If you are a fan of fresh hop beers and live in Seattle, you won’t want to miss the 5th Annual Fresh Hop Throwdown at The Noble Fir in Ballard on Saturday, September 26. There are always a lot of fresh hop beers floating around during September and October, and some of us do everything we can to try as many different examples as possible. I’ll be working with Rick Weersing and Ellen Kelly of The Noble Fir to put together a lineup of about 16 different fresh hop beers that will all be available when the bar opens at 4pm. There will also be a private blind judging of the lineup earlier in the day and the winning brewery will be announced later at the event. At last year’s event, the Breakside Fresh Hop Simcoe IPA took top honors, with Fort George Fresh IPA, Schooner Exact Amarillo Fresh Hop IPA and Fremont Cowiche Canyon Mosaic Fresh Hop following in the rankings. A writeup of last year’s event, along with the beer list, is available here. I’ll post a list for this year’s event when we get closer.
If you are new to fresh hop beers, this is a great event to introduce you to them. What is a fresh hop beer? Most of the annual crop is processed into dried hops that store well and will last throughout the year. Before hops are dried, they are known as “fresh hops” or “wet hops”. When beer is brewed with these fresh hops straight off the vine (or “bine” if you prefer), it can impart a very unique flavor profile vs. the use of typical dried hops. Fresh hops can impart a fresh, green, earthy hop taste, and they can really enhance the aroma of a beer. Some fresh hop beers are brewed exclusively with wet hops, while others are brewed with a combination of wet and dry hops. In addition to finding fresh hop beers on draft, you’ll be able to find bottled fresh hop beers from Sep to Nov.
If anyone has questions about the event, feel free to send me an email.