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Where in Town: Atlas Brew Works, 2052 West Virginia Ave. NE #102
Price: $6/16 oz.
Get It While It’s Hop’t
Late summer is harvest time, and in the craft beer world, that means wet hop ales. These seasonal delights are brewed with perfectly ripe, freshly picked “wet” hop cones, which impart the truest possible aromas and flavors a hop can provide. As opposed to the usual dried hops, fresh hops begin to decay in a matter of hours. For years, breweries have been going to great lengths to gather them in time, even renting airplanes to haul back loads of the delicate flowers from the country’s most fertile hop-growing regions in Oregon, Idaho, or Washington’s Yakima Valley. These days, though, with the rising popularity of craft beer, and IPAs in particular, hop farms are popping up across the country, making wet-hopping a less cumbersome reality.
Take the latest release from D.C.’s Atlas Brew Works: a hoppy wheat ale brewed for its second anniversary called Wet Hop American Summer (a reference to the 2001 cult comedy Wet Hot American Summer). The 5.1-percent-alcohol beer features 40 pounds of Cascade hops added to the brew kettle within hours of being picked from the vines at Organarchy Farm in Oldtown, Md. For a wheat beer, Wet Hop American Summer is uncharacteristically clear, clean, and crisp. Its flavor is a lovely balance of grapefruit rind, candied orange, and honey wheat bread. Look for this refreshing brew on draft throughout D.C. and Northern Virginia, as well as at Atlas’ second anniversary celebration, a block party at the brewery on Oct. 3.