Occidental’s fresh hop lager is chosen because I feel as if I have done far more work on a Sunday than should be expected. I haven’t, but it feels that way.
For me, fresh hop beers are the same as regular beers except for one thing: a strong grassy note either in the nose or on the finish. Fresh cut green grass has a remarkably refreshing quality-a reminder of summers and jobs done, a chance to sit down under shade while someone else paints the fence, ’cause you’ve convinced them that fence painting is the funnest thing ever.
The nose on this ale is pretty standard, a little dank, a whiff of pine, but nothing too intense. The malts aren’t intruding, as appropriate and that leaves the finish, which isn’t bitter but that grassy quality is strong enough that a little more and I might even consider the flavor vegetal.
So, pretty well done. It errs on the side of sweetness, but not so far that I regret my choice. It’s a little strange, since it’s near fall and I feel like this is a great summer weather beer, but since we’re having a resurgent summer, it works.
The second glass I take my time to breathe in. There’s a spicy quality to the hop note I’d missed before and I’m wondering if they used dry hops too, to help punch up the nose.
If so, that was a good choice because that scent gives the beer more complexity than it would have without it.
If these are all fresh hops, then I’m genuinely surprised since I didn’t think that fresh hops would impart the same kind of intensity; my experience with fresh hop beers is that the hop quality is usually a little muted.
But without that complexity, this Pilsner would definitely suffer. As it it stands, I’m starting to get a little weary of the finish: it isn’t flawed, by any means. I just have to wonder if part of the reason I am not a fan of fresh hop ales is because that finish is pretty much the same for every beer, since the fresh hop quality is what they want to emphasize.
I suppose I’ll have to drink more to really suss that out. Someone’s gotta do it.
Today’s second pint goes to Stand For Families Free Of Violence.