Craft Beer is Awesome! Category 12 Fresh-Hopped Saison

Category 12's Fresh-Hopped Saison. Rob Mangelsdorf photo

Category 12’s Fresh-Hopped Saison. Rob Mangelsdorf photo

Here’s something cool! The Growler will be doing a weekly craft beer column over at Vancouver Is Awesome!

Each week, I’m going to profile a beer that I’m currently in love with, and hopefully you will be too! To kick things off, since the hop harvest is in full swing, I’m drinking a fresh hop beer.

 

Category 12 Fresh-Hopped Saison (5.1% ABV, 20 IBU)

So up until a month ago, I had never even heard of Cashmere hops. Now, it’s everywhere! In addition to featuring heavily in C12’s limited release Fresh-Hopped Saison, it’s made its way into Main Street Brewing’s Cashmere Fresh Hopped Farmhouse Ale, Parallel 49’s new Trash Panda Hazy IPA, as well as the B.C. Beer Awards official collab brew from Doan’s, Field House and Boombox, a Cashmere fresh-hopped sour IPA.
Which is great, because this stuff is delicious. It’s citrusy and herbal, not unlike lemongrass, and its flavours and aromas really help Category 12’s Fresh-Hopped Saison shine.

Now, the logistics of creating a fresh-hopped beer are pretty ludicrous. The hops need to be harvested, packaged, transported and added to the brew all within 24 hours. In the case of Category 12, that involves a ferry ride to get the hops (all 91 kg of them!) from Chilliwack Hop Farms over to the brewery in Saanich on Vancouver Island.
But the end result is certainly worth the effort. The fresh Cashmere hops give this saison a floral, citrusy character that really complements the peppery saison yeast. This beer isn’t a hop bomb like many other fresh-hopped beers (take Driftwood’s Sartori Harvest IPA, for example), so if that’s what you’re expecting, you’re going to be disappointed. There’s considerable restraint being exercised here to create this zesty saison, but the result is a crisp, refreshing and very well-balanced beer. All of these are good things.

Pair with pad thai, soft cheese, overalls and spontaneous road trips.

 

Tasting notes

Aroma: Clove, spice, orange citrus, lightly floral
Flavour: Lemongrass, tangerine, black pepper, clove
Body: Soft and light-bodied, high carbonation, with a dense pillowy head, dry finish
Colour: Light, hazy gold

 

The Fall 2017 issue of the Growler is out now! You can find B.C.’s favourite craft beer guide at your favourite brewery, select private liquor stores and on newsstands across the province.