A$ap Hoppy seen through the crowds at Cloudburst
A$ap Hoppy seen through the crowds at Cloudburst Lester Black

Welcome to wet hop season, Seattle. Our annual tradition of drinking weird beers made with fresh hops has started with Cloudburst Brewing in downtown Seattle tapping their first keg of A$ap Hoppy, a beer that has become the our city’s de facto inaugural wet hop beer.

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The city’s taprooms and bars will soon be full of beers made with fresh hops but for now, I’m drinking this first taste of the hop season, and it’s fucking good. This year's A$ap has a nose full of pungent, overripe melon and notes of watermelon, cherry, and the freshness of a green hop bine. Wet hop beers are usually less bitter than your traditional pale or IPA and this is no exception to the rule, giving you fresh fruity hop flavors without the usual bitter bite.

Wet hop season is here and it’s going to taste good.

Cloudburst knows how to make a hoppy beer.
Cloudburst knows how to make a hoppy beer. Lester Black

What is all this fuss about brewing beer with fresh, wet hops? Read my story from two wet hop seasons ago, which happens to feature Cloudburst and their hop whisperer, Steve Luke.

This first wet hop beer, made with wet Centennial hops from CLS Farms in Moxee, Washington, is actually only half of a true wet hop beer. Luke and his team let this beer sit on fresh hops but they didn't actually get a chance to add fresh hops to the brewing kettle at the beginning of the process. We must wait another week or so before we can get beers made entirely with wet hops (the brewers themselves have to wait till the hop harvest to make these) but this first note of the wet hop season is starting strong.