Fresh hops and weissbiers: Goodness from both sides of the pond

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I never really liked October. Yeah, the leaves turn colors other than green. Halloween’s fun, I guess. But it’s the beginning of fall, and who really enjoys watching the days get shorter, colder and sadder? 

But if there’s any silver lining to watching Mother Nature slowly lose her temper, it’s the beers that come out while it’s happening: Succulent fresh hop ales, Oktoberfests, fall and pumpkin brews. It’s all delicious.

It’s a little late in the Oktoberfest season – usually it starts in September to celebrate the start of fall – but I decided to celebrate regardless by making a Monday night trip to Denver’s Prost Brewing, which focuses on German-themed beers.  True to theme, the inside is bedecked with German flags and paraphernalia. Dozens of wooden picnic-style tables coax you into drinking with brand new friends. A jolly bearded man passed out samples of boar brats from the sausage truck outside.

For some reason, I passed on their Oktoberfest (go figure), but I tried a quartet of deliciously German brews – some that highlighted wholesome, mouth-engulfing malt flavors and others that showcased signature sharp, bitter pils hops.

But the one that I (and Danielle) liked best, as the title suggests, was their weissbier:

What stood out for me most was its freshness, wholesomeness and subdued sweetness. It pours a cidery, hazy gold with a big, fluffy head with good stay and smells like candy bananas and fresh orange juice. The smell is sweeter than the taste, although I got a fair amount of citrus sweetness balanced by a funky, malty mouthfeel. Good on its own, but I would’ve loved it with some food or sunshine.

 

The rest of the week I focused on one of my favorite styles: Fresh-hopped (or wet-hopped) ales. Hops go bad within a few days of being picked, so brewers generally dry them out to prevent them from spoiling and ruining their beers. But some brewers go through the intense – and expensive – process of express shipping their hops so they can add them to their batches unprocessed and “wet,” since they haven’t had time to spoil. 

Why go through the trouble? Because it’s TOTALLY WORTH IT. It makes every aspect of the beer seem fresher. Even the fact that they’re so hard to find makes drinking one all the more “refreshing.”

My favorite? Surprisingly, New Belgium’s “salmon-friendlyHop Kitchen – Fresh Hop IPA.  One of the best IPAs I’ve had from them. And check out that link about the salmon-friendliness, because that’s pretty cool, too:

First of all, the beer has what looks like actual soap suds on top, which stick around forever on top of a clear, champagne gold beer. It smells like fresh grapefruit and a little hemp, picked straight from the field. And it has lots of fresh grapefruit and hoppy taste that sticks in the throat, sans much of the bitterness. But what stands out most is the juiciness of it; the freshness clearly isn’t in name only. It’s a clean looking, fresh smelling beer with a bold – though simple – taste. Muy bien.

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