October in Washington brings juicy plums, the smell of boiling Dungeness crab, and pumpkin spice lattes. But for beer drinkers, October still 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. This limits the brewing period to the very short hops harvest season every September, with most of the bounty arriving in early October, at least this year. Today, Peaks and Pints presents the last round of fresh hop beers in a to-go flight we call Peaks and Pints Pilot Program: Last Fresh Hops Flight.
Deschutes Chasin’ Freshies
Inspired by Deschutes Brewery‘s co-owner’s eternal search for fresh powder on the mountain or perfect dirt on the trails, Chasin’ Freshies captures hops in their purest form direct from the field. The hops for Chasin’ Freshies change year to year and are hand selected in the hop fields alongside the farmers. This year, this clean, crisp fresh hop IPA captures aromas of tangerine, apricot and papaya paired with pine resin from fresh Idaho 7 hops.
Now that the weather’s stormy, where do all the hops go? They’re currently hibernating in this yearly fresh hop seasonal from California’s Sierra Nevada Brewing. Amid the many big and malty winter ales, Celebration Ale provides a comfortable winter home for the season’s displaced hops. A little darker than the average American IPA, and dry-hopped for a lively, intense aroma, this ale has a citrusy, piney, and resinous hop character and a medium body.
According to BreakThru Brewing , this year’s fresh hops were so abundant that the brewery needed to release a double album. Side A utilizes 42 pounds per barrel of fresh Simcoe from C & C Hop Farms in Moxie, Washington. Double dry hopped with more Simcoe, plus Riwaka and Galaxy, this fresh hop IPA hit the nose with big pineapple, followed by notes of ruby red grapefruit, pineapple sorbet, and a touch of greens on a smooth body.
After five years professionally brewing, Alex Ellig opened BreakThru Brewing in December 2020 in Kent, Washington. Homebrewer Ellig began his professional career at Rock Bottom Brewery and Restaurant in La Jolia, California. Rock Bottom’s head brewer agreed to drink Ellig’s homebrew and give feedback. Five breweries later, including Two Beers Brewing in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood, and time in every position possible at a brewery, Ellig grabbed the finest ingredients, new advancements in hop production technology, proprietary yeast blends and a temporary home at Airways Brewing, Ellig approaches his second anniversary with delicious beer and honors, including NOW That’s What I Call Fresh Hops Vol. ’22 Side B brewed with 32 pounds per barrel of C & C Hop Farms beautiful, oil rich, fresh Citra, and double dry hopped with more Citra, Nectaron, and Nectaron hop burst concentrated hop oil, this fresh hop hazy IPA has notes of stone fruit and candied mango.
Holy Mountain Brewing’s latest fresh hop is brewed with Pilsner malt, Golden Promise, malted oats, and a bit of chit, this fresh hop IPA is brewed with 100 percent fresh Talus hops supplied from Carpenter Ranches. It’s an unique fresh hop that’s aromatic, refreshing, and super drinkable with aroma and flavor transitioning from fresh pine to grapefruit pith.
Lagunitas Contents Under Fresher
Born Yesterday was a newborn version of Lagunitas Brewing’s re-born Pale, a newer New Dogtown Pale with a fresh addition — wet, lupulin-drenched, un-kilned, whole-cone, fresh-picked-and-rushed-straight-from-Yakima hops. The Northern California brewery has shelfed Born Yesterday replacing it with Contents Under Fresher. This is the latest leap in Lagunitas’ never-ending quest for capturing the essence of fresh hops. This year, Contents Under Fresher features whole-cone Mosaic, Citra, Simcoe, and Strata hops harvested and rushed from their family of farmer friends in Yakima.