What's the difference between dry hopping and regular hopping, and both in terms of production process and taste? I think I'm starting to get an idea of what a dry-hopped beer tastes like, but I'm not always sure if it's actually dry hopping or just a hoppier beer, especially if I'm at a bar. What's the difference?
Dry hopping is a brewing technique which specifies when hops are added to a beer.
In particular, "normal" hopping is when you add hops while boiling the wort. Depending on how much time you are into the boil, this may add more bitterness or more aroma.
Dry hopping, on the other hand, is when you add hops after the boil is done, usually in a fermentation chamber. The purpose is only to add more aroma to a beer. You aren't getting the oils from the hops, so the beer shouldn't be any more bitter than before. Because no bitterness is added, you won't find a beer that is strictly dry-hopped -- the bitterness of the hops is what cuts the sweetness of the wort. Dry hopping is an extra twist that some brewers use.
All that said, is there a way to tell whether a beer is dry-hopped or just extra hoppy? That's hard to say, since you certainly can add more hops late in the boil to get more aroma qualities from them. Probably your best bet is to ask the brewer, and if you really like the beer, get a second pint!