This beer is the first of a pair of Wet Hop seasonals: Harpoon Glacier Harvest ’09 Wet Hop Ale ($6.49; 6.7% ABV, 38 ibu), session 20 in Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series of small batch beers (small as in 100 barrels, presumably). I picked this up at Slight Indulgence downtown; right next to it was Sierra Nevada’s own Harvest Wet Hop, which I’ll get to in a later post. I’ve never had a wet hop ale, and now I’ve got two in the cooler – here’s to new beer.
Wet hopping is apparently a relatively new trend in beer culture. This WSJ story puts it as “the latest expression of brewers’ obsession with hops.” The wet hop style is distinct to fall, when the hops are picked, thus the “harvest” moniker. It’s a variation of the going trend of MORE HOPS, instead focusing on fresh hops, using just-picked hop flowers for a different kind of flavor. According to the article, wet hop beers have less of the bitter, more of the floral and citrus. Sounds good to me.
Glacier Harvest has a warm texture, thick foamy head, and surprisingly low bite (at least if you’re not familiar with wet hop beers, like I wasn’t). It’s hoppy but not the kind that leaves your mouth burnt. The overall taste is pretty mellow, and the bottle vanished a lot more quickly than I expected (and that’s a 22-ouncer … no, I don’t need to join any organizations, it’s just that smooth). In fact, the mildness was perhaps the defining characteristic of this beer. Very tasty, but not aggressive in any of the ways you’d expect.
Instead of food, I paired this fine beer with episode 1 of the Prisoner on AMC. I didn’t even realize this was starting tonight (thanks for the heads up, Dad!). I’ve never seen the original Prisoner, but I’m familiar with some of the better-known bits and pieces. Several of these pop up here, but it’s not necessary to know ’em to get it.
Six (no, not her) finds himself in the mountains with a man, 93, he’s never met before and no memory of how he got there. After a blackout, he comes to in the Village, surrounded by similarly numerically named people who all seem to know him. He remembers nothing beyond fragmented flashbacks, but he knows he’s not from around here.
The two-episode premiere packs a lot in. Six (Jim Caviezel) finds himself up against the Village’s patron, 2 (Ian McKellen), a kindly old soul with a penchant for white suits and hand grenades. His brother’s here, but it’s not the brother he knows. A waitress, cabbie and doctor all may be allies or informants. There’s an anchor in the desert but nobody’s ever heard of the ocean. Answers might lurk in the gleaming towers that stand across the desert, but he’s blocked from getting to them by a giant white ball. And what’s with all the wraps?
The bigger questions are what’s interesting here. Would you be happy in a world with no problems? Nobody seems to pay for anything in the Village. The doors have no locks. Everyone knows everyone, and the world seems generally “contented,” as 2 puts it. So what’s 6’s problem?
6: “If I open my mind, you’ll take it away from me.
2: “We might. But we’ll give it back.”
Six is maybe a little overly dramatic – the drop-and-roll out of a moving cab in the first seven minutes seemed a little extreme – but some good backstory fill-in explains a bit of that, and Ian McKellen embodies genial malevolence. Like the idea of Jesus squaring off against Magneto? More is coming Monday night, and I think I’ll be watching – maybe with that Sierra Nevada. Hopefully the Palm Pre commercials are toned down by then (two per break???). I don’t think I can take much more of their translucent spokeswoman.