Two Brothers Brewing, based in Warrenville, Illinois, released its yearly batch of Heavier Handed IPA late last month, so I’m reviewing it for this Monday’s Beer and Metal post. Heavier Handed, as the name implies, is a juiced-up version of the Heavy Handed IPA, and both beers are what tend to get referred to as “harvest ales” or “wet hop ales,” meaning they’re brewed with hops that are just picked and still green, not dried as usual.

Heavier Handed contains 8.1 percent alcohol, compared to 6.7 percent for its little brother, and it’s aged in what Two Brothers calls French oak foudres. A foudre, if the Internet is to be believed, is a great stonking barrel or vat of unspecified size, historically used in parts of France for aging beer or (more commonly) wine. The word apparently also means “lightning” in French, so go figure.

Perhaps counterintuitively, harvest ales can’t compete with the intense hop flavors found in especially aggressive beers made with the dried variety. I’ll make a semieducated guess and compare the use of fresh hops in brewing to the substitution of fresh herbs for dried in cooking—in my experience it can take a fistful of green leaves to do the job of a tablespoon of dried. Maybe using fresh hops requires a volume so much larger than normal that you reach a practical upper limit sooner. I’m sure any actual brewers reading could clear this up in the comments.

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid, and he’s also split two national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and one in in 2020 for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.