It is that time of year again, when the hops of the valley are plucked at the peak of ripeness and thrown into kettles and conditioning tanks all over the Northwest. Like blooming flowers, however, these beers appear in their glory for only days at a time. You need to drink ’em when they go on tap, or miss them forever. In past years, I’ve tried to keep track of which breweries were making fresh hop beers, and with which hops. But since I’m terrible with details, it was always half-assed at best.
Fortunately, Ryan Sharp has stepped into the breach and now keeps an updated Google document to track these things. Even better, he’s created a form for breweries to use to add their info to the document. Those links:
There are a number of fresh hop events to take note of as the month unfolds, as well:
- The annual Lucky Lab hop-plucking event happens next Tuesday (Sept 6) at the back patio of the Hawthorne location. If you have hop bines you don’t know what to do with, drop them off at the Lab in the afternoon. Then, sometime that afternoon (in classic form, the press release did not have a time), stop by and pluck those hops. You’ll be offered free beer and wings, and the fruit of your labor will go into the Lab’s annual fresh hop beer, “The Mutt.”
- From Sept 20-24, there will be an ongoing pop-up fresh hops fest in the parking lot of Burnside Brewing. Each day features a different brewery.
- The Hood River Hops Fest will happen Saturday, September 24 in downtown Hood River. It’s one of the best events of the year.
- The annual Portland Fresh Hop Fest will happen a week later (Sept 30 – Oct 1) at Oaks Bottom Amusement Park. There are other fests around the state–follow the link for more info.
And of course, pubs and breweries are about to be inundated with fresh hop beers for the next month or so. So get your palate running–the best season of the year is just around the corner.