Drink this: Fresh by Strathcona Beer Co.

Fresh by Strathcona Beer Co.
Fresh by Strathcona Beer Co. Rob Mangelsdorf photo

Fresh hop beer season has almost come and gone for another year, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to highlight another one of these delicious, fleeting beers.

Most fresh hop beers on the market tend to be hop-forward IPAs or pale ales—these styles do the best job of highlighting the luscious, floral, grassy flavours of fresh hops. But that doesn’t mean other styles can’t benefit from a heavy dose of fresh hops.

Strathcona Beer Co.’s Fresh is a dry-hopped sour ale that features fresh B.C.-grown Cashmere hops, in addition to some Citra and Waimea, a somewhat obscure bittering hop from New Zealand. You’d likely never know that this is a fresh hop beer if the can didn’t announce it, though. But that’s OK, because it’s delicious. You can get away with a lot if your beer is delicious.

Like most dry-hopped sours, any harshness from the beer’s lactic acidity is balanced by the generous dry-hopping, creating a tart, soft, fruity beer. The addition of fresh hops has an interesting effect on this beer though, imparting some grassy, herbal notes, as well as a big tropical aroma.

According to the can, Strathcona reckons there’s a slight hint of white wine, and they’re right, if only because this beer hits all the same notes as a New Zealand Sauv Blanc: passion fruit, grass and grapefruit all tied together with considerable acidity. This effect becomes more pronounced if you swirl the beer until it’s flat. It’s uncanny, actually.

I love this beer because there’s more going on here than just the fresh hops. While it doesn’t necessarily highlight the fresh hops like an IPA or a pale ale would, this beer would be impossible without them.


Fresh by Strathcona Beer Co.

Fresh hop sour ale • 6.0% ABV • 473 mL tall can

Appearance: Hazy deep gold colour with a fine, lingering off-white head.

Aroma: Tropical fruit, citrus, stone fruit, lactic acidity.

Flavour: Passion fruit, stone fruit, citrus, tropical fruit, pineapple, grass, slightly herbal, vegetal, somewhat vinous, well-balanced acidity, low hop bitterness, mild crackery malt character.

Body/Finish: Light bodied and effervescent, with a tart, dry finish.

Pairs with: Grilled asparagus, fush n chups, wool sweaters and Taika Waititi movies.

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