September 23rd. The first day of fall. The autumnal equinox. One of two days of cosmic balance each year on which we have twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of night. On which the planet has no tilt, and the sun glides along the equator.
It’s a wistful day for those summer spirits among us, but for others, it’s an exciting time – signaling the arrival of the fall harvest, the journey of the leaves into the upper regions of the spectrum, the arrival of brisk breezes, sweaters, pumpkins and…wet hops.
Yes, hops – that yin to malt’s yang which combine with a cosmic balance of their own to create the soul of any fine brew – are harvested each September. While most hops are dried for use throughout the year, craft brewers have begun to embrace the seasonal harvest by brewing ‘wet hopped’ beers, using those freshly harvested hops during the short time in which they’re available.
Not one to miss an opportunity to brew something seasonal and new, Red Hook-based Sixpoint Craft Ales recently made a trip out to the Yakima Valley of Washington State, the nation’s largest hop producing region, to score 800 pounds of freshly harvested Citra hops. Back at home, they brewed their wet hop haul with another classic fall ingredient – pumpkin, to bring us the Autumnation.
To celebrate the arrival of the new season, cans (or ‘nano-kegs,’ as the brewery likes to call them) of the wet-hopped pumpkin beer shipped today, and should be arriving on shelves throughout Brooklyn…right now.
Sixpoint produced a short film to celebrate the new concoction, featuring 3rd-generation hop farmer Patrick Smith:
I guess it’s official, folks. Fall is here. Enjoy it.