Mike Hess Forty Acre IPA (2016)

Mike Hess Brewing - Forty Acre Fresh Hop IPA

Brewed by: Mike Hess Brewing

Beer Classification and Specs

  • Style: IPA
  • Variation: American, Fresh Hop
  • Seasonal: Fall
  • ABV: 5.8%
  • IBU: 70

Brewer’s Notes and Ingredients

Back in 1893, the Hartley family purchased forty acres of land (the site of modern North Park) north of Balboa Park to plant a lemon grove. Our 40 Acre IPA is a nod to the Hartley’s foresight and we celebrate the hop harvest each year with this beer, featuring fresh, wet hops. Rejoice, hoplovers— these hops have not been dried nor pelletized, but come to our brewery straight from the bine and directly into our brew kettles. Cue the mouth-watering—this beer has acres of flavor.

Hops: Nugget (bittering), X-331 (fresh)

Malts: 2-Row, CaraMunich, Dextrine

More Forty Acre Fresh Hop IPA Images

First Impressions

Artwork: Mike Hess Brewing branded crowler. Or as they call them, a Purrowler.

Color: Clear, metallic dark golden to burnt orange.

Aroma: Herbal and grassy.

The Tasting

Arrived in: 32oz Can (Crowler)

Served in: Official Hess Can Glass

In the last few weeks, many breweries around San Diego have been brewing up their fresh hop / wet hop / harvest releases. Mike Hess Brewing’s foray into the harvest scene, Forty Acre IPA, kicked things up a notch by using an experimental hop variety code named X-331.

While getting our crowlers filled, we were able to speak with a member of the Hess Brewing team, Mike Beebe. He provided some additional insight into the overall process involved in pulling off this fresh hop beer, especially with hops sourced from Oregon. Here’s some of the takeaways from that conversation:

  • X-331 was bred by Indie Hops / Oregon State University Aroma Hops Breeding program
  • The hops were picked and FedEx’d from Oregon to San Diego overnight
  • 60 barrels of this ale were brewed, using 240 lbs of fresh X-331
  • A “bit” of Nugget was used to bitter, X-331 was introduced in the hop back and whirlpool

Forty Acre IPA poured a transparent, yet dark golden to burnt orange color. With the recent trend of “murk” going around, this was a West Coast / San Diego IPA we could actually see though. Cheers to that!

This ale’s smooth minimalistic head soon faded away, but managed to preserve some patches of creamy froth for most of the way. Forty Acre drank very calm, without too much carbonation, allowing for an uninterrupted introduction to this experimental hop strain.

It will be interesting to see where X-331 ends up, when and if it gets mass produced. It wasn’t overly pungent or sticky, but between aroma and flavors, it still offered a wide variety of profiles. On the nose, this beer was mostly floral, with dried leaves and grassiness, and some citrus subtlety underneath.

On the palate, this light and airy ale offered nothing but fruity goodness. With a quick hit of earthy hop bitterness up front, it mellowed out into tropical flavors with passion fruit and a hint of mango. Its lasting finish brought on more hop character, with a lingering citrus tang.

Beer doesn’t drink much fresher than a week old IPA brewed with 1 day old hops, so head over to a Mike Hess Brewing location ASAP to meet X-331 firsthand!

Final Score: 3.5/5


3.5 Stars

Forty Acre IPA was a smooth and easy drinking ale thanks to its dry and delicate body. Mike Hess Brewing coaxed all of the aromatic and flavor nuances out of the X-331 hop, and delivered one tasty fresh hop ale.

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