‘Tis the Season for Fresh Hop
Written by: Jack Nagle
A very special time of year has descended upon us. Oktoberfest? Pumpkin? Nay! Well, actually that too… BUT. Something else is afoot. Something more discrete. It’s a time that every true beer nerd with a penchant for hop consumption holds near and dear.
It’s Fresh Hop Season, Friends. Some of you are already giddy, I can tell. If you’re not yet hip to the Fresh Hop game, no worries! Everyone is welcome in this club. Modern brews typically use dried, cured, processed hops. In a Fresh Hop beer, these aromatic conical wonders are taken directly from the vine and put into a brew kettle within a matter of days, sometimes hours.
This swift transfer from vine to brew kettle results in a wondrously hoppy, flavorful brew. We are thrilled to announce the arrival of some truly special Fresh Hop Beers at CSA this year. Fremont Brewing’s Field to Ferment 2020 featuring Centennial and Sabro Hops and the Ecliptic Brewing Company’s Altair Fresh Hop Pale Ale featuring Strata and El Dorado hops.Why these beers? What makes them so special? Glad you asked. Both of these beers are brewed in Hop Country, Baby! The luscious Pacific Northwest has the most verdant, plentiful and flavorful hops in the country.
At Fremont, near Seattle, these hops jump from vine to kettle sometimes in under 12 hours! This year’s featured hops are Centennial and Sabro. This is like Grandmaster Flash hooking up with Kendrick Llamar for a grammy winning collaboration album. Centennial is classic hop that offers up that piney resinous flavor that we’ve all come to know and love in a West Coast IPA while the Sabro counter balances with a more tropical profile singing hints of coconut, stone fruit, and a little tangerine. This is a great chance to understand these hops better because hops exhibit their maximum flavor potential when fresh. It don’t get no fresher than Fremont.
Before we go onto Altair specifically, I think a little background on Ecliptic’s Brewmaster, John Harris, is in order. Have you ever enjoyed a Deschutes Black Butte Porter? A Mirror Pond Ale? Well, those are both John Harris originals. After laying down recipes that allowed Deschutes to become the 5th largest craft brewery in the country, he moved on to Full Sail brewing in Bend Oregon, where he spent 20 years as brewmaster.
When you enjoy an Altair Fresh Hop this year, reflect on the literal decades of master-level experience that went into that brew. Hops featured in Altair are Strata and El Dorado.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but this seasoned brewmaster has no problem taming new hops. El Dorado came on the scene about ten years ago and offers tropical fruit flavors and aromas to this fresh hop banger. Strata originated in Oregon and has been used widely in the market since 2018. It mirrors the tropical aromas and flavors of the El Dorado, but also contains aromas that may remind you of a different leafy green plant we favor here in Colorado…
You might have guessed it: These beers are best enjoyed FRESH. Check with your local liquor store, or head to the Brand Finder at www.csartisans.com to find the fresh hops near you!