Autumn is here and Seattle’s fresh hop beer scene is—forgive us—hoppin’. Yakima Valley is verdant with fresh hops, and many Seattle brewmasters are proving devoted (or crazy?) enough to make the five-hour trek and follow it up with an all-night brew-a-thon so the hops can carry their grassy, bright flavor all the way to the finished beers.
And what beers they are. Some of the fresh hop beers currently on tap in Seattle are cult classics, others are just staring to garner hype. All are expected to sell out fast. The clock is ticking—study up with our fresh hop beer guide, then pick your poison.
Here are some breweries around town getting ready to unleash their fresh hop creations. All breweries except for Stoup will be represented at the Fresh Hop Beer Festival in Yakima on October 4. And let's not forget the Noble Fir's annual Fresh Hop Throwdown happening on Saturday.
On October 1, Fremont Brewing will bring back its beloved Cowiche Canyon Fresh Hop IPA, made from organic Citra and Simcoe hops gathered in Yakima. It’s their most popular beer for a few short weeks every year, and it will be available on tap and in bottles and cans at the Fremont tasting room until supplies run out. But hop lovers will have to pace themselves—the brewery will impose a limit on the number of beers customers can bring home.
The citrusy Kama Citra, packed with early-harvest wet Citra hops from Moxee, Washington, is currently on tap at all of Elysian’s Seattle locations. The 50 Shades of Green fresh hop brew is due to roll out soon, and a third Equinox hop brew—name TBD—is in the kettles now. There’s also a collaboration in the works between Elysian and Yakima’s Bale Breaker Brewing Company, with 60 barrels of wet Citra IPA almost ready to go. Stay tuned to Elysian’s Facebook page for updates and release events on the two mystery brews.
Two Beers Brewing
An early hop season led to Fresh Hop IPA’s earliest release date ever, with the first batch available on tap in early August. Another mid-August batch of the multi-hop blend is still available in limited supply at grocery stores and in the brewery’s Industrial District tasting room.
The team at Reuben’s returned to Yakima Valley for their second annual fresh hop harvest earlier this month. Last owner Adam Robbings put the Amarillo Fresh Hop Pale Ale on tap, but this year he opted to bottle it up. The coveted bottles will be available in limited quantities at their Ballard taproom starting at 3pm on Friday, September 26.
After a September 4 trip to Willamette Valley Hops in Northern Oregon, Stoup used social media to follow its 100 pounds of Cascade hops as they journeyed from field to brew kettle to tap. A few weeks after the brewing party, their Fresh Hop Pale Ale is now available on tap at their Ballard tasting room.