Pacific Northwest hops are harvested each year from late August through September, which means beers brewed with the freshest hops available, known as wet-hopped beers, arrive this month. What are fresh-hop beers? Simply put, they’re brews made with hops that are pulled off the bine and go straight into the kettle. The vast majority of the hops used by U.S. breweries are cultivated in Oregon and Washington. For the most part, these hops are dried and processed before being sold to professional and amateur brewers, which affects the flavor punch. With fresh hops, drinkers can expect more hoppiness, more aroma and more flavor — kind of like cooking with fresh herbs and spices instead of something that’s been on the shelf for a while. Fresh-hopped beers are best consumed ASAP; let’s drink six today. Stop by Peaks and Pints and enjoy Peaks and Pints Pilot Program: Fresh Hops On The Fly.
Peaks and Pints Pilot Program: Fresh Hops On The Fly
Developed in 1976 and named after the mighty river valley in Oregon, Willamette hops have long been a favorite among American craft brewers. Cultivated as an alteration of English Fuggle, Willamette has a fairly low alpha acid content. It’s mostly used for their aromatic properties, and for good reason. With notes of flowers, earth, fruit and spice, these hops can adapt to many different beer styles and add a lot of great character. Level Beer grabbed hundreds of pounds of fresh picked Willamette from Goshie Farms in the Willamette Valley for their Fresh Oktoberfest. It’s on the light side of Oktoberfest biers with some fresh floral hop notes.
Matchless Brewing brewed this year’s C.S.A. Farm Harvest pale ale exclusively with hops and malt from Washington state — fresh Centennial hop cones from CLS Farms, Yakima grown Centennial and Chinook hops, and Skagit Valley Malting’s Fritz Ale malt. Look for big green floral notes, melon, grass, and lemon-lime.
Strata, formerly known as X-331, is an open pollinated German born Perle hop that Oregon State University’s hop-breeding program tweaked with Indie Hops. Strata expresses many of the oils associated with mango, oranges, and other fruits and herbs. Goshie Farms in the Willamette Valley also raises Strata, which is where Level Beer grabbed hundreds of pounds of fresh Strata for their Fresh Hop ’21 – IPA. Expect fresh herb taste and slight sweet finish.
One of the first beers Ex Novo Brewing brewer Jason Barbee made was Eliot IPA, named after the brewery’s Portland neighborhood. Eliot is a light IPA focused heavily on well-rounded hop flavor and aroma from Centennial, Simcoe, Citra, and Mosaic in the dry hop. For the fresh hop version, Centennial receives the focus adding loads of pine in the nose and on the palate with some grassy notes.
6.9% ABV, 50 IBU
For this year’s Pert Near Fresh Hop IPA Crux Fermentation Project brewed this early harvest IPA using the brand-new McKenzie hop developed by West Coast Hop Breeding. Exclusive to the Willamette Valley, the dank McKenzie hop, formerly known as C-148 Experimental Hop, brings jammy berry notes to the party alongside big tropical flavors and floral aromas.
Trap Door Brewing also made a fast trip to Goschie Farms for fresh Strata hops for their Co-Hop Fresh Hop IPA 2021: 100,000 KVA Edition. A KVA is 1,000-volt amps. A volt is electrical pressure. An amp is electrical current. A Co-Hop Fresh Hop IPA 2021: 100,000 KVA Edition is a classic West Coast IPA jumping with notes of citrus, grapefruit, pine, and the fresh Strata adding a kick of dank and cut grass. With more than 10 pounds per barrel of fresh Strata from Goschie Farms in the Willamette Valley this West Coast IPA reminds you why the beer in the Pacific Northwest is exceptional.