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.
Heavy-Handed 2013 – Willamette #2
Using such a low alpha-acid hop as Willamette for an American IPA was unexpected, but the results are charming. Willamette #2 has luscious aroma of honey, resin, pine, and florals—leafy and lively instead of dry and bitter. Rather malty for an IPA, Willamette #2 shows plenty of honey later on palate, too, along with a thorough fleshing out of all the aforementioned aromas. The carbonation has a pleasant though not aggressive amount of sparkle and the body is decidedly creamy though not stuffed. Its development on the palate isn’t surprising or stunning, but it doesn’t strive to be. It is an ode to freshness and that is delightful enough.
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.