Inaugural Terrapin Hop Harvest Festival
The glorious day was finally upon us. We’ve heard about Terrapin‘s Hop Harvest Festival way back in March during their Beer School at Brasstown Valley Resort. During beer school the year’s list of Side Project beers listed Hopzilla followed by a fresh hopped ale dubbed, So Fresh and So Green, Green (SFSGG). Hop fans, hopfanatics, hopatics, hopwhores, bitternuts, were all excited. Two hoppy beers on Terrapin’s Side Project list wasn’t only a blessing, but an oddity. Known for producing great, yet some what, different brews. the Side Project brews only come around every few months. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.
Hop Harvest Fest was based around, well, hops. Spike had fresh hops flown in over night from Yakima Valley weeks earlier leading up to the event. A fresh hop ale was then produced. Fresh hop ales actually have their own category as some events. GABF being on of those. Since this was all about the hops, there was also six casks of Golden Ale available. All dry hopped with a different hop. Williamette, Saaz, Nugget, Chinook, Fuggle and Centennial all were used. Centennial, which I knew would be my favorite, was also my wife’s favorite. Whom once again is proving her craftbeer/homebrew skills. When we were here for the anniversary, we frowned and pouted about the delay to tap the casks. This time as we found our spot in the shade on the 93F late September day, we saw the smarts in the delay. Once the crowd gets large at the taps inside and on the outside wall, the casks will pull those lines in an opposite direction. Even with the hour delay (but extra hour planned), we saw five of the six casks float. Impressive. They were even slightly cold when tapped and already in place when we arrived at 4;30. All poured with a slight haze, but much better than most casks beers I’ve had.
So one thing that was discovered a day or two before the event was SFSGG was no longer on the Side Project list. Now an annual brew. If this year was any indication on what next year will be like, I think it’s a smart decision on there part. I’d say roughly 300 people showed up. Typically, late September brings cooler weather. Not so much on this day with low 90s at the start of tours. However the next day saw a high of around 70. They’ve always said, if you don’t like the weather in Georgia, stay another, it’s bound to change.
The SFSGG was a great beer. We went straight for it and was shocked at the initial bitterness. Maybe it was the so fresh and so clean, clean brushed teeth I showed up with. Either way, I think I had three sample pours. We caught wind that a couple of the kegs were floated on the outside wall and replaced. So we went inside and found some mo’ SFSGG. It poured a dark greenish pour with some initial bitterness, but not overwhelming. Image credits go out to Atlanta Beer Master. The hop aroma wasn’t where I would have expected for a fresh hopped ale. Yet, then again, this was my first. Spike obviously has a love for Amarillo, since that’s what in the award winning rye pale ale. I brewed a clone of the rye pale ale back on March 2 and recall it being dry hopped with Amarillo. 12 30 pound boxes were flown in. I have trouble doing the math, but typically you’ll add 4 or 5 ounces to a 5 gallon batch for an IPA. This is 360 pounds of hops for a much larger scale.
My only regret on the day was leaving early. Yet we had a semi large crowd and were all leaving to watch that horrible of a game between the home town Dawgs and MSU Dogs. Horrible game, horrible. By me leaving early I potentially missed out on the early sample of Moo Hoo. This is going to be the Winter seasonal from Terrapin. Some comments so far include a good presence of chocolate and smaller presence of coffee. Did they get close enough to the Depth Charge recipe to satisfy all of us that loved that brew? Which is a perfect 5.0 on Pintley.com and Pintley iPhone app.
The day after Hop Harvest was quite enjoyable (and quite a late start), as I brewed up a vanilla mocha stout. Let’s hope it’s a success as my first stout homebrew.