As Oregon hop farmers are in the midst of the 2023 hop harvest, fresh hop beers continue to be released. One brewery set to release its versions is Gigantic Brewing as it will release four fresh hop beers this season, all from the hop harvest in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. This year, the brewery worked with Sodbuster Farms in Keizer and Goschie Farms in Silverton, who supply some of the finest hops in the Pacific Northwest.
Beginning today, Gigantic Brewing will release its first fresh hop beer of the season, Sodbusted XI: The Book of Simcoe Fett – Fresh Hop IPA. This one will be followed in the coming days and weeks by Strata Fresh Hop Hazy IPA aka “So Fresh”, Fresh Hop Pilsner, and Freshtoberfresh Fresh Hop Oktoberfest Lager.
“The brewing calendar really revolves around this period in late August through September when the hop harvest comes in,” stated Gigantic Masterbrewer Van Havig. “Germany may have Oktoberfest, but Oregon has fresh hop season, and these beers are the way in which we at Gigantic celebrate the seasonality of our craft and our relationship to the farmers upon which we rely.”
According to Gigantic, there is no “right” way to make fresh hop beers, but its method relies upon its brew house which co-founders Ben Love and Havig specifically designed to use whole hop flowers. As a result, the brewery’s fresh hop beers are made with hops at the peak of their ripeness, with less than 1 1/4 hours passing from the field to the brewery. These freshly picked beauties go straight into the brewery’s hop back at 200 to 300 lbs for 15 barrels of beer, where the hot wort extracts all of their delicate, delicious oils. This method takes a bit more time, but we feel it truly tests the brewer’s knowledge of hops.
“There are faster ways to release a fresh hop beer, but we think this method, and the subsequent wait, results in the best fresh hop beers we can make,” said Love. “We hope you’ll agree.”
To learn more about each of the fresh hop releases from Gigantic Brewing, below are descriptions and release dates for all four beers as provided by the brewery.
Sodbusted XI: The Book of Simcoe Fett – Fresh Hop IPA: 6.2% ABV, made with 20lbs/BBL of Doug Weather’s finest fresh Simcoe hops from Sodbuster Farms in Keizer, OR. Continuing our 11 year partnership with Sodbuster Farms, we always wait for them to pick the best of the Simcoe hops to make this beer. Simcoe is loaded with grapefruit and piney punchy hop aromas and it works really great in our system and the way we make fresh hop beers. Some things are a classic because they’re good. Packaging September 7th and available that day in bottle and draft at the Brewery, Hawthorne Pub, and Robot Room. Look for it in the Portland area the following week.
Strata Fresh Hop Hazy IPA aka “So Fresh”: 6.2% ABV, made with 14lbs/BBL of Gayle Goschie’s finest fresh Strata hops. Strata is THE Oregon hop – we love it for its punchy, juicy, passionfruit flavors and how it lends itself to the hazy style. This makes it perfect to showcase in a fresh hop hazy beer. Packaging September 8th and available that day in bottle and draft at the Brewery, Hawthorne Pub, and Robot Room. Look for it in the Portland area the following week.
Fresh Hop Pilsner: 5.2% ABV, made with 14lbs/BBL of Gayle Goschie’s finest fresh Tettnanger hops. Enjoy soft, bready malt characteristics, noticeable floral notes, and a spicy wet hop character. The Germans wish they could make a beer like this. Packaging September 11th and available that day in bottle and draft at the Brewery, Hawthorne Pub, and Robot Room.. Look for it in the Portland area later that week.
Freshtoberfresh Fresh Hop Oktoberfest Lager: 5.8% ABV, made with 14lbs/BBL of Gayle Goschie’s finest fresh Willamette hops. This traditional Oktoberfest style beer has rich bready and malty flavors counterpointed with bright fruity and spicy hop notes, making it a uniquely Oregonian take on the classic seasonal German beer. Packaging September 25th to mark the end of the harvest season and Oktoberfest. Available on draft at the Brewery, Hawthorne Pub, and Robot Room on September 25th. Look for it in the Portland area later in the week.
Gigantic Brewing Taproom & Brewery 5224 SE 26th Ave Portland, OR 97202
Gigantic Hawthorne 4343 SE Hawthorne Blvd Portland, OR 97215
Gigantic Robot Room at REM 6935 NE Glisan St Portland, OR 97213
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.