Fall is in the air and that means one thing: harvest season! Brewing with fresh hops is a meticulous process, having to rely on bountiful bines and timing of wet hops plucked, packaged, and shipped overnight via air freight to align with a brew day built around the arrival of those hops and those hops alone…and this year the brewers at The Virginia Beer Company are excited to release not one but TWO wet-hopped recipes.
“Timing has not always been on our side with regards to fresh hops,” laughs Virginia Beer Co. Director of Sale Michael Rhodes. “We plan to brew Wet Powder — a wet-hopped Double India Pale Ale — every year, but Hurricane Season 2018 delayed then ruined our delivery of fresh Citra hops for Wet Powder. We ended up creating Overnight Sensation Strong Ale out of the original Wet Powder brew day. Quite a different result! And we did end up brewing a different one-off wet-hopped beer a little later that year, but the weather disruption really highlighted the uncertainty of planning a wet-hopped brew day from Williamsburg.”
This year, the Virginia Beer Co. Production Team decided to plan for two drastically different styles of wet-hopped recipes.
— Wet Powder: 8.0% Double IPA brewed with 100% wet Citra hops from YCH; bursting with juicy Citra flavor and prominent hop aromas.
— Harvest Pils: 5.3% Kellerbier brewed with 100% wet Cashmere hops from Hop Head Farms; smooth, unfiltered, and swirling with an ambrosia of refreshing hop flavors.
“With everything going on this year, we figured why not shoot for the moon and try to plan two different wet-hopped recipes,” notes Michael R. “We had to push back the brew day for Wet Powder a couple times to stay in line with ever-changing shipping projections for the Citra, and one of our Co-Founders had to drive to Richmond to pick up a delayed pallet of Cashmere hops to get them here in time for the Harvest Pils brew day…but at least we didn’t have to face down a hurricane too!”
Wet Powder is Virginia Beer Co.’s wet-hopped version of Fresh Powder 100% Citra Double IPA, brewed once per year during harvest season with fresh Citra hops flown in from across the country by hops providers YCH. These “wet” hops are then used the moment they arrive to create an incredibly fresh-tasting Double India Pale Ale bursting with juicy Citra flavor and prominent hop aromas.
“Needless to say that Wet Powder DIPA is ‘all year’ in the making, relying on a good yield and hinging on one overnight delivery of freshly harvested whole cone hops to make it happen,” remarks Co-Founder Robby Willey.
Harvest Pils — an ambrosial, zesty, unfiltered wet-hopped Lager — is Virginia Beer Co.’s brand new, limited wet-hopped recipe for 2020.
“[Harvest Pils] Cashmere Wet-Hopped Kellerbier. Four and a half years and some 250+ unique beers and this is hands down my favorite beer we’ve produced,” reflects VBC Brewmaster Jonathan Newman.
This super smooth, small batch Kellerbier — brewed with fresh Cashmere hops flown in from Hop Head Farms less than 24 hours after harvest — was brewed to showcase how fresh hops can be applied in two very different styles to highlight the flavors and aromas of freshly harvested hops.
Both wet-hopped releases can now be at The Virginia Beer Company this fall. Wet Powder draft and 4-packs can also be found on tap and in coolers at purveyors of fine craft beer throughout the brewery’s distribution networks in Southeastern, Central, and Northern Virginia. Harvest Pils is a small batch, taproom-only release.
For more information on how to find Virginia Beer Co. beers, visit: https://www.virginiabeerco.com/in-the-wild