Wet Hop Rules


I realized the other day, with an urgency which will only make sense to those uncommonly devoted to beer’s highways and byways, that I hadn’t managed a lip-moisten this autumn with wet-hopped beer. I saw a number of beers, here and in New York recently, in this style but always chose something else for some reason.

This was remedied today when I spotted Toronto’s Amsterdam Brewing’s Autumn Hop Harvest Ale at LCBO. Glad I tried it as the hop character is very vibrant. The Cascade hop is used, the famous American variety first released in 1972 and which has since become a star of craft brewing worldwide. When grown in Ontario soil, somehow it acquires both American and English characteristics, which is all to the good. There is pine, orange, and flowers.  Whatever the specific compounds Canuck soils imparted to a West Coast classic, the resultant potion of Toronto-brewed ale is just about perfect.

The beer too surely gets us closer to the time hops were first used in brewing (at least systematically), circa 1000 A.D. Initially hops would have been pulled from the vine and tossed into the expressed mashy juice forthwith. The refinements of drying and baling would have come later, when brewing had become an occupation or trade versus an intermittent or haphazard bucolic pursuit.

We hail the fine taste of Amsterdam Beer’s Autumn Hop Harvest Ale, it has the ring of the pale ale that made Albion envy of the brewing world around the time Victoria gained her throne.