I will be the first one to admit I don’t like hoppy beers. That being said, I love beer festivals! Any excuse that allows me to hang out with friends and try new beers sounds like a reason to celebrate in my book. Last weekend, my roommate Jeffrey, our couch surfer Pamela and I hit up the 2012 Portland Fresh Hop Festival. A festival all about celebrating fresh hopped beers, duh!
What’s a “hop”?
Hops are the female flower clusters (called cones) of a hop species, Humulus lupulus. They are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer. Hops give beer the bitter, tangy flavor that people love (and that I dislike). Hops were cultivated continuously around the 8th and 9th century AD in Bohemian gardens in the Hallertau district of Bavaria and other parts of Europe. Although the first documented use of hops in beer as a bittering agent is from the 11th century. Before this time brewers used dandelion, burdock root, marigold, horehound, ground ivy and heather. Hops have many benefits in the brewing process, the balance the sweetness of the malt, add flavors and aromas and have an antibacterial effect that favors the activity of brewing yeast over less desirable microorganisms. Plus, they make the beer last longer. Another thing to note is the important production centers for hops include Hallertau in Germany, Yakima (Washington) and Willamette (OREGON!!) valleys. The one thing I will say that I love about hops is the way they smell and look. They almost smell like evergreen needles, campy, herbal and fresh. Yummy! Hops are climbers too and are usually trained to grow up strings across fields. Hopefully, next spring I’ll have some hops growing in my backyard across my garden. Now you know a little bit about hops and why we celebrate them. Here is what we drank at the 2012 Fresh Hop Festival! I should note that we all had samples of these beers (4 oz.) and shared with one another.
- F.O.T.M. Brewery – Magnum P.A. – Fresh Hopped Pale Ale featuring fresh Magnum and Cascade hops. Yet another new brewery in Portland I want to check out!
- Falling Sky Brewing – So Fresh, So Green – Wet Hop Lager featuring 172 pounds in 8.5 barrel of wet Centennial hops from Goshcie Farms. A new brewery to town, definitely on my list to check out the next time I’m in Eugene. Anyone who can make a lager is a friend of mine.
- Klamath Basin Brewing Co. – Fresh Hopican Pale Ale – American Pale Ale featuring Cascade hops
- Sasquatch Brewery – Fresh Hopped Healy Heights – Pale Ale featuring Centennial hops
- Silver Moon Brewing – Hoppopotamus IPA – Indian Pale Ale featuring Centennial hops. This was my personal favorite of my selection. Probably the only IPA I actually like!?
- 10 Barrel Brewing Co. – Crystalt – Alt beer featuring Crystals hops
- BridgePort Brewing – Hop Harvest – Imperial Pilsner featuring Tettnang hops
- Burnside Brewing Co. – Sterling Pub Draught – Pub Draught featuring Sterling hops
- Crux Fermentation Project – Crystal Zwickel – Fresh Hop Ale featuring Crystal hops. One of Jeffrey’s favorites, which was recommended by a friend of mine.
- Deschutes Brewery – KING CONE – American Pale Ale featuring dry Cascade hops and fresh Centennial hops. Another one of Jeffrey’s favorites. Definitely one I enjoyed as well.
- Hopworks Urban Brewery – Give Me Liberty – Fresh Hop Bitter featuring organic Liberty hops
- Laurelwood Brewing Co. – Fresh Hop Free Range Red – Organic NW ESB featuring Cascade hops
- Oakshire Brewing – 100 Hops – Pale Ale featuring Centennial hops. I’ve been tweeting with them a lot lately, can’t wait to check out their brewery. Once again, need a reason to go to Eugene.
- Portland U-Brew – Freshy Foyston Hopbacktimus – Yes beer featuring “John Foyston Sumpremes”. Done by my boy, Aaron, who was also doing a home brew demonstration at the Festival.
- Three Creeks Brewing Co. – Cone Lick’r – Fresh Hop Pale Ale featuring Perle’s hops
Like hoppy beers? What is your favorite? Have a favorite type of hops?