By Iron Chef Leftovers
This was a very disappointing season for fresh hopped beers. Even ones that I have had in the past and loved seemed to be lacking something this year. One of the few exceptions to this was Elysian’s entry into the style, their Prairie Rose Wet Hopped IPA. Elysian described the beer as follows:
Named for the scented flowers of the Yakima Valley and the Texas Panhandle – Amarillo – Prairie Rose is a fresh hop IPA bittered with eponymous hop shooting stars – Galaxy and Comet – to a magnitude of 60 IBU’s and finished with 40 pounds worth of we Amarillo hops from Virgil Gamache Farms. 6.5% ABV.
The beer pours vaguely orange in color with citrus and citrus peel dominating the nose with background green hops and grain. A burst of citrus on the palate initially but quickly moving to slightly floral hop bitterness with a touch of resin. The beer then finishes with a mild burnt citrus peel that lingers pleasantly with just a hint of bitterness. Big bold hop character dominates without overpowering your palate, leaving a rich and complex flavor profile when you debate if a second pint is a good idea.
Elysian’s Prairie Rose Wet Hopped IPA saunters in riding high with a handsome 4 gauchos out of 5.
One of the great things about where I live is that I have 5 (and soon to be 7) breweries within walking distance of my house. It makes for a regular rotation for me to stop in to each of these places and try the new and exciting stuff that they have on tap, and, in the case of Hale’s Ales, try the beers that they don’t bottle. A recent trip to Hale’s yielded such a treasure – the very last of their fresh hop beer. I unfortunately can’t find any stats on the beer (I did find a single reference to it being 5.5% ABV), so you are just stuck with my description.
The beer is very pale yellow in color with a snow white head. I took one look at it and thought to myself that this was going to be a major letdown. It wasn’t helped when I took a whiff of the beer – faint notes of grain with very mild hops, if you did not know what you ordered, you would possible be thinking pilsner. It is a good thing that I did not judge a book by its cover. The first sip delivered a very crisp and refreshing beer with lots of hops flavor up from with notes of orange and lemon lingering for a short time before giving way to citrus peel, grain and hop resin. A slight bitterness hides in the finish on this beer, but it is not particularly pronounced and it provides a nice counterbalance to the citrus notes. It is also just enough to remind you that this is a fresh hop beer but not off-putting to the point where a non-IPA drinker would hate it. There is great balance between the citrus and grain and it is a nice change of pace from the fresh hop IPA’s that tend to dominate the market in Seattle. When this beer makes a comeback, you should belly yourself up to the bar at Hale’s and knock back a few of them.
Hale’s Cascade Mist was an unexpected surprise when I went in the brewery and it made for a very happy Iron Chef when I left.
Hale’s Cascade Mist Wet Hop wafts in with a cloaking 4 cloudy days out of 5.