Local tap: Terrapin Hop Harvest
In most places there are four seasons. In Georgia there are only two, summer and ‘not summer’. Summer takes up most or all of May and slowly tapers off in September. Not summer consists of three segments, ‘end of summer’, winter and ‘beginning of summer’. With summer sneaking on in late April, and fully aboard all of May, the end of summer has to be my favorite. So many things come with the end of summer, lower humidity, UGA football (so what if it was two Saturdays late this year), start of homebrew season, and end of summer beer festivals.
Part of these end of summer festivals include hop harvests. The time of year when new hop shipments are arriving every where. Most of US hops are grown in the Pacific Northwest, yet some varieties are starting to blossom in North Carolina as tobacco crops are done away with (thankfully). Not all, but some breweries take advantage of the new hops and brew with them as wet hops. Wet hops are fresh hops that haven’t been dried yet. You may see beers called wet hopped or fresh hopped, these are all the same, new undried hops. For the second year in a row Terrapin will hold it’s own hop harvest centered around the release of So Fresh and So Green Green, it’s now seasonal wet hopped ale.
If you missed last years read all about it here, Inaugural Hop Harvest. Last year head brewer Spike used his go to hop Amarillo. This year changing it up for some Challenger action. The hops were once again flown in from Yakima Valley and brewed with upon arrival. Challenger hops profile is noted as being strong, fine spicy aroma widely used for English bitters. A clean bittering hop. Challenger hops originated in the UK, but obviously coming from Washington state, this is the US version, so the profile may differ slightly. Alpha acid ranges between 6-8%, so not too pungent, and can be used for bittering and aroma, obviously. I have to say that I’ve never brewed with Challenger hops, so I can’t pick them out as easily as the ones I use often like Cascade, Citra or Centennial. The only down side to this years SF&SGG is that it wasn’t as good as last years in my opinion.
But as far as the rest of the Hop Harvest goes, it shined above and beyond over last years. Last year I recall standing in line for quite some time just to get a Cascade hopped Golden Ale. The tents were all spaced out this year, and thoughtfully on the shady side of the green space as opposed to the sun ridden side. It crowded up a little seeing as how most people favor the shade anyways. The other beers on tap beside the hop casks and SF&SGG were much better as well. Here’s my Untappd list from the event.
- Hoptaneous Combustion
- 2010 Big Hoppy Monster
- 2011 SF&SGG
- Magnum dry hopped Golden Ale
- Cap’t Krunkles black IPA
- Peaotch x2
There were a few others that shined also, like Monk’s Revenge that I hate I didn’t get a chance to try. I actually looked for this the other day in the store and haven’t found it lately. I forget how good it is. There’s obviously some changes happening over at the brewery, like a huge new stage. I was glad to not see a SABMiller sign on it. I didn’t make it inside, but there’s a huge new mural going on the wall. It was nice to see a couple of food vendors there as well. Your Pie and The Local Jam were set up, selling their fares independently from the brewery. Just as it is most of the time, the breweries outside green space was full of parking, as well as the parking lot across the street. There was even a couple of buses parked, which appeared to be in waiting to bus patrons back downtown safely. Two policeman were manning traffic duty in, out and around the brewery. Not everything went as planned as this guy wasn’t anticipating absorbing beer through his clothes as opposed to the oral region. I didn’t see it, but word is it was a failed attempt to fully hammer in a cask bong.
I must say I had no intention on going after Terrapin announced early voucher sales to avoid the long lines like they’ve been experiencing. Thankfully I got a text from Byce early in the day inviting me to go on his guest passes, compliments of Aaron from Trappeze.
So, just waiting for some kegs to show up at The Beer Growler of SF&SGG to try a 32oz growler and really judge it. Letting my liver rest before the newest beer fest to Athens. Trappeze Pub and Hotel Indigo are partnering to put on the first ever Athens Craftbeer Festival at Hotel Indigo on October 8 and 9. Find out more at the website, Athens Craftbeer Festival and to see who all will be apart of the VIP Q & A panel Saturday night. So just another reason why the end of summer is still the best season of the year.
Pints Up Athens.