Fresh-off-the-bine-and-then-frozen whole cone hops have become a recent ingredient category for craft brewers. We’ve covered Blue Lake Hops and the Blue Lake Process extensively in the past. Moments after harvest, Midwest-grown hops are rushed into a refrigerated truck and sent off to a Detroit facility for specialized cryogenic preservation. Cascade, Michigan Chinook, Michigan Copper, Crystal and beyond, Blue Lake Hops supplies a variety of frozen fresh hops to breweries looking to experiment with their brands — especially with those harvest or fresh beer recipes that are so popular during the late summer fall hop harvest.
Now Yakima Chief Hops, a grower-owned hop supplier, has announced its Frozen Fresh Hops program, aimed again at those fresh hop ales. Yakima Chief Hops developed a way to offer Frozen Fresh Hops in partnership with Wyckoff Farms, skilled in the art producing and preserving quality, frozen agricultural products. Here’s how the process works: Yakima Chief Hops’s Frozen Fresh Hops are raw, un-kilned, flash frozen whole cone hops produced in a state-of-the-art BRC-certified food processing facility. Unlike traditional freezing, notes the company, flash freezing retains the delicate nuances of un-kilned hops by protecting lupulin gland integrity, preserving fresh hops from both a physical and aromatic perspective. From the press release:
“As a northwest brewer, Fresh Hops have a special place in my heart,” said YCH’s Brewery Manager, Jeremy Wattenberg. “Frozen Fresh hops will be a game changer in the way we look at fresh hopped beers.”
Yakima Chief Hops continues to add interesting hop products to its portfolio – fresh hops, whole leaf hops, hop pellets, aged hops, CO2 extract and its Cryo Hops. The latter is a cryogenic hop-processing technology used to separate whole cones into two components — concentrated lupulin and bract. Each component of the hop is preserved using low temperatures in a nitrogen-rich environment during the entire process, from separation to pelleting. The result are Cryo Hop pellets that are the concentrated lupulin of whole-leaf hops containing resins and aromatic oils, designed to provide intense hop flavor and aroma. Now with Frozen Fresh hops, Yakima Chief Hops has a pretty comprehensive product line for craft breweries.
Note: These Frozen Fresh Hops have sub-freezing shipping and storage requirements, and brewers still have the option to participate in local Farm Pick-Up for traditional fresh hops. For more information, visit www.yakimachief.com/commercial/hop-wire/frozen-fresh-hops.