Wet hop beers are worth the trouble.
You have an incredibly limited window in which to brew them. The farther away you are from the hop fields, the more hoops you jump through to make it happen. Your brew team and equipment get pushed to their limits.
The result, through planning, skill, and a big truck, is Surly WET.
The 2017 version uses 6000 pounds of dank, tropical Mosaic hops in the final product, or roughly 10 pounds per barrel.
“We really like how Mosaic works in Todd the Axe Man,” says Head Brewer Ben Smith of the hop choice. “It’s a great, distinct hop, and you get all these tropical fruit notes like papaya and mango. Kind of like Citra, but it stands well on its own. We’ve done WET with Simcoe and Citra hops before, and we’ve never done a beer with just Mosaic.”
All of them came from Perrault Farms in Washington state’s Yakima Valley, a family farm dating back to 1902. The brew team had to keep its schedule open as it waited for word that the hops were ready to be harvested and hauled away. They knew it would be ready sometime in September, but you really can’t give a plant a specific date and time to be ready. Plants don’t have ears or understand human speech. People would look at you funny. The brewers postponed vacations and appointments, and simply waited.
On Monday, Sept. 11, the call came in. The harvest was underway.
“We had a refrigerated truck in Yakima waiting for them when they were done. Two drivers got it here in 36 hours, taking shifts,” says Smith.
(Freshly picked hops are usually moved into a drying barn for preservation; this step is skipped if you’re going to brew with them immediately, but you need to move fast. Montana and North Dakota interstate speed limits: Thank you.)
The whole cone hops arrived at our Brooklyn Center facility on Thursday, Sept. 14. Eyewitness accounts say this is the best the BC brewery has ever smelled. The brew team got to work immediately. Smith estimates the all-hands-on-deck production went through all 6000 pounds by late Saturday night or early Sunday (Sept. 18). Kegging and canning followed, and it’s hitting market the first week of October.
Now that you know how it got from Yakima to Minnesota to you in ~4 weeks, here’s the rest of the story:
If you simply can’t wait for WET to get to you, it is pouring in our Beer Hall as you read this.