The use of fresh local hops by the burgeoning craft-beer industry is a fast growing trend.
Penticton brewery, The Tin Whistle Brewing Company is proud to have been one of the first British Columbia breweries to use ‘fresh’ or ‘wet’ hops in their seasonal ales. This year’s limited-edition Penticton Harvest Honey Ale is proof that the hops make all of the difference.
The ale uses cascade hops that had to be harvested in the middle of the night and rushed to the brewery. The beer boasts a refreshing citrus aroma and flavour. The wildflower honey (from Keremeos) adds to the overall flavour, providing the ale with a bright and crisp finish. According to Tin Whistle. any beer-lover that appreciates hops must wet their whistle with this ale — which has a motto of ‘Hoppy Bliss with a Crisp Finish.’
“Each year I try to do something different than other years. This year, I changed the honey in the Harvest Honey Ale to the same dark caramelized honey that is used to brew the Killer Bee Porter,” said Tin Whistle brewmaster, Jeff Todd. “The honey is very prominent in the beer’s flavour. It is what separates it from other fresh hop beers.”
He goes on to say that they try different hops each year, as well. The brewer used hops from Chilliwack in this year’s release. In previous years, the brewery has used hops from Grand Forks and Lilliooet to produce there popular seasonal hop ale.
“We are proud to be able to offer BC beer drinkers a beer made from local fresh hops,” said Lorraine Nagy, the owner of The Tin Whistle Brewing Company.
The ale has sold out at the brewery tasting room and can now only be purchased at B.C. Government and private liquor stores.
The use of fresh hops has exploded over the last few years, due to their availability. Hops are grown all over British Columbia, including the Okanagan (in Penticton and Kelowna). The cone-shaped flower has to be put in beer within a day of being picked off of the vine. This is important to the brewing process, as the hops have a different profile when they are fresh. The essential oils in dried hops lose approximately one-third of their potency in the drying process. Comparatively, the wet hops have an exaggerated earthy or grassy flavour.
Michael Nagy from Tin Whistle believes, “that it is the way that hops are meant to be experienced.”
If you want to know more, stop by their tasting room and brewery at the Cannery Trade Centre on 1475 Fairview Rd. The Chocolate Cherry Porter is about to be released just in time for Christmas.