Hop season is here! As the summer days cool into autumn evenings, brewers who got their hands on fresh hops harvests are eagerly producing freshly hopped brews. With the explosive popularity of craft beer, many brewers are touting their freshest hops in their latest craft concoctions. Yesterday brought news of the Sierra Nevada’s Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild Harvest Festival and today, Deschutes Brewery is taking full advantage of its close proximity to some of the world’s leading whole flower hops this season by releasing two fresh hop beers later this month.
Hop Trip, now in its ninth year of bottling, is full of freshly harvested Crystal hops that travel from the fields at Oregon’s Sodbuster Farms and into the brew kettle — all in a matter of hours. Chasin’ Freshies, in its second year in the Bond Street Series, uses Gamache Farms’ famed fresh Amarillo hops for this year’s vintage.
Cam O’Connor, brewmaster at Deschutes Brewery, said, “Fresh hop season is one of my favorite times of the year. The number of different beers that are made with fresh hops gives people an unlimited selection to choose from. All the amazing flavors and aromas that permeate from fresh hop beers are really exciting for me. I feel like a kid in a candy store sometimes during this season.”
The highly celebrated Hop Trip has been enjoyed by Deschutes Brewery fans for nearly a decade and is once again offered in 12-ounce bottle six-packs as part of the Bond Street Series lineup. Why the longevity for this particular brew? Not only does it taste fantastic, but there’s a great story. The brewery team rushes over to the Willamette Valley each year to pick, bag and load up fresh whole flower hops. They quickly return to Bend, Ore., and dump these freshly harvested jewels into the brew kettle. The result? A pale ale with a uniquely citrus punch and fall spice flavor. 5.5 percent ABV; 38 IBUs
Chasin’ Freshies, dubbed after the ski town pastime of chasing fresh powder on the slopes, hit the scene last year with some well-carved turns. Rather than the heirloom Cascade hops of the 2012 version, the brewers changed things up for 2013 and feature the fresh and bold Amarillo hops in this IPA. Fresh hop beer lovers will appreciate the bold, juicy aroma and flavor that comes but once a year. 7.2 percent ABV; 65 IBUs
As craft beer interest grows, marketing savvy brewers like Deschutes are cleverly educating their consumers on the craft beer process, while drinkers enjoy the experience.