Friday, October 7, 2011

2011 Fresh Hop Tastival Checklist

Fresh hops, click, fresh hops, click, fresh hops... Yes, I am a broken record at this time of year.  It's just that the beers are so good, so special, and so fleeting, that it becomes something of an obsession.

The Oregon Brewer's Guild/Oregon Bounty Portland Fresh Hop Tastival takes place tomorrow (Saturday, October 8, 2011) at Oaks Park, noon to 8 PM.  Scroll past the confusing east-is-up map on this page to see the beer list.  Kids are allowed, and if the weather is nice -- unlike last year -- the picnic area just outside the festival building is a great place to mingle in the fresh air.  As with any beer festival, the earlier you can arrive, the happier you'll be.  There is usually drinking water available, but the most convenient option is usually to bring your own.

There are still some entries on the Tastival list that I haven't tried yet, even after the Hood River Hops Fest and several weeks of trying an average of one new fresh hop beer a day.  So I'll be out there trying to fill in those blanks.  Meanwhile, here's my updated list of 2011 fresh hop beers, divided into these four categories:  fresh-hop beers you must try; beers that show off fresh hops well enough; beers that are really good but where I didn't really notice much fresh hop flavor; finally, beers to avoid.  The ones that will be available at Oaks Park this weekend are marked with "(Oaks)". [Update 2011/10/08: and new ones I tried at Oaks Park are marked with italic "(Oaks)".]


  • Deschutes Fresh Hop Mirror Pond (Oaks)
  • Deschutes Fresh Hop Twilight Ale
  • Full Sail Lupulin (with Tettnanger hops) (Oaks)
  • Breakside Fresh Hop IPA
  • Laurelwood Cavalry IPA
  • The Commons Fresh Hop Farmhouse (Oaks)
  • Big Horse Vernon the Rabbit Slayer
  • Elysian Kama Citra
  • Logsdon Fresh Hop Sezoen (Oaks)
  • Two Beers The Fresh Hop
  • Alameda Citronix (Oaks)
  • Double Mountain Killer Red
  • New Belgium Fresh Hop IPA
  • Bridgeport Hop Harvest (Oaks)
  • Laurelwood Laurelfest Vienna Lager (Oaks)
  • Deschutes Hop Trip (Oaks)
  • MacTarnahan's Fresh Hop Mac's Amber (Oaks)
  • Coalition Green Pig (Oaks)
  • Laurelwood Fresh Hop Free Range Red (Oaks) 
  • Green Dragon (OBC) Sophie Harvest Ale (Oaks)  
  • Ft. George CoHoporative Ale
  • Terminal Gravity Wild Wild Wet 
Good fresh hop beers:
  • Full Sail Lupulin (with Magnum hops) (Oaks)
  • Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest
  • Rogue Chatoe Wet Hop (Oaks)
  • Ninkasi Tricerarillo (Oaks)
  • Hopworks Fest of Fury (Oaks)
  • Widmer Liberty Fresh Hop Lager (Oaks)
  • Deschutes Fresh Hop Inversion IPA
  • Pelican Elemental Ale (Oaks)
  • Migration 69 Pound Perle (Oaks)
  • Fremont Brewing Cowiche Canyon Fresh Hop Pale
  • Oakshire Triune Wet Hop Pale Ale (Oaks)
  • Everybody's Brewing Head Stash Pale Ale
  • Iron Horse Fresh Hop Loco Red 
  • Schooner Exact Fresh Hop IPA
  • Full Sail Hopenfrisch Pilsner (Oaks)
  • Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale
  • Lucky Lab The Mutt (Oaks)
  • Rock Bottom Hop Harvest (Oaks)
  • McMenamin's Thundercone (Oaks)
  • Cascade Lakes Harvest Ale (Oaks)
Tasty beers, not much fresh-hop flavor:
  • Full Sail Lupulin (with Centennial hops) (Oaks)
  • Breakside Fresh Hop CDA
  • Long Brewing Fresh Hop IPA #1
  • Port Brewing High Tide IPA
  • Double Mountain Killer Green (Oaks)
  • Hopworks Give me Liberty... (Oaks)
  • Lompoc Crystal Missile (Oaks)
  • Cascade Fresh Hop Porter (Oaks)
  • Old Market Nugget IPA (Oaks)
  • Snipes Mountain The Hooch 
  • Ninkasi Total Crystallization (Oaks)
  • Upright Hits from the Vine (Oaks)
  • Gilgamesh Fresh Prince 
  • Big Horse Red Fang
  • Seven Seas Hop Prophet
  • Seven Brides Fresh Hop Emily's Ember (Oaks)
  • Coalition Liquid Sterling (Oaks)
  • Beer Valley Fresh Hop Leafer Madness (Oaks) 
  • Gilgamesh Fresh Hop Double IPA
  • Ft. George Fresh Hop Vortex IPA (Oaks)
  • Burnside Nuggets with Attitude (Oaks)
  • Deschutes Fresh Hop Chainbreaker White IPA
  • Lucky Lab Reaperweizen (Oaks)
  • Portland U-Brew King Harvest (Oaks) 
  • Philadelphia's Willamette in the Rye (Oaks) 

Of course, those are just my opinions, and your mileage may vary. But if you see something in the top two categories that ordinarily you would have skipped, give it a try at the Tastival or around town. A good example is the Fresh Hop Mac's Amber. The last couple years it hasn't been too exciting, and I had low expectations this time since Mac's excellent head brewer Vasili Gletsos jumped to Laurelwood earlier in the year, but the 2011 batch of Fresh Hop Mac's is really outstanding.

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