Taming a mysterious beast
A Review of Hop Harvest by BridgePort Brewing Co.
Posted on 10/9/2013 by Chops
The Imperial Pilsner is a mysterious beast in the craft beer world. It's a relative newcomer as a beer style and can impart some seriously disorienting flavors. After all, the entire appeal of the pilsner style is that of a light, crisp, and refreshing beer. Amplifying these traits seems to go against all brewing logic, but as we all know, all is fair in the modern craft beer world. Hell, at one point the concept of an Imperial IPA seemed downright silly. Now they're one of the most popular craft beer styles. But concerning Imperial Pilsners, few breweries craft them well and even fewer breweries have the stones to inject their own spin. BridgePort decided to tame this beast by introducing Hop Harvest, a double fresh-hopped version using local Pacific Northwest hops.

In the glass, this beer has a bright golden coloration that is a few shades deeper than straw. It comes with a big rocky white head that has really nice retention. On the nose, I was greeted with an array of clean, fresh aromatic characters. I found notes of grass, lemony citrus, light spices, peppers, tingly hops, and what I can only describe as a breezy weedy note, similar to that of a freshly cut lawn. Wow, talk about a complex aroma for a pilsner and a very engaging experience. This beer instantly transports you into a crop field ready for harvest.

That first sip was equally delightful. The hop profile does come out swinging IPA-style, but they are mercifully restrained and act more as warming notes. Just think of them as bold herbal flavors instead of that familiar needling bitterness. A zesty grassy note tends to be the dominant flavor, which is complimented by light grains, lemony citrus, and a touch of black pepper. The alcohol nip is noticeable, but acts more as a ghost note, so drinker beware, that 8% ABV can sneak up on you in a hurry. The beer has a light-to-medium body and drinks deceptively smooth. The finish is clean, somewhat dry, and exits with a zesty herbal aftertaste.

Overall, BridgePort's Hop Harvest Imperial Pilsner is a delicious interpretation of an ambiguous style. Getting these beers right can be a difficult task, and half of the problem is defining what's ''right'' to begin with. BridgePort tackled that conundrum head on and came out the other side with a delectable creation. This is one of the few Imperial Pilsners that I can recommend to most beer fans. Seasoned drinkers will love the fresh-hopped flavor slap and novices can appreciate some accessible strength. I was quite impressed by this rendition and I tip my drinking hat to BridgePort. They have succeeded (and shined) where so many others have failed, and with that I toast their harvest. Cheers!

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Hop Harvest by BridgePort Brewing Co.
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