Harvest season is the most wonderful time of year for beer lovers.
Sure, with some 90 breweries sprinkled across the state, a Mainer will never want for fresh local beer. But we can’t always get beer made with fresh local hops. Hop harvesting usually takes place in early September, and within a few weeks, breweries around the state have tapped their wet-hop ales — beers using fresh hops as opposed to dried hops or processed pellets. Fresh hops are the purest expression of the ingredient — it’s like cooking with garden-fresh basil versus basil flakes. The catch, though, is that fresh hops go bad quickly and have to get from picker to brewer within 48 hours. Fortunately for us, a recent surge in Maine hop farming makes this possible. We traced hops from three different Maine growers traveling to three different Maine breweries — and hopefully right into your glass. — W.G