Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale
Brewed by: Great Divide Brewing Co
Beer Classification and Specs
- Style: Pale Ale
- Variation: Fresh / Wet Hop
- Seasonal: Fall
- ABV: 6.1%
- IBU: 55
Notes: Brewed every harvest season since 2003.
Brewer’s Notes and Ingredients
Fresh Hop is a labor of love meant to be enjoyed today. Brewed in the fall with wet, whole cone hops from the Pacific Northwest, Fresh Hop is the embodiment of seasonality. Don’t age it. Keep it cold. Drink it now. Savoring this delightful pale ale during harvest season ensures that its unparalleled grassy, citrus hop brilliance will remain uncompromised.
Hops: Freshly harvested Pacific Northwest hops
More Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale Images
Artwork: Large block “Fresh Hop” typeface, with a hop cone where the “O” would go.
Color: Semi-transparent copper hue.
Aroma: Herbal and grassy, with slight hint of lemon.
Arrived in: 12oz. Bottle
Served in: Stemless Wine Glass
Fresh hop, wet hop, or harvest ale season (whichever nomenclature you prefer, really) is upon us, and we couldn’t be happier about it!
Bottled on 9/30, Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale was the first fresh hop beer to land in our local bottle shop. It was about 1 month old in its travels from Denver to San Diego, and of course we wished we could have gotten our hands on it sooner to ensure maximum hop preservation, but beggars cannot be choosers. And this beer still tasted plenty fresh so let’s dig in, shall we?
Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale exhibited that ideal color you want to see from an APA — a beautiful semi-opaque, shimmery, copper hued body. This beer poured a modest head, but its rapid carbonation maintained a thin sheet of lace clustering froth on top of the liquid line.
Fresh Hop Pale Ale featured a medium body, with a ridiculously smooth mouthfeel. We might have seen sharp little bubbles flying around, but you would never know they were there while drinking. It was satiny and refreshing, especially when those fresh hop flavors splashed down, but more on that in a second…
Over 4,000 pounds of freshly harvested Pacific Northwest hops were used to brew this ale, but Great Divide did not disclose the specific varietals or malts. We are going to assume Fresh Hop was brewed as a SMaSH (single malt and single hop).
The reason being, the malt backbone on this ale was so slender, allowing Fresh Hop Pale Ale’s delicate hop character to shine through. Not only did the malt take a backseat here, it rode in the trunk, and treated the drinker to the freshest waves of humulus lupulus.
Its flavors were gentle citrus up front, similar to a mildly tart lemon. Herbal character appeared in the finish, like earthy leaves and grass. The best part about this ale was it left our lips smacking with its lasting residual floral freshness between each swig.
Since Great Divide sourced their hops from the Pacific Northwest, odds are one of the “C hops” (Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, Chinook) were used to brew this fresh hop ale. The hop profile wasn’t deep or strong enough citrus to match up to Cascade. So, they most likely used Centennial, aka “Super Cascade”, known for its herbal and floral qualities that were more prominent in this beer.
We love it when a beer lives up to its billing, and when Great Divide put “grassy” and “bright” on the label, they certainly meant it!
Final Score: 4/5
Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale put freshly harvested hops on center stage with this beer, and showcased its fragile, newly picked hop flavors. This was one tasty harvest ale, and we will be on the lookout for it every year now.