Craft Beer Hops Along Its Creative Course

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FALLS CHURCH, Va. — The pungent grassy smell of bright green hop flowers fills the air at the Mad Fox Brewing Co.

Freshly harvested and overnighted from the Yakima Valley in Washington state to the brewpub, located just west of Washington, D.C., these Citra hops are being stuffed into porous bags that will be added to an already fermented ale, made with Australian Galaxy hops.

Like giant tea bags, the steeping second hop treatment will impart an added freshness and fruity punch of flavor to the brewery’s Two Hemispheres India Pale Ale. This “wet hopping” process creates a relatively new style of ale that arose from beer drinkers’ affinity for ever-increasing bitterness. “It’s just a different way for people to get their hop fix,” says Mad Fox head brewer Charlie Buettner.

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