PBC Harvest from the Hood
Tis the season for...winter warmers you say? Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Nestled between pumpkin/Oktoberfest season and the onset of holiday spiced ales is one of the most important and underrated seasons on the beer calendar - hop harvest season: the time of the year when that most distinct of zymurgical ingredients goes directly from the vine into your glass.
Philadelphia Brewing Company has stepped up its game considerably with Harvest From the Hood, which uses hops grown in the brewery's own garden and other urban farms in the heart of Philly. The result is a resiny, thick beer that smells and tastes like what you'd get if you pressed a handful of fresh hops through a juicer. Having ridden a bike through the Poperinge hop fields of Belgium, experiencing this beer is as close as you can get to the horticultural origins of brewing without getting dirt on your hands.
Stylistically speaking, HFtH falls somewhere in the pale ale family, but between the juiciness of the fresh hops and the abundance of malt necessary to balance it, you wouldn't call it pale by looking at it. Instead, you'll notice a dark caramel body with an angelic white froth of a head that sticks stubbornly to the sides of your glass. Hop lovers will be in heaven sipping this palette shredder.
HFtH is already sold out at the PBC brewery in Kensington but you'll still find bombers at your favorite bottle shops, and if you're lucky enough to find it on tap you're in for a serious treat.
This seasonal release is without doubt one of PBC's finest offerings to date, and also kicks off their Select seasonal series. The rest of the lineup includes Winter Wunder (a holiday spiced ale), Shackamaximum (an oak-aged Imperial stout), and Kilty Pleasure (a Scotch ale). If the remainder of the series matches the quality of HFtH, there's real reason to be excited about the beer that's coming from these guys. I'm especially looking forward to the Shackamaximum, scheduled to hit the shelves in mid-December, which sounds like just the type of brew that I'll need to score multiples of for cellaring purposes.
About Beer Geek Steve:
Steve spends as much time as his wife will let him tracking down rare beers and trying to analyze the intersection between quality beer, hype, and viral marketing. When he's not reviewing beer for Drink Philly, he writes about his adventures in chasing bottles and taps at his blog, Beer Geek Steve. You can also follow him on Twitter, where he tweets about happenings in the craft beer industry and often locates some of the best barrels in southeast PA.