Founders Brewing Co.
Grand Rapids, MI
Harvest Ale Wet-Hopped IPA
‘Tis the season for wet-hopped ales. Every year about this time, breweries tout their brews where hops go from vine to brew as quickly as they can – a break from using dried or pelletized hops – to preserve the freshness and flavors of the hop cone. It’s a style I love – I am a hophead, after all – and really can’t get enough of.
I’ve had many a Founders beer in my life, but until now, Harvest Ale has eluded me. Chalk it up to us not getting distribution in South Carolina until earlier this year, but I’ve always managed to miss out. (Until now, Harvest Ale was the only regularly released Founders beer I hadn’t had.) But all is well with the world, and I’ve gotten my first sip of the first wet-hopped ale of the season.
Harvest Ale pours a really clear blonde yellow color with just a slight chill haze. Absolutely no head to speak of, which was kind of surprising. Barely any lacing but the alcohol legs were really nice.
You can certainly tell it’s a wet-hopped ale from the nose alone. It’s a rich, wet pine with really sweet and sticky oranges. There’s certainly a big malt character to it. And there’s also a bit sweet hop note to it. It really reminds me of Hopslam, and I love Hopslam, so that’s a good thing.
The taste starts out with a big bitter pine hop bite on the front of the tongue followed with a thick, wet and juicy mouthfeel. There’s just a mild carbonation across the palate. Middle of the mouth are those big juicy orange and a sweet bready malt character. The bitterness pops up again on the back and lingers for a good long while. The finish is straight-up wet pine and juicy fruits. It’s a very thirst-quenching beer that certainly tastes incredibly fresh.