October 28 2009, 12:48 PM
Even though our nice, mellow fall is being blanketed with feet of snow, there's a glimmer of hope for those of us who love autumn: Craft brewers are still churning out fresh-hopped beer. Left Hand Brewing has shipped its Warrior IPA bombers, and they should be on shelves for the next four to six weeks, according to Chris Lennert, vice president of operations. This year, however, Left Hand is switching things up. While many breweries ship their fresh hops from the Pacific Northwest, Left Hand uses hops from Rising Sun Farms in Paonia. The brewers have friends with a small airplane, so the hops are hustled fresh from the plant into boxes and flown straight to the brewery's home in Longmont. So, what makes the local hops different from the ever-popular Northwest variety? Note the nose on the beer, Lennert recommends. He finds the local hops' aroma a lot stronger, but the flavor profile softer. Sounds like a nice blend of hops to help us through a wintry middle of the week.