After all the opening brouhaha around fresh hops—the festivals and one-night tap takeovers—we’re left with only the brews. They still have a commanding presence on taplists around town, outing more traditionally seasonal brews—stouts, barrel-aged whatever, and pumpkin mania—for the time being. These fresh-hopped beers are on tap at their respective breweries, but if you want to explore more broadly, plenty of taprooms still have fresh-hop heavy lists: Pine Box, Latona Pub, Brouwer’s, Chuck’s Hop Shops. Give these five brews a taste.
If IPAs are meant to showcase hops (or so goes the current logic) and hops have the most vibrant character when fresh, then perhaps there’s no better brewery to visit right now than the IPA-fiends at Cloudburst. The Citra-hopped Farmer’s Only pale ale is the one of the more ubiquitous (and it snagged first place at the Yakima Fresh Hop festival) but owner Steve Luke and company have been cranking out a whole hoppy host: Citra Slicker, Back and Forth. Forever., Heavy Wetal, Wet Bandits.
Field to Ferment Series
More of a triple recommendation. Perhaps there’s no more fun way—or at least no more categorical, pseudo-scientific way—to explore fresh hops than with Fremont’s Field to Ferment series. Each showcases a different variety: Citra, Amarillo, and Centennial. If you really want to go deep, the brewery is offering flights them alongside their Cowich Canyon Pale Ales.
Fresh Hop Patersbier
I have no exact stats but I’ll venture that the vast—vast—majority of fresh hop brews produced are IPAs. So digressions like this light easy drinking table beer from the Holy Mountain guys (who specialize in the non-IPA styles) are a nice treat. Still plenty of fresh hop character from citra and floral hops: juicy on the nose, dry the palate.
Fresh Hop Talisman Pale
Georgetown’s Machine House Brewing specializes in restraint. The beers skew toward low-alcohol English styles like bitters and porters. This pale ale keeps with the restraint—no bonkers hop-assault here. Instead there’s dignity and balance.
Fresh Hop Bodhizafa IPA
Georgetown have been turning out solid brews for years now. It’s fun to see what happens when workhorse IPA like their Bodhizafa gets hit with fresh hops. It’s still a beer you know, with a classic bitter PNW profile, but with a little more levity.