So if you read all of our Portland correspondent's series on fresh-hop beers, your curiosity is probably piqued and your mouth is watering to try one of these brews (unless you live in the Pacific Northwest). Well, good news, Austinites! I just bought a fresh-hop beer right here in the capital of Tejas. While hitting Spec's for some Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, I spotted Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale, which they claim is the original fresh-hop beer. They sell it in 22 oz. bottles, I got one, and I'm dying to try it. Unfortunately, I might not get to it tonight – my @#%! allergies have flared up, and I have a sore throat and dulled taste buds. I wouldn't want to waste a possibly great beer in such a situation, so I may have to torture myself and wait a few days. Hopefully the Claritin will kick in soon and have me feeling better before bedtime, though.
UPDATE: Okay, it's a day later, and I'm giving it a try. The initial flavor is good but not outstanding, but then the aftertaste is really interesting. I think it's that "grassy" note that Portland Bill mentions. I probably just need the beer to warm up a bit so the flavors come out. It's a very clean taste. I think I expected a stronger hop taste, like an IPA. But the idea is fresh hops, not strong hops, right? Mmm. Yes, the aftertaste is definitely the best part. I like the way the flavor lingers in my mouth long after I've swallowed. And it kind of gets up in my nose, too, the way a good scotch does. I can tell I'll still be savoring the flavor long after the bottle is drained.