Fresh Hop Round UpWe’ve been drinking fresh hop ales for about a…

Fresh Hop Round Up

We’ve been drinking fresh hop ales for about a month now, and we’ve come up with a helpful set of fresh hop principles.

Lesson one: don’t mess around with your fresh hops. 

Someone at Hopworks thought it was a good idea to dump a load of fresh Centennials into a yeastie saison. It’s all yeast, no hops. I don’t even like it as a Belgian yeast bomb. Level Beer – a new outfit located near the airport – made a similar mistake. They’re first can release is a fresh hopped version of their Ready Player One saison. It’s super light and pretty pleasant, but again, the yeast covers up any real hop flavor.

Lesson two: drink it fresh! 

One again, Double Mountain has bottled two different fresh hop beers. We got a bottle of Killer Red pretty soon after the release. It was pretty tangy and sweet. The Killer Green was a several days older. It was pretty plain. Killer Red was juicy with spruce tips and red currants. It had zip and zing. Killer Green was mostly pine and citrus, with a hint of fresh sparkle, but it was almost all gone.

Lesson three: try to be restrained. 

Fremont’s Filed to Ferment is pretty good. It’s got a fresh hop zing, but on the back end, it’s all vegetables – green bell pepper in particular. I can’t decide if that’s a function of excessive hop material or just an Amarillo hop flavor. I’m leaning toward the former. I can see how some would taste it as a flaw, but I still liked the beer.

Lesson four: sometimes a simple beer is a better beer.

My favorite fresh hop beers so far have been super simple. Fresh Prince from Gilgamesh Brewing is a basic IPA – no bells, no whistles – but I like it a lot. It’s got a real bitterness to it. The fresh Centennials add extra floral notes on top of a dry bodied beer. 8 Pound Pale from Full Sail does the same thing. Fresh hops add a little sparkle to a balanced pale ale – fresh grass and sharp citrus. Nothing complicated, just a shining nice beer.

If you’ve got some fresh juicy hops, let them shine. Don’t make a porter. I’m looking at you Hopworks and you’re Cascadian Dark Ale.

Posted in 8 pound pale ale, beer, centennial hops, craft beer, double mountain brewing, farm to feast, farm to ferment, fremont brewing, fresh hops, fresh prince, full sail brewing, gilgamesh brewing, hops, hopworks, indie beer, killer green, killer red, level beer, ready player one