Hop to it

What are those fragrant flowers floating in your beer? Well, they’re not really floating there when you drink it, but the flavor of hops permeates many a brew. Usually dried hops provide citrus-like astringency. But early fall is hop harvesting time, and several companies release brews around now, made with the fresh or “wet” hops.

Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown Ale is in a 750-milliliter bottle and is made with hops and barley grown in Chico—one of the few estate beers available. They also have a Northern Hemisphere Harvest Wet Hop Ale, an IPA called “excellent” at beeradvocate.com. Redding’s California Brewing Company boasts Willamette and Cascade hops for its crisp, clean California Pale Ale.

Rubicon Brewing Company is celebrating its 24th birthday with Hoptoberfest. Guest beers are on tap, with a grand finale November 5 and 6, featuring 24 hoppy beers! Or, you can hop on down to Pizza Port in San Clemente for their Hoptoberfest on October 29. Grab a bus from Carlsbad or Solana Beach for a hoppin’ good time.