Each year, Microbrasserie Cardinal partners with local hop farms to create a unique fresh Wet-Hopped Pale Ale, which we call Hibou Houblonnée. This year, we teamed up with ‘Duke 25 Hop Farm’ to bring you this limited-edition autumn harvest ale.
Brewed with freshly harvested Chinook 23 and Riel 23 hops from Duke 25, this year’s version of Hibou Houblonnée offers notes of Grapefruit and pine along with hints of ginger and vanilla. Duke 25 grows the only Riel hops in the world, so don’t miss your chance to try out this special beer!
Each year’s brew will taste slightly different even if the exact same recipe and hop varieties are used, because each year’s crop will be influenced by weather, growing conditions, and other influences. After processing, these subtleties are lost, but brewing with fresh hops preserves the original flavour profile of that year’s harvest.
What makes a wet-hopped beer special is, of course the beer, but also the timing. This is a beer of the moment; a beer that reflects a time and place that can not be re-created; a beer that pulls the drinker into the present. Wet-hopped beers can only be made near the end of August or early September, when the hop are ready to harvest and they are brewed within 24 hours of pulling those pungent sticky green flowers off their bines. Whatever the character, or variety of hops are coming off that year, that is what makes the wet-hopped ale special.
For those who can seize the moment and grab a glass of this well timed brew, they will be rewarded with an aromatic taste sensation that is an unforgettable experience. It goes beyond saying, “this is one hoppy beer”! The bitterness can be balanced or light or heavy, but the front-end taste and aroma is stunning, specific to the harvest and impossible to reproduce. Depending on the hops used, your palate might experience woodsyness, florals, spiciness, pine, citrus or a combination of them all, but with a quality and a depth you have to catch before it disappears.
The specialness and magic of a wet hopped ale is as ephemeral as a burst of fireworks. The special oil compounds that show up in a fresh wet-hopped ale are volatile. After a few months in a keg or can, the flavour profile will change. It may still taste great, but you’ll never get the same burst of fresh flavour as you will soon after brewing.
The 2023 brew of Hibou Houblonnée is available now on tap and in cans at Microbrasserie Cardinal, and at select retailers: