There can be a tendency when playing with wet hops rushed from farm to fermenter (or whirlpool or wherever a brewer decides to add them to their brew) to end up extracting a subdued, more mellow, sometimes grassy character as they've not been dried and thus had their unique character distilled. That's very much not the case here with Bright's 2020 Hop Harvest Ale. Brewer Reid Stratton has taken the Ella variety – a relative of Galaxy – and squeezed a vibrant and intense fruitiness from the cones grown just a short drive along the road. There's juicy Navel oranges, ripe melon, zesty citrus, even hints of red berries and a balancing candy sweetness, with little of the hop's spicier side to be seen. Really quite lovely.
As for the other can leaving the brewery at the same time, well, let's just say it's not backwards in coming forwards. There's a dark to the point of burnt roasted coffee beans as the top note in this Affogato Stout, but that's pretty all that's sharp about it; the remainder is as rounded as a sumo wrestler in retirement. Aromas of a hazelnut and caramel syrup-laced coffee rise alongside something that brings back memories of the dark top of my mum's crème caramel. And while there's a dark roasted coffee bitterness lurking within the jet black liquid, there's just as much vanilla ice cream dropped in its midst too. An overload in a glass – and just 5.3 percent ABV too.
Published April 30, 2020 2020-04-30 00:00:00