At Bissell Brothers, we always strive to utilize as much of what Maine has to offer as is humanly possible, from the ingredients in our beers to the artists who create our can designs. There’s a lot of good stuff! What can we say: we love it here and we want everyone to experience the goodness. This sentiment is canned up for your drinking pleasure in the form of our Wet Hop Lager: a once-per-year brew that showcases the very best of fresh Maine-grown hops.
So, what is a Wet Hop Lager? If you’re a fan of our beer (and if you’re not, welcome to our newsletter!), you’ve probably heard of dry hopping, or, the addition of hops into the kettle during fermentation. We use this process in order to extract more of the nuanced characteristics of the hops; those citrusy, floral, piney notes in our beers are all brought out by dry hopping.
Wet-hopped is a different situation entirely. Where “dry-hopped” is a term used to describe a method of hop delivery, “wet-hopped” is a term that describes the state of the hops themselves. They are “wet” because they are, literally, fresh off the vine, where the vast majority of hops used in beers are dried and then pelletized.
Due to the fragile and time-sensitive nature of fresh ingredients, using wet hops in a beer requires a certain level of flexibility in regard to your timing. One must be ready to brew at a moment’s notice. Once the hops reach peak ripeness, there is a four day window to harvest them, and once they are harvested there’s a 48 hour window to get them into a beer.
The Hop Yard in Gorham provided the fresh Sterling and Cascade hops we used in this lager and we were lucky enough to visit the hop hard right around the harvest, so we were able to see the vines in all of their green glory. When we got the call that the hops were ready, we grabbed our batch and got right to brewing in Portland, and a couple days later snagged some more and took them up to Milo for some more wet hopped experimentation. Bissell Brothers Three Rivers’ twist on the wet hops led to a Wet Hopped Saison which will be pouring soon!
Our Wet Hopped Lager, released in cans today, is a light, fresh, and grassy addition to our steadily growing lager program. We’ve found that the delicate flavor characteristics of Sterling and Cascade mesh very well with the inherent subtlety of traditional lagers. Swing by today to grab a four-pack or two! As far as we’re concerned, you can never have too many refreshing, easy drinking lagers on hand.