For this installment of Tasting Notes, we freshen up our weekend with a few cans of Three Harvest Fresh Hop Double IPA, a special collaboration project from Wild Leap Brew Co. (LaGrange, Georgia) and Extreme Hops AL (Auburn, Alabama).
Named after “the number of harvests that the hydroponic hops will have each year,” Three Harvest is a Double India Pale Ale featuring “fresh Cascade hops directly off the hop bines” at Extreme Hops AL. Thanks to the use of “a hopping process new to Wild Leap,” Three Harvest (8.2% ABV) comes together to be an “easy-drinking and juicy Double IPA” that boasts “a citrus-forward aroma and classic Cascade grapefruit and pine flavors.”
Three Harvest Fresh Hop Double IPA officially debuted in early February and will be available only as long as supplies last. You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located within Wild Leap’s distribution footprint in Georgia.
Now that we are all up to date on how the beer was made, let’s get to know these fresh hydroponic hops over some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for Three Harvest Fresh Hop Double IPA from Wild Leap Brew Co.
Appearance: A somewhat overzealous pour (we really do get excited about fresh hop beers around here) from a 12 oz. can produces a DIPA that is light golden in color and capped with right at two fingers of creamy white foam. When held to direct light, the golden hues brighten, gain vibrancy and shimmer. The beer does have a gentle haze to it, but steady streams of carbonation can still be seen swirling up from the base to feed the top cap. Head retention is good, eventually falling to a frothy ring that drops chunky lines of lace on the glass whenever it is disturbed.
Aroma: Cascade hops are simply but beautifully showcased here in the nose. Bright notes of grapefruit juice and zest abound while a bit of orange juice turns up to offer a light layer of sweetness. A waft of pine then works its way in to supply some added sharpness and further amplify those grapefruit tones. The malts are light and do not offer much other than a grace of nondescript sweetness. The aroma is all hops . . . and all is right in the world.
Taste: Just like the nose, this beer’s flavor is focused on showing an endless amount of love to those fresh hops. Unmistakably Cascade, each sip is filled with an abundance of grapefruit zest and pine resin alongside that slightly grassy, green character you get from fresh hops. Any bitterness that surfaces is immediately tempered by a touch of sweet orange and a vanilla-laced floral presence. The malts are not adding much as far as flavor, but it is clear that they are silently hard at work balancing everything out.
Mouthfeel: Medium in body with a moderate carbonation level, Three Harvest has a soft, slightly creamy feel that reads more like a Hazy DIPA than a more traditional example. Balanced nicely with the hops offering minimal bitterness, the overall experience is juicy but not too sweet. The 8.2% ABV lends a bit of heat in the throat and chest, but it is subtle and not at all overwhelming. The aftertaste is all grapefruit juice and zest.
Final Thoughts: Three Harvest Fresh Hop Double IPA does an excellent job of capturing and prominently featuring the essence of those fresh Cascade hops from Extreme Hops AL. Wild Leap’s new-world approach to Double IPAs – falling somewhere in the sweet spot between West Coast and New England-style Hazy/Juicy examples – acts as the perfect vehicle to push and drive these hops to reach their full potential. The hops lead with that sharp West Coast presence of grapefruit zest and pine, but any real levels of bitterness are quickly washed away by their juicier qualities. Just when you think it cannot possibly get any better, that indescribable “green” note you get with fresh hops is the bow placed on top of the gift that is this wildly easy drinking Double IPA. If you are at all a fan of Cascade hops, you seriously need to track down some Three Harvest Fresh Hop Double IPA while you still have the chance. Prost!