their delicious offerings to start, but with your help we can bring in more and more flavors. And the bottle artwork is amazing. A close second to the fantastic product within.
Make your way over to the patio to try a bottle of Push Mower, a session cider that packs a refreshing punch of flavor on a small ABV price tag. Can’t ask for much more than that.
But if you thrive on bolder flavors we also have their Kumquat May, a co-fermentation of cider apples and kumquats. The result is bold, tart, and zesty but still very drinkable and refreshing.
Check out their website and try not to fall in love. https://twobroadscider.com/