HEAVY HANDED IPA is Two Brothers take on harvest or ‘wet hop’ ales—beers with hops so fresh they’ve never been dried or chilled for storage. Typically added to the brew kettle within 24 hours of being picked, they impart an immediacy of flavors akin to just-picked fruit or herbs straight from the back garden. However, since wet-hopped beers strive to be the pinnacle of freshness, their recipes change of necessity with available crops and the seasons. Thus it is difficult to advertise, say, a Citra or Centennial wet-hop ale with any assurance of regularity. Two Brothers Brewing solves the problem by collecting them all under the same umbrella, Heavy Handed, and discreetly labeling each run with its particular cultivar. Some parameters remain the same—ostensibly a similar grain bill and target IBU of 65—but with such variations in hopping it’s impossible to assign a single rating to the entire line of production. The concept remains sound: low variable cost per batch, high fixed flavors per bottle.
Compared to its Willamette cousin, Two Brothers’ Centennial #2 Heavy Handed shows much more balance. At least, that is, within the expected confines of an IPA: less caramel malt and honey, more assertive bitterness in the hop aromatics, a spicier palate, and a seemingly lighter body. By prizing hops overall Centennial #2 serves its Heavy-Handed moniker more appropriately, but the results are strangely nondescript. Perhaps it was this batch? Willamette #2 tasted dramatically fresher and other standard Centennial IPAs (e.g. Founders, Bell’s) are more vibrant showcases of this hop’s diverse skills.
Served: 12 oz bottle
Note: This poster comes from the Single Hop Project, an offshoot of the Committee on Opprobriations that combines geometry, color, agriculture, chemistry, and (of course) beer in a series of delightful posters. Seek out your hop muse here and put it on your wall for all to admire. Or debate.