All the Fresh Hops

I have fallen down on the job.  In past years, as the air grows chill and the leaves turn to fire, I begin busily blogging about fresh hop beers.  It is one of the most extraordinary cul-de-sacs in the beer world, mostly unknown except to those who live in the right neighborhood.  For a few short weeks, brewers are able to use just-picked, undried hops straight from the vine.  They travel no more than a couple of hours from Oregon's Willamette Valley and arrive at breweries fresh and full of life.  The beers they make can be spectacular, singular things found nowhere else in the world.  Like the life seeping moment by moment from the cones (strobiles, if you're being pedantic), so it seeps moment by moment from the beers after they're made with these hops.  After a week, they begin to lose their edge, and within a month they're dull and lifeless.  You must get them while you can--and right now is the moment.

Tonight and tomorrow, you can find a few dozen pouring at the Fresh Hop fest in Southeast Portland.  If you've found, like I have, that the season has gotten away from you, it's a great chance to indulge. 

Photo: Silver Moon

On the off chance you haven't been reading this blog for the past several years but are hungering for information about fresh hopped ber, here's a roundup of some of the key posts from past years.  (Even if you've read them, some make a decent refresher--even for me!) (It occurs to me now that I should have titled this post Seven Things You Need to Know About Fresh Hops, in the manner of the day.  But I am old and so you're spared all that.)
  • A hops reference guide, Aurora to Willamette.  It covers what we know about kilned hops, which is not entirely the same as what we know about fresh hops.
  • The Satori-award winning Full Sail Lupulin from way back in 2007 (illustrating that fresh hops can no longer be considered a particularly fresh phenomenon).
Happy hunting--