High Tide is a hazy gold color with a tan head that leaves some lacing on the glass. The nose is, not surprisingly, a whole lotta hops—the bread and biscuit malt is quickly buried by the hops, including grassy, citrus, floral, spicy, and resin hop aromas. The opening biscuit malt flavors are quickly overrun by hops, both in terms of bitterness and big hop flavor: in no particular order, we got citrus, floral, grapefruit, resin, and spicy hop flavors. The finish foregrounds the Simcoe—lingering bitterness with a resin hop bite. High Tide has a medium to light body; there is obviously some tongue curling and puckering from the aggressive hop load, and some bite, but no real astringency. The carbonation is low although present. This is the best of the fresh hop beers from this year thus far; it is a fresh and clean beer with good malt and hop balance and bright, lively hop flavors across the palate. We’re making this one a Top 10 Best contender.
From the bottle: “Our version of a seasonal IPA brewed and dry hopped with freshly harvested Centennial and Simcoe flower hops. Fresh hops beers can only be brewed once a year. During this annual fall harvest, we use the hop cones at their peak of freshness bursting with flavor and aromas. Each fall we brew High Tide IPA in celebration of the new crop year. We hope this seasonal IPA will be a welcome addition to our lineup of distinguished beers and be sought by hop heads everywhere seeking something a little more extraordinary.”
From the Port website: “Each and every fall, we experience a coastal experience in San Diego known as the “Super High Tide.” This happens later in the Fall Season when the tidal swings reach a range of about 8 feet in difference between low and high tides. When this happens, there are days when the tide just gets too high and flattens out the surf. The lineups shut down and surfers are left to wait until the High Tide recedes. While waiting for the tides to shift in your favor, might we suggest a High Tide IPA? Brewed only once each year to coincide with the Hop Harvest in Yakima Washington, High Tide IPA is made with 180 lbs of Fresh Hops per batch that are plucked from the vines and sent straight to our brewery. We skip the whole drying and processing stage which means the hops are ultra fresh and full of flavors we can’t normally get. Like grapes, Hops are only harvested one time each year and as such, we make what we can when we get them. The recipe is very simple and basic with an emphasis on the variety of hops we select each year. Lately, we have selected Centennial and Chinook hops for our High Tide IPA. We used Centennial at the end of the boil and Chinook for the Dry Hopping. Now that we have brewed High Tide, we will sit and wait for the ultra High Tides of Fall to arrive knowing full well that we have sufficient stocks of great beer to get us through the flattest of sessions. We hope you’ll stock up too.”
Kettle Hops: Amarillo pellets
Whirlpool: Centennial fresh hops
Dry Hop: Chinook fresh hops