It doesn't stop with Fresh-Hopped Mirror Pond: there are plenty of excellent fresh-hopped beers made in the Northwest and elsewhere. Enjoy them while they're fresh!
Every rose has its thorn, however, and the thorn in fresh hop season are those breweries that label their wares as Fresh Hop beers, when 100% of the hops in those beers have been dried. Sure, they're the first hops of the season. Sure, most Fresh Hop beers contain some dried hops as well. But if all the hops in a beer have been dried, don't call it a fresh hop beer. Last year I got so worked up about this that I had to follow up my Attention! Dried Hops are NOT Fresh Hops with a second rant about fresh-hop fakery. The breweries that I know faked it last year are:
- Sierra Nevada
Talk to your local brewers, and insist on honest fresh hops.
Lucky Labrador Hop Harvest
This coming Tuesday, August 30, 2011, you are invited to participate in one of the sweetest and most rewarding events you can attend in Portland: the Lucky Lab Hop Harvest. It's basically a shucking bee held on the patio of the Hawthorne Lucky Lab. People donate their homegrown hops for inclusion in the Lab's fresh hop beer -- aptly named "The Mutt" since its hop parentage is completely unknown and very mixed up. This year's Hop Harvest starts at 5:30 PM, a little later than in previous years, so you don't have to play hooky to join in the fun. If you have hops in your yard that you don't plan to brew with, bring the vines in, preferably within a few hours of cutting them down.
Hood River Hops Fest
The Oregon Brewers Guild teams up with Oregon Bounty each year to put on a few Fresh Hop Festivals around the state. The first one is always the Hood River Hops Fest, and the selection in Hood River always seems to be broader than that at the following fests. It's happening October 1, 2011, noon to 9 PM, between 5th and 7th Streets and Cascade and Columbia Streets in downtown Hood River. Minors are allowed until 6 PM. For being such a fresh-hop fiend, it pains me to say I haven't been to the Hood River fest before, but I plan to go this year.