Now that Fall Hop Harvest is complete, it’s time to focus on those newborn beautiful hops. Some will be kilned (dried), and some will be unkilned (wet), but all will be fresh. Brewers love using these fresh hops for their hugely aromatic and flavorful profiles, while achieving minimal bitterness. One stressor for brewers of fresh hop beers is the fact that the shelf life of fresh hops is no longer than 24 hours. Ideally, the hops go right from the vine into the beer to retain all those delicious, juicy, resinous flavors being sought. Because these hops are so fresh, they are much less concentrated, which requires, you guessed it, the use of MORE HOPS.
For this reason, many microbreweries use hops from their local hop farms. However, there are those who have skirted the crazy logistical nightmare and figured out how to get those premier Pacific Northwest hops fresh.
Now onto the brews! -Will
Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Petaluma, CA | Born Yesterday (2019) | American Pale Ale
When this beer hits stores, it was literally Born Yesterday. Meaning that it was brewed and bottled, shipped overnight, and delivered all within, like, 18 hours? I suppose by the time you read this, it’ll be more like ‘Born A Few Days Ago’, but it’ll still taste supa’ fresh.
Lagunitas nabs these hops from the Yakima Valley and it able to conceive within 24 hours. The short mating period leads to a short life, so make sure to drink this one up quick.
“Congrats, it’s a beer!”
6 pk btls | 7.2% ABV | No IBU
Castle Danger Brewery
Two Harbors, MN | Mosaic Fresh Hop (2019) | American IPA
Ahh, Castle Danger’s Mosaic Fresh Hop. I don’t know about other states, but this is easily the best and most coveted annual release of a fresh hop in Minnesota. This is always the first one that people ask about starting in September and will be the last one that people ask about come the end of the fresh hop season.
The Mosaic hops used in this beer are grown in the Pacific Northwest, shocker, and picked and shipped to Two Harbors in less than a day’s time. As soon as they arrive on Castle Danger’s campus, they’re thrown right into the wort and the juicy, fruity, tropical notes immediately begin to express themselves.
4 pk cans | 6.8% ABV | No IBU
Lupulin Brewing Co.
Big Lake, MN | Mighty Wet | American IPA
Mighty Wet is Lupulin’s first ever fresh hop brew, and, well, they nailed it. They used hops from Minnesota’s own Mighty Axe Hops in Foley. Less than an hour from the time of harvest, the hops are in the wort, and the crazy aromatics and flavors are extracted. They decided to ramp it up a notch and do a second infusion with some more fresh hops.
Clean, crisp, pungent, malty, fresh, and overall just a damn good beer.
4 pk cans | 6.5% ABV | 50 IBU
Founders Brewing Co.
Grand Rapids, MI | Harvest Ale (2019) | American IPA
It seems like each special release from Founders is cash money. Talk about some of their barrel aged stuff, but their Harvest Ale is one of the best fresh hop beers every single year. As they say, their brewery starts to resemble a “greenhouse as thousands of pounds of wet hop cones arrive within hours of being picked by some of our favorite local hop growers.”
The hops sit around for no more than a few hours before they’re thrown into the brew and become Harvest Ale. This beer is extremely aromatic, with notes of fresh pine, melon, and citrus, and minimal bitterness on the finish.
4 pk btls | 7.6% ABV | 70 IBU
Become a Top Ten Liquors Rewards Member, it’s free and you can sign-up at any of our locations.