By Iron Chef Leftovers
When it comes to fresh hop beers, most of the local Washington breweries tend to go with an IPA or a Pale Ale style to showcase the hops. On occasion, you get a brewery that tries to do something different. Seattle based Big Al’s Brewing did that with the release of their Fresh Hopped Harvest Ale. I couldn’t find a description of the beer online so all I can tell you is that I had it in a 22 oz. bottle which was purchased at a local bottle shop for about $5.
The beer is a reddish-amber color. The nose is dominated by lots of malt and grain, with hints of citrus and hops in the background. The initial taste brings roasted malt on the front of the palate, so roasted that it is almost chocolate like, followed by a slightly grassy hop flavor. As the beer warms, it becomes slightly more bitter, the malt becomes more restrained, and the green hops become more citrus like, but are still a secondary player to the malt in this beer.
Personally I felt like this beer lacked balance between the malt and hops. The hops flavor, which is what I am really looking for in a fresh hop beer, seemed to be lost at times and just overpowered with what is a really malty beer. I appreciated the effort that Big Al’s put into this beer to make something different, but I think it needs some additional work. I would probably buy this beer again next year to see if it has gotten any better, but I don’t think I would run out and buy more than one either.
A disappointed Big Al’s reaps 2 combines out of 5 for their Harvest Ale.