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Fresh-Hop Ales

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Writer Christian DeBenedetti, who reported on San Diego’s craft-beer scene in our June issue, recently took a trip to the Hamptons in New York to harvest hops (the delicate green flowers that give beer flavor). Here, he tells what beer lovers can look forward to:

Fresh-hop ales, made from hops that are picked and brewed on the same day, are amazing. But brewers in the Northeast haven't been able to make any of these ales because the hop farms that once thrived here have essentially disappeared. Now Phil Markowski of Southampton Brewery at Southampton Publick House has decided to bring these aromatic ales back. Last week I helped him harvest a crop grown by Long Island farmer Gian Mangieri, who has just a tiny patch of Cascade, Nugget and Fuggles hops. We picked about six pounds of Cascades, then transported them to the brewery and added them to a special one-off 330-gallon batch of ale.

The fresh-hop beer, based on the British style ESB, or Extra Special Bitter, will be ready in about two to three weeks. The only place to drink it, Markowski says, will be at Southampton Publick House. But Dave Brodrick of New York City’s Blind Tiger Alehouse helped us with the harvest, and he's angling for a cask. We’ll let you know if he scores one, and when to get in line.

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