By Mark Tichenor, Rochester Beer Correspondent

SaranacWetHop It might not yet be a gold mine, but farmer Rick Pedersen of Seneca Castle, New York is definitely sitting on something.

Pedersen Farms is one of the few in Western New York to fully embrace the craft beer revolution by cultivating hops. In doing so, they spur the resurgence of this once-ubiquitous New York State crop. This makes it possible for breweries like Saranac to brag that their new Wet Hop IPA is made with all-New York hops, a claim that, until recently, would have been untenable.

Wet-hopping is basically adding fresh hop flowers, direct off the vine, to the brewing liquid in addition to the normal dried hops. The introduction of all that fresh, un-mellowed lupulin imparts a powerful, extremely grassy character, sort of like you just mowed your lawn if your lawn were composed of pure awesome.

Wet Hop IPA is brewed in Buffalo by Matt Brewing Company's autonomous subsidiary, Flying Bison, and that classic small brewery's pedigree shows in the beer's makeup. At its foundation, this is a solid, aggressive IPA, with a bitter attack many would find surprising from a Saranac branded beer. Upon introduction of schnozz to glass, the buckwheat honey-colored beer explodes with intense grass and floral aromas, the first sip reveals more.

What makes the Wet Hop really work is a robust body that counters the hop essence. A more timid, thinner beer would be smothered by all that grassiness, rendering the wet hopping nothing more than a marketing gimmick. SWH fully lives up to its promise because of its backbone. This is a beer to order with a smile, then order a second.

Producer: F.X. Matt Brewing, via Flying Bison
Style: American IPA
Stemware: 16 oz shaker pint
ABV: 6.2%
Price: $5.50



(4.5 out of 5 | Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended to Extraordinary, Can't Recommend it More)

(*Ratings Guide)