October in Washington brings juicy plums, the smell of boiling Dungeness crab, and pumpkin spice lattes. But for beer drinkers, October means fresh hop beers. One of the most seasonally specific styles that a brewery can make, fresh hop beers are brewed with just-harvested whole-cone hops rushed from farms to brew kettles to capture the most vibrant flavors and aromas of these pungent flowers before they begin to fade. When hops are harvested, they are cut from the vine and the hop cones are transported to a kiln where the hops are dried. Typically, after the kiln the hops are baled and put into cold storage where they are kept until they can be pelletized. While the hops sit in the bales, the aroma changes quickly in the first week before they become a (mostly) stable product. Fresh hops are not allowed to sit in the bales. The kilning process tends to concentrate the flavor of the hops and as the moisture is removed, the grassy, chlorophyll flavor dissipates with it. If the hops are used the same day they’re picked, the highly volatile aromas remain in the hops. Today, Peaks and Pints presents another round of fresh hop beers on draft, and thus a good reason to offer an in-house flight of them, too. Enjoy Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Fresh Hop October.
Matchless Fresh Bois
You know Matchless Brewing’s Crispy Bois. It’s the American light lager with the tropical hop character of a hazy IPA. Well, Matchless brewed a fresh batch with Mosaic, Chinook, and El Dorado hops and finished with a heaping dry hopping of wet Citra hop cones from CLS Farms. It’s super citrusy with notes of honeydew, mango, and fresh cut grass.
Brewed in collaboration with Virgil Gamache Farms and HopTechnic, Varietal Beer‘s Virgil Goes Fresh West Coast pale ale features VGF Columbus and Chinook in the whirlpool with VGF Chinook and freshly kilned Amarillo from Loza Farms. How goes it? Expect citrus flavors with a mild, pithy bitterness.
In 2019, Brody Day and Dustin Harder converted a Portland church into Steeplejack Brewing, a brewery, taproom, and restaurant that still looks like a church — a very cool church. The building’s stained-glass windows loom above the brewery’s tanks and bar, and pews serve as banquettes for the wooden tables at the center of the space. Their bright and punchy Fresh Hop Tropical Pilsner is brewed with fresh Strata hops that hits the nose with melon notes and a whiff of dank cannabis, followed by herbal musky, melon rind and dank catty flavors with showing of spice and tropical fruit skin.
Washington’s flagship hazy IPA enters another dimension in this extremely limited time offering. From vines to brew tanks in under 24 hours, fresh, unkilned “wet hops” are trucked from Eastern Washington to Silver City Brewery’s Bremerton plant immediately after harvesting, yielding a brilliant, fragrant hop experience. Amarillo hops specifically enhance Tropic Haze’s namesake tropical character, imparting distinct floral and citrus notes.
In celebration of this year’s hop harvest, pFriem Family Brewers highlight Oregon’s Strata variety, which brings big tropical aromas balanced with resiny fresh hop flavors of citrus, sweet cannabis, and with a kiss of dried chili powder. This IPA finishes super floral, green, bright, and dank.