One of the first breweries to release multiple fresh hop beers for the 2015 season is Laurelwood Brewing. Last week the Northeast Portland brewery tapped the first of its two flagship beers using fresh hops when it tapped Fresh Hop Workhorse IPA followed by Fresh Hop Free Range Red this week. These two fresh hop delights are currently on tap at its Northeast Pub but the freshies don’t stop there for Laurelwood, as there are four additional fresh hop beers in the works for a total of six fresh hop beer releases for 2015.
For Laurelwood Brewing’s Brewmaster, Shane Watterson this is the time of the season when him and his brew team have the opportunity to bond with local Willamette Valley hop farms. Laurelwood works closely with both Goschie Farms in Silverton, Oregon and Crosby Hop Farm in Woodburn to select the best fresh hops for its fresh hop lineup of beers.
“Fresh hop season helps Laurelwood grow its relationships with local farmers and it opens up a dialog about one of the most important ingredients in beer, which is a conversation beneficial to both of us,” says Watterson. “When farmers and brewers get to work together, the result is a hop that farmers are proud to grow and brewers are excited to use… And that results in a beer everyone loves to drink.”
One change from last year is that Laurelwood will not bottle any fresh hop beers as it did last year with both Fresh Hop Workhorse IPA and Fresh HopFree Range Red. The brewery decided its best to offer this seasonal beer only on draft. This way its customers will receive the freshest fresh hop beer possible. If someone feels the need to take some fresh hop beer home swing on by the brewery for a growler fill.
After visiting the brewpub on Wednesday to drink both the Fresh Hop Workhorse IPA and Fresh Hop Free Range Red, we can definitely say that the hops are providing some tasty beers this season. The first beer ordered was Fresh Hop Free Range Red, a beer that featured an additional 160 pounds of fresh Amarillo hops added to the brite tank. The result is a slightly added hop flavor that works well with the standard maltier base beer.
However, the big delight of the afternoon was with Laurelwood’s Fresh Hop Workhorse IPA. Once again this beer lives up to its reputation as being one of the best fresh hop beers on the market. The current fresh hop version of Workhorse IPA uses 160 pounds of freshly harvested Centennial hops from Crosby Hop Farm. This is one beer that is hard to only drink one of. It offers a pleasant hop profile that delivers an enticing floral flavor that is sure to delight any fresh hop beer fan.
The next two fresh hop releases from Laurelwood will be a new Fresh Hop Kolsch brewed with Goschie Farms’ Willamette hops followed by its Fresh Hop Laurelfest Lager just in time for Laurelfest 2015 that will take place on Saturday, September 19 at its NE Portland location. This will once again be a family friendly afternoon and evening of live music, cornhole, BBQ specials, bouncy house, and four fresh hop beers. Stay tuned for more details.
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.