At the innaugural WA vs. OR Fresh Hop Throwdown at The Noble Fir this past Saturday, fifteen fresh hop beers from both Washington and Oregon were poured from some of the region’s best breweries. Apparently, Seattle beer drinkers really like fresh hop beers, as The Noble Fir was hopping from the moment the doors opened at 4pm and it didn’t slow down too much throughout the night.
A blind judging was held earlier in the day to determine the best fresh hop beer of the lineup and also to determine which state would come out on top. Portland’s Laurelwood Brewery took top honors with their Fresh Hop Cavalry IPA, which was brewed with fresh Chinooks. The winning state was determined by the average scores of each state’s beer in the first round of judging, and Oregon edged Washington with an average score of 16.2 vs. 15.7 out of a possible 25 points.
The top 4 beers that made it to the Best of Show round included:
1st: Laurelwood Fresh Hop Cavalry IPA
2nd: Deschutes Fresh Hop Mirror Pond Pale Ale
3rd: Double Mountain Killer Red
4th: Two Beers 2011 Fresh Hop
There were a lot of great beers on hand, and it really was pretty cool to try various examples and see how different these fresh hop beers can be. Outside of the top four, I really enjoyed the Hopworks Give Me Liberty, Snipes Fresh Hop Pale Ale (which we incorrectly listed as an IPA; big apologies, again), and the Oakshire Triune Wet Hop Pale Ale. Overall, the Double Mountain Killer Red may have been my personal favorite of the lineup; it had a huge, funky fresh hop aroma and followed suit with lots of fresh hop flavor in the taste to go along with a respectable and balancing malt backbone.
A HUGE thanks to Rick, Ellen, Elliott and the rest of the team at The Noble Fir for handling the crowd as well as they did and for hosting a great event.
A big thanks to my friend +Russ for taking some great photos. Check out his photo album from the event on Flickr.
I’d love to hear what other attendees enjoyed drinking at the event, so feel free to leave a comment. If you were not able to make it this weekend, I’m guessing there are still several of these fresh hop kegs flowing. You can stop by The Noble Fir when they open back up on Tuesday at 4pm to find out. I may be back this week to try some of the beers I didn’t get to sample.