Fall is coming to the Pacific Northwest and that means the return of fresh hop beers and the Oregon Brewer’s Guild (OBG) Fresh Hop Fests. Four Fresh Hop Fests – similar to traditional outdoor beer festivals – are scheduled across the state in September and October as part of the Oregon Bounty culinary tourism program. Each Fresh Hop Fest will feature original limited release fresh hop beers produced by OBG members. Fresh hop beers are only produced during the small window of Oregon’s hop harvest, which typically takes place from mid-August to mid-September. These once-a-year beers are ready for consumption in September and October and are packed with unique flavors that simply aren’t available the rest of the year.
Oregon is home to 120 brewing companies, and nearly 100 fresh hop beers will be made during the hop harvest. “We are lucky to have so many breweries within minutes of the hop fields that supply the aroma and flavor hops to the US craft beer industry,” explains Brian Butenschoen, Executive Director of the Oregon Brewers Guild. “The goal of the Fresh Hop Fests is to gather these limited beers in one location for consumers to try and enjoy – in many regions, this is the only time for consumers to try so many fresh hop beers at the same time.”
Fresh hop beers are growing in popularity across the nation, but Oregon’s abundance of hop vineyards and status as the second largest hop-growing region in the United States gives the state a distinct advantage in fresh hop beer production. Fresh hops are extremely fragile and need to be dried or used within 24 hours, ideal for Oregon, where nearly 140 of the state’s breweries are within 150 miles of a hop field. Fresh hops are picked straight off the vine, then bypass the hop kiln and are shipped directly to the brewery to be immediately added to the brew kettle. “Oregon’s hop growing community is especially rare,” explains Nancy Frketich of the Oregon Hop Commission. “I can’t think of any other brewing community in the world where you have 100 specialty fresh hop beers made around a single harvest.”
Fresh Hop Fests will be held across the state between September 29th and October 20th, 2012. Fresh Hop Fests hours vary and can be found at http://oregonbeer.org/freshhopsfest/. Most events start at Noon and Souvenir tasting glasses are required to sample beers. Individual beer samples are $1 each. Food will also be available for purchase. Fresh Hop Fests dates and locations include:
- September 29th – Hood River Hops, Downtown, Hood River, OR
- September 29th – Sisters Fresh Hop Fest, Village Green Park, Sisters, OR
- October 6th – Portland Fresh Hops Fest, Oaks Amusement Park, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland. $ 15 for a glass and 5 drink tickets. $ 20 for a glass and 10 drink tickets. Cash only – Minors permitted – Glass sales till 7 PM – Drink ticket sales till 7:30 PM. Free root beer for kids courtesy of Portland U-Brew & Pub. Homebrewing demonstration by Portland U-Brew & Pub.
- October 20th—Willamette Valley Fresh Hops Fest, Lane Events Center, Eugene, OR
For more information or to view video of last year’s Fresh Hop Fests, please visit http://oregonbeer.org/freshhopsfest/
About the Oregon Brewers Guild
The Oregon Brewers Guild is Oregon’s non-profit trade association for the state’s independent breweries. The Guild, which receives no state funding, comprises 90 brewing companies, 63 Associate or supplier members, and nearly 3,300 enthusiast members or S.N.O.B.s (Supporters of Native Oregon Beer). For more information, visit www.OregonBeer.org.