Fresh Hop Beers – What Qualifies, and What are Some Favorites?

September 8th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Notes, Washington Breweries

 This thread over on got me thinking about all of the fresh hop beers I’ve had out in the NW, and which ones stick out. It also got me thinking about what actually qualifies as a “fresh hop” beer. This is the time of year that you should start looking forward to some fresh hop/wet hop beers. They are literally just around the corner…and in some cases they might already be available.

What have been some of your favorite Fresh Hop beers in the past, and what breweries have you heard are doing a fresh hop beer this year? The Laughing Dog Hop Dog Harvest Ale (winner of last year’s Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Fest for the past two years) has to be my favorite…that I remember at least.

What qualifies a beer as a “fresh hop” beer? Is there a difference between “fresh hop”, “wet hop” and “harvest ale”? – For me, I consider a fresh hop beer to mean that the hops go from vine to kettle without being dried. I believe that “fresh hop” = “wet hop”. But, according to sierranevadabill, who appears to work for the brewery, on the Beeradvocate thread, there is a distinction between wet hop beers and fresh hop beers:

Fresh hops are the first recently dried hops… AKA Southern Hemisphere and Celebration. Dried hops, only, very recently dried.

Wet hops are green, un-dried hops…from the fields into the glass. For us, Estate Ale and Harvest Ale are wet hop beers.

As for Harvest Ales, it seems that just because a beer calls itself a Harvest Ale doesn’t mean it has fresh hops (As I used to think). It could mean that the beer is brewed as a celebration of the harvest. But, many Harvest Ales do indeed use fresh hops.

Does this seem like a case where better regulation of beer styles/names might be useful? I think so. But, as long as the beer tastes good…well, then I’m happy I guess:-)

These are the fresh hop beers that I was able to pull out of my past ratings on (local and non-local):
Laughing Dog Hop Dog Harvest Pale Ale (ID)
Snipes Mountain Harvest Ale (WA)
Rock Bottom Bellevue Mary Jane Harvest Ale (WA)
Three Floyds BrooDoo (IN)
Iron Horse Fresh Hop (WA)
Pumphouse Hot Shots Harvest Double IPA (CO)
Port Brewing High Tide Fresh Hop IPA (CA)
Ice Harbor Fresh Hop IPA (WA)
Ice Harbor Harvest Pale Ale (WA)
Founders Harvest Ale (MI)
BridgePort Hop Harvest Ale (OR)
Butte Creek Fresh Hop Organic India Pale Ale (CA)
Deschutes Hop Trip (OR)
Full Sail Lupulin (OR)
Great Divide Fresh Hop (CO)
Great Divide Fence Hop (CO) – version made with hops grown on the fence outside the Great Divide tasting room in Denver
Rogue Independance Harvest Ale (OR)
Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale (CA)

There is no easy way to pull all your “fresh hop” ratings on Ratebeer, so I very likely missed a few.

If you’re interested, the Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival takes place on October 3, and you can see my writeup from last year’s festival here:
And here are my photos from last year’s festival:

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • harborguy

    I’ll be in Hood River, OR. the weekend of Oct. 3rd to do the Fruit Loop (apples, pears, etc.) and for the 6rh Annual Hood River Hop Fest (my third in a row). I’ll try to take some pictures and give a report.
    We stay in a B&B using the Stash Tea pay for one night, get the second night free program (

  • Russ

    I can’t wait for Port’s High Tide to come around. It’s definitely my fave Port brew. I’ll have to stock up and drink fast 😉

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