Fat Head’s Brewery will release its Hop Stalker Fresh Hop IPA in 16-ounce cans later this year. The wet-hopped IPA — made with fresh Yakima Valley hops flown in special for the brew — previously has been available only on draft.
Co-owner and brewer Matt Cole said he expects the beer to be brewed in September and available in four-packs starting in October. It clocks in at 7 percent alcohol by volume and 80 IBUs. (Attached is a prototype label.)
Cole has yet to determine the specific hops that will be used. But they will be the freshest and best available, he said. The hops are harvested, shipped to Fat Head’s immediately and in the brewery kettle within 48 hours.
“You really get a nice juicy hop character,” he said about the freshness.
The Hop Stalker name stems from a trip he made with another Fat Head’s brewer to Washington. Cole travels out West at least twice a year to scout hops. He also has his three main hop growers on speed dial, and has his smartphone set up to keep an eye on the Yakima Valley weather.
In other words, he’s obsessive about his hops.
“We were out in a really late harvest in Yakima one year and we were driving around and chasing around some of the hop trucks to follow them back to the farms,” Cole said. “I looked at him and said, ‘We’re a couple of hop stalkers here.’
“That’s what I do. I go out and stalk the freshest hops we can get. Not all hops are created equal. Not all growers are created equal. Not all fields are created equal.”
Hop Stalker is the second Fat Head’s beer to be released in a can. Earlier this year, Fat Head’s released Trail Head Pale Ale in 12-ounce cans with the help of Buckeye Canning, a mobile canning operation. Buckeye Canning again will work with the Hop Stalker, Cole said.