Outside of the now ever-present pumpkin beers, there are a couple other trends that seem to predominate craft beer fall releases. An always popular fall style is the malty German marzen/Octoberfest style lagers. A newer trend is wet hopped beers, brewing with the freshest possible hops right after the fall harvest. I guess it should come as no surprise that at least one brewer is adding these two trends into the same beer. Peak Organic Brewing Company’s fall seasonal release is Hop Harvest, an Octoberfest style lager with generous additions of freshly harvested hops. Normally the marzen style is very malt-forward, but some American brewers have complemented the clean drinking malty lager with large doses of hops. While it isn’t the most traditional way to brew the style, it helps fit US craft beer drinkers love of big hop flavors in their beers. Hop Harvest is available on draft and in 12 oz. bottles during the fall season.
Peak Organic Hop Harvest pours a hazy copper orange with a solid off-white head. The smell is mostly hops, bright floral and grassy scents. The hops lead off the flavor too with notes of pine, grapefruit, orange and lemon. This fresh hop flavor is balanced by a solid malt body, touches of whole grain bread and caramel with just a hint of malty sweetness. I was actually pretty surprised that this was a lager, but I think it is the extensive hop additions and kick of bitterness that mask some of the easy drinkability that you expect from lagered beer. At 4.9% ABV it falls towards the light side, great if you want more than one or two. The finish is pretty clean along with a solid, but not tongue numbing, bitter kick. Overall this is a very worthwhile selection if you want a fall seasonal beer that leans towards hoppy. The malt backbone gives it enough body to stand up to hearty food and cold weather, but the fresh hops really shine through here. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
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