Is the Hop Harvest Better This Year Than Last? — Founders Harvest Ale 2011
There must have been an issue with the hop harvests last year, at least in the midwest. Nearly all of the fresh-hop beers that I saw reviews of last year seemed a little lackluster and bland. While I ended up giving the 2010 Founders Harvest Ale a B+ overall, I definitely didn’t think it was all it could be.
I don’t want to bother shooting another review for this one, but I wanted to give the 2011 a shake.
Even just starting the pour I can smell the nice fresh resiny hops. Beautiful floral notes, some nice pine background. Almost like a Christmas tree. I’m more attuned to hops than I was last year, but I suspect it’s definitely a more pungent hop aroma.
Ditto for the flavor. A bit more earthy, but with those definite pine and floral resins. Slight golden malt backbone provides just a tiny bit of sweetness, but this beer is definitely a showcase for hops. At 6.5% it’s not quite as big as a traditional IPA, nor is it quite as heavily bittered, but drinking this beer less than two weeks after bottling (bottling date: 09/22/2011) definitely fulfills my hop quota.
If the 2010 bottling was a B+, this is an A-, maybe even an A. Ridiculously drinkable as well. Drink it fresh or don’t drink it at all.
Beyond the Pour grade: A-