It’s no secret I love Hood River. I want to buy a house there and retire (like all 20-somethings in Portland). Where else can I be at the base of a mountain, an hour from a major city (airport) and surrounded by great breweries? As we get closer to ski season, my love for Hood River grows. That is why I was super excited for the excuse to head up to Hood River with my “froommates” (friends and roommates) to the Hood River Hop Fest 2013. This festival is all about great local, hoppy beer!
Here is what we tried:
- Alameda’s 100# Cascade – Brewed with fresh Centennial hops provided by Willamette Valley Hops. A clean and restrained bitterness with a simple grist bill highlights the aromatic and flavor properties of this wonderful hop.
- Backwoods’ Big Cedar IRA – Willamette, Chinook, Simcoe and Cascades contribute hoppy goodness to this non-fresh-hop beer from the Gorge’s newest brewery, located in Carson, WA. Definitely a brewery I want to check out!
- Beer Valley’s Fresh Hop Leafer Madness – 250 pounds of fresh Chinooks added to the brew hours after picking.
- Beer Valley’s Many Farms Fresh Hop Ale – They traveled across many hop farms as possible in a 24 hour period through Oregon, Washing and Idaho, then brewed a beer with as many different hop varieties as possible.
- Breakside’s If It’s Wet and Not Yours, Don’t Touch It – An aggressive Northwest IPA made with a mix of pelletized “old” hops from 2011 and 2012 and uber fresh sticky resinous, dank, ganja-like hops, fresh and wet and moist from the vine just days ago.
- Double Mountain’s Killer Green – The Brewers Gold hops that were used fresh from Sodbuster Farms in Salem, Oregon were clean, green and bountiful. The hop character of KG delivers herbal notes, toward mint and oregano with a hint of the Jamaican highland.
- Double Mountain’s Killer Red – Has a big apple/pine/oranage character from the fresh hops, and pulls that discuit/carmel character you’ll also find in our India Red Ale (IRA). Drinks like a big IRA; the extra strength with worth respecting.
- Elysian’s Kama Citra Wet Hop Red – Full bodied beer is lovingly brewed with an obscene quantity of freshly harvested Citra Hop cones, driven straight from the Valley of Yakima to our hop back in Seattle by Head Brewer Dick Cantwell. Delightful citrus bouquet and satisfying mouthfeel.
- Fort George’s Fresh Hop XVIth Chapel – Technically a double IPA fermented with a flamboyant strain of Belgian yeast. WIth plenty of delicious Fresh Simcoe hops to balance out the spice of the farmhouse yeast. Perfect blend of bitter and sweet.
- Gigantic’s Sodbuster Simcoe – Lots of fresh, wet citrusy Simcoe hops from Sodbuster Farms. Still the only beer Will Smith and Doug E. will drink. Because its FRESH!
- Humble’s Larch Creek Harvest Ale – Brewed with hand-harvested, organically grown hops from Larch Creek Farms. This farmhouse IPA is built on a simple base of two-row and pilsner malts and fermented with a mixture of Americal Ale and French Saison yeast strains.
- Ice Harbor’s Fresh Hop Double Red – 7.5 pounds of late addition fresh hops per barrel give this beer an assertive and pleasant fresh hop flavor that compliments the beer’s caramel maltiness. This is another new to me brewery I would love to check out!
- Logsdon’s Fresh Hop Seizoen – Loaded with a variety of hops, predominantely Citra and citrusy hop character. Tart, refreshing, malty smoothness and complex fruitiness.
- Ninkasi’s Total Crystalization – Shows the dedication to the hop harvest by brewing Total Domination IPA using fresh hops. Adding hops as normal for the first two additions, then run the wort through 500 pounds of fresh-picked Crystals in the mash tun.
- Ninkasi’s Hop Fraiche – Crafted with over 500 pounds of Sterling hops grown at Goschie Farms in Silverton, a mere 70 miles from the brewery. Harvested literally hours before being added to the lauter turn.
- pFriem’s Fresh Hop Mosaic Belgian Wheat – Fragrant, fresh and floral, with dank flavors of blueberry and mango.
- pFriem’s Belgian Strong Dark – Belgians say, “Op uw gezondheid” when toasting, but you don’t have to speak Flemish to appreciate the bold, complex flavors of fig dipped in dark chocolate, ripe fruit and toffee in this immense ale.
- Sasquatch’s Celilo CDA – Celilo Falls was a fishing and trading hub for 15,000 years until a dam submerged it and ended a way of life. This CDA is big – just like the falls. As hoppy as an IPA and as black as a stout. Another brewery I need to check out here in Portland.
- Sasquatch’s Fresh Hopped Oregon Session Ale – “OSA” with fresh hop kettle additional as well as a generous dry hopping.
- Solera’s Chubby Bunny – Brewed exclusively with fresh Yakima Valley Simcoe hops, German pilsner and English Floor malts. An annual beer that changes a bit each year and gets a new name.
It’s been real Hood River Hop Fest 2013! I’ll be seeing you soon for ski season.
Ever been to the Hood River Hop Fest 2013? What did you think of it?