Wednesday, September 1st, 2021

Bride of Fresh Hoptoberfest

Ron Swarner

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Bride of Fresh Hoptoberfest

Summary: For the fifth consecutive September, Peaks and Pints is throwing a month-long autumn beer party marrying two popular seasonal beer styles on draft — fresh hops and Oktoberfest lagers — this year naming it, “Bride of Fresh Hoptoberfest.”

Lead Players: Fresh Hop Beers, Oktoberfest Lagers

Producer: Peaks & Pints craft beer bar, bottle shop and restaurant in Tacoma’s Proctor District.

Tagline: Mask Up For Fresh Hops and Festbiers!

Origin: In September 2017, in keeping with our multi-rooted sensibilities, Peaks and Pints hosted The Hunt For Fresh Hoptoberfest, tapping fresh hop and Oktoberfest beers daily. Crowds discovered bright, hop-hazy fresh-hop beers, just hours from field to kettle and mere days from the fermenter to their glass AND drank to their health with clean, hearty Oktoberfest-style lagers from Germany and nearby. Peaks & Pints hosted Son of Fresh Hoptoberfest in 2018, followed by Rise of Fresh Hoptoberfest in 2019, and last year’s Behind Fresh Hoptoberfest.

Key Things You Should Know When Participating In Fresh Hoptoberfest

Fall beer offers far more than nutmeg and allspice. Historically, autumn was an important time for brewers. Before refrigeration and climate control, fermentation in warmer months was unpredictable, and brewing in the summer was more likely to yield an impure beer. In 1553, a Bavarian law was passed that banned summer beer production altogether.

The result? Brewers ramped up in March, brewing a strong, malty lager that could last through the beerless summer months. That style became known as Märzen, from the German word for March. Stored in cool caves and allowed to slowly ferment, the crisp yet robust beer became a perfect transition into the colder fall months, eventually fueling raucous Oktoberfest celebrations around the world.

These days, a true Märzen is hard to find. But plenty of brewers take a crack at similar styles, including festbiers, maibocks and dunkels. Whatever the name, a pint of malty, dark lager is the perfect accompaniment for the changing seasons, and Peaks and Pints will keep them on tap through September.

Fresh hops are another great gift of fall. Most of the year, brewers coax flavor and aroma out of dried and pelleted hops. But in late summer and early fall, when the precious hop cones are plump and fragrant, many brewers experiment with fresh- (or “wet”-) hopped IPAs and pale ales. Straight from the fields, fresh hops lend juicy, earthy notes that are often compared to newly mown grass.

Unlike Oktoberfest styles, wet-hopped beer should be consumed as quickly as possible after brewing, as all of those delicate nuances dissipate quite quickly. Peaks and Pints will also keep fresh hop beers on tap throughout September.

Final Note

Washington State Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, M.D., MPH, amended Order 20-03 requiring face masks for everyone in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status, including Peaks & Pints. Please keep your mask on unless you’re at your table eating and drinking. Prost!

BRIDE OF FRESH HOPTOBERFEST, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, through Sept. 30, Peaks & Pints, 3816 N. 26th St., Basecamp Proctor, Tacoma, no cover