When a brewer makes it clear he's adding a truckload of wet hops to his hop harvest beer - and not allowing anything but wet hops anywhere near the brew - you've got to assume he's aiming for a beer that encapsulates as best as possible the experience of grabbing a handful of hop cones straight from the vine. And from the moment you pop Bridge Road's third annual Harvest into a glass, that's what you get. Just like drinking a fresh Stone & Wood Pacific Ale is like sticking your face into a bag of Galaxy hops, here the experience is akin to rubbing a fresh flower between your fingers and holding them to your nose. The hop variety in question doesn't yet have a name (it's an experimental one from Rostrevor just down the road from the Bridge Road brewery), but it certainly appears to have the potential to be developed commercially. At first, it's all about the lemon aromas, with a hint of candy sweetness on the nose, and develops into something akin to an English summer ale with a tropical twist. It's paler than pale, with the malts offering up a touch of honey but really only there to allow the hop characters to shine in the mouth too: resinous grapefruity zest with a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel created by its gentle carbonation. The resultant bitterness is far from intense, but does linger, as if you've taken those sticky fingers from rubbing the hop cone and licked them clean.
Published April 16, 2011 2011-04-16 00:00:00