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Odell Brewing Company | Wolf Picker Pale Ale

Odell Brewing Company | Wolf Picker Pale Ale
Chris Day

With craft breweries opening at a rate of 1.5 per day, coming up with inventive names can be a real challenge for brewers. Thanks to aggressive litigation and creative marketing, we have inventive names like Raucho Man Randy Beverage from Against the Grain, Boom Shakalager from Terrapin, and my personal favorite: Those Candies Your Granny Loves Brown Ale from Cigar City. Then there’s Wolf Picker Pale Ale from Odell Brewing Company. What’s a Wolf Picker? Good question. Trigger warning: German subtitles.

Brewing all that beer requires hops, and plenty of them. Growing and harvesting hops, the flowers of a perennial climbing plant, is hard work. While many growers still pick hops by hand–some delicate varieties demand it–there are mechanical options:

Taking inspiration from the hop growing community and this Teutonic metal monster, Odell Brewing Company created a seasonal pale ale named Wolf Picker. Released annually as part of their Winter-Spring Montage variety pack, Wolf Picker is brewed with new and interesting hops every year. This time, they selected the recently reintroduced Comet hop and an experimental variety, HBC #472.

Wolf Picker pours golden and clear with a thick white head that leaves nice lacing as it recedes. The aroma offers pineapple, citrus peels, and an herbal note that Tony Magee would approve of. A sip delivers all the fruit the nose promised plus more. Passionfruit, mangoes, pineapple, and oranges come first followed by a lemon-lime acidity fading to pithy bitterness and echoes of the tropical fruit. The malt is noticeable but understated, falling in the biscuity-crackery zone and supporting the hops without stealing any of their thunder. Medium bodied and moderate in alcohol, this beer is way too easy to drink while still giving one enough to “dissect” and “fuss over.”

These qualities make Wolf Picker one of my favorite pale ales, one I look forward to drinking every year. I strongly recommend it to fans of hoppy beer, especially those who love trying zero-day hop varieties.

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