They say there's no better way to sample a beer than fresh from the brewery. Presumably that makes tasting it at the brewery, straight from the bright tank, through a traditional hand pump only installed on the bar 24 hours earlier is about as fresh as you can get. Either way, this year's Hop Harvest Ale is tasting pretty special. It's the annual release from Red Hill that makes use of the fresh hops grown on their farm - picked by friends and used in a brew the same day - and the 2011 could be their best vintage yet. They've increased the hopping for bitterness, but also seem to have captured more of the light floral hop characters you'd expect in a good British ESB. As someone who grew up on real ale, watching the beer settle after pouring - forming a dense, shaving foam like head - was like a trip back in time, while the beer - smooth, creamy, with rich malts surrounded by the floral aromas, hints of marmalade and a steadily building hop bitterness - is worth the trip to the Mornington Peninsula. Will be available more widely and in bottles too.