In a recent interview with Santa Rosa’s Russian River Brewing Company owner and head brewer Vinnie Cilurzo, Mutineer asked him a fairly simple question about his beer: If you could have a Russian River stemmed glass filled with any one specific batch of beer you’ve brewed, what would it be? His answer? Russian River HopTime Harvest Ale. Vinnie continued, “HopTime Harvest Ale is our 100% wet hop beer which we have not made for several years due to capacity issues.” Vinnie doesn’t stop there and breaks the good news for hop heads everywhere (well, in California anyways) saying “However, we are brewing it again this year for the first time in a while.” Vinnie warns us though that these beers don’t age well and must be consumed fresh.
What is a wet hop beer, or a fresh hop ale? Fresh Hop Ales are hopped exclusively with fresh and undried (“wet”) hops. This ale should have characters similar to the style to which it is brewed with the added nuances of green, almost chlorophyll-like character with fresh, new beers. These beers may be aged and enjoyed after the initial “fresh-hop” character diminishes. A unique character from “aged” fresh hop beers may emerge, but they have yet to be identified and discussed.
Look for it at the Russian River brew pub in Santa Rosa in the next several weeks. Be sure to check out the rest of the interview in Mutineer Magazine Issue #25 on newsstands nationwide September and October.