Hello and welcome to my new weekly beer column on this here fancy Internet site!
My name is Rob and in addition to being fairly obsessed with brewing and drinking beer, I’m a lifelong Vancouverite and I love this goddamned city and everyone in it (for the most part). I’m the editor of The Growler, B.C.’s ultimate craft beer guide, which you can find at any reputable craft brewery, newsstand or online at TheGrowler.ca.
Each week, I’m going to profile a beer with you that I’m currently in love with, and hopefully you will be too! We’re so friggin lucky to live in a city with so much good beer, and I’m so friggin lucky to have the opportunity to share them all with you.
To kick things off, since the hop harvest is in full swing, I’m drinking a fresh hop beer.
Category 12 Fresh-Hopped Saison (5.1% ABV, 20 IBU)
So up until a month ago, I had never even heard of Cashmere hops. Now, it’s everywhere! In addition to featuring heavily in C12’s limited release Fresh-Hopped Saison, it’s made its way into Main Street Brewing’s Cashmere Fresh Hopped Farmhouse Ale, Parallel 49’s new Trash Panda Hazy IPA, as well as the B.C. Beer Awards official collab brew from Doan’s, Field House and Boombox, a Cashmere fresh-hopped sour IPA.
Which is great, because this stuff is delicious. It’s citrusy and herbal, not unlike lemongrass, and its flavours and aromas really help Category 12’s Fresh-Hopped Saison shine.
Now, the logistics of creating a fresh-hopped beer are pretty ludicrous. The hops need to be harvested, packaged, transported and added to the brew all within 24 hours. In the case of Category 12, that involves a ferry ride to get the hops (all 91 kg of them!) from Chilliwack Hop Farms over to the brewery in Saanich on Vancouver Island.
But the end result is certainly worth the effort. The fresh Cashmere hops give this saison a floral, citrusy character that really complements the peppery saison yeast. This beer isn’t a hop bomb like many other fresh-hopped beers (take Driftwood’s Sartori Harvest IPA, for example), so if that’s what you’re expecting, you’re going to be disappointed. There’s considerable restraint being exercised here to create this zesty saison, but the result is a crisp, refreshing and very well-balanced beer. All of these are good things.
Pair with pad thai, soft cheese, overalls and spontaneous road trips.
Aroma: Clove, spice, orange citrus, lightly floral
Flavour: Lemongrass, tangerine, black pepper, clove
Body: Soft and light-bodied, high carbonation, with a dense pillowy head, dry finish
Colour: Light, hazy gold
The Fall 2017 issue of the Growler is out now! You can find B.C.’s favourite craft beer guide at your favourite brewery, select private liquor stores, on newsstands across the province and online at TheGrowler.ca.