September and October is hop harvest season. Hops, or the flowers of the plant Humulus lupulus, have been used to impart flavor and freshness to beer for centuries. Most beer is made from dried hop flower buds. However, in early autumn, some brewers decide to take their inspiration from “fresh” or “wet” hop infusions.
This year, brew fans can celebrate and toast the bounty of the season with “fresh hop” ales, made with newly plucked hops that are sent from the farm and added to the fermentation tanks within 48 hours of harvest. These freshly hopped ales are often a one-time release and can be elusive. Visit the Co-op’s new farm-to-table restaurant Third Street Cafe and try the rotating selection of fresh ales from Boundary Bay and Kulshan Brewing. Look for seasonal fresh hop ales in our Beer and Cider department, but don’t delay — fresh hop time is now!
- Amarillo Fresh Hop Pale Ale from Reubens Brews of Seattle, WA – 6% alcohol by volume / 35 IBU. This ale showcases the flavors of the Amarillo hop variety, with earthy notes of lemongrass, papaya, Kaffir lime leaf, and orange spice. It has a dense, lemony cap of foam, encasing an aromatic, hazy golden brew. Overall, this Fresh Hop drinks for a lighter flavor than many American IPAs, and delivers a dry, slightly sweet “green” finish. Pair this fresh hopped ale with BLTs, peanut butter and jelly crackers, or roasted squash soup. Reubens Brews Amarillo Fresh Hop Pale Ale is now $8.99 per 22 oz bottle.
- Hop Elation Fresh Hop Ale from Hales Ales of Seattle, WA – 5.8% alcohol by volume / 60(ish) IBU – this seasonal release from one of the Sound’s oldest micro breweries focuses on the flavors of the Simcoe hop variety. Brewed with 300 lbs of fresh Simcoe hops from Yakima, this brew exudes piney and herbal aroma, with a hint of lime zest. Deep golden color with just a slight bitterness, the beer finishes with a dry aftertaste. Hop Elation’s bright, distinctive tropical hop flavors are balanced with a refined malt profile of Vienna and Torrefied Wheat that results in a bold, yet drinkable seasonal ale. Hop Elation is on sale now for $4.99 per 22 oz bottle.