Skip navigation
  • Fresh Hops 2012: Wet Hop Beers & Hop Festivals

    2 New Oakshire Beers Feature Oregon-Grown Centennial & Chinook Wet Hops

    This time of year is special for everyone who loves Oregon craft beer: It's time for fresh hop beers, brewed with wet hops straight from the farm. (By the way, "fresh hops" and "wet hops" are often used interchangeably.)

    At Oakshire, we know hop harvest comes and goes faster than you can drink a 2 oz. taster. That's why we make September all about fresh hops. You'll see us at 2 Oregon hops festivals this month (plus 2 in October), and we're releasing 2 fresh hop beers.

    And we mean fresh. Along with Washington's Yakima Valley, Oregon's Willamette Valley is prime hop country. Hop shoots start poking out of the ground in early spring, and mature hop cones are ready to harvest through August and September. When the hops are ready to pick, Matt Van Wyk and the Oakshire brewing team are ready to rock. They recently brought back big hauls of Centennial hops from Crosby Hop Farm in Woodburn, and Chinook hops from Plough Monday Farm in Elmira. And every cone went straight from field, to truck, to brew kettle.

    This Year's Fresh Hops: Centennial & Chinook

    The choice of hops is no accident. We plan our beers around the hops and the hops around the beers.

    Centennial: Homebrew guru Charlie Papazian describes Centennial hops as a "supercharged" Cascade hop, noted for its aroma and citrus character. Since it shines in IPAs and Pale Ales, we've made fresh Centennial hops the centerpiece of one of our 2012 fresh hop beers, 100 Hops Pale Ale.

    Chinook: The phrase "Chinook hops" might as well be a synonym for words like "intense" and "strong." This powerhouse hop brings the bitter like a Northwest winter brings the rain. We've built Ask the Fish, a Northwest-style Red Ale, around Chinook's spicy, floral, citrus and piney characteristics.

    But What Makes It a Fresh Hop Beer?

    Here's the thing though: fresh hops are about adding unique characteristics to beers that already rock a style.

    What makes fresh hop beers different? The Brewers Association, a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, describes Fresh Hop Ales like this:

    "Fresh hop ales are hopped exclusively with fresh and undried ('wet') hops. This ale should have characters similar to the style to which it is brewed with the added nuances of green, almost chlorophyll-like character with fresh, new beers. These beers may be aged and enjoyed after the initial “fresh-hop” character diminishes. Unique character from “aged” fresh hop beers may emerge"

    That's the key. Straight-from-the-vine "wet" hops bring additional, delicate flavors and aromas to a beer. For the senses, their unique characteristics build on what should already be a well-crafted beer, just as a good icing enhances an already-awesome cake.

    But fresh hop beers are good for the soul, too.

    When you sniff a pint of wet hop beer, you smell the harvest and appreciate the briefness of harvest time. You absorb the essence of summer sunshine, fresh-tilled earth and the terroir that is part of our Willamette Valley home and heritage. Fresh hop beers are about respecting the season and the farmers who work hard for our sustenance and enjoyment. They are about freshness and craft, and they are about enjoying the transition time between summer and fall, celebrating and commemorating life's events, and sharing time with those who matter to us.

    That's the thing about a fresh hop beer. They're fun to make, and there's only one time of year we can make them. And something like that, well, it just can't help but bring out a bit of the poetry that goes into brewing.

    Now let's talk about those beers.

    2012 Fresh Hop Beers

    100 Hops Pale Ale

    The name is the recipe. Brewed with Centennial Hops from Crosby Farms in Woodburn, 100 Hops Pale Ale is brewed with 100 pounds of wet Centennials per batch. We've crafted this beer to bring out the intertwining of the citrus and "green" characteristics of the fresh Centennials.

    With an OG of 12.0 and 5.4% ABV, 100 Hops Pale Ale will be ready for you on Friday, Sept. 14.

    Ask the Fish Northwest-style Red Ale

    For Ask the Fish, we've combined the rich color of a Red Ale with the Northwest-style hop punch that only fresh Chinooks can bring. Brewed with Chinook Hops from Plough Monday farms in Elmira, Ask The Fish weighs in with a 13.5 OG and a 6.0% ABV. It's coming to you Tuesday, Sept. 25.

    We'll tell you more about these beers as they come available.

    Oakshire Beers Pouring at Oregon Hop Festivals

    To wrap things up, you can enjoy all things Oakshire, craft beer and fresh hops at 3 upcoming hop festivals:

    Sisters Fresh Hop Festival, Sept. 29. Taste fresh hop beer from over 10 breweries, plus enjoy live entertainment and food booths. Location: Village Green Park under the tent. When: 12-8pm, Sat., Sept. 29. Contact: or call 541-549-0251. More info at the Sisters Fresh Hop Festival website »

    Hood River Hops Festival, Sept. 29. Hood River County Chamber of Commerce hosts a beer lover’s dream when fresh-hopped brews from 30+ craft brewers are on tap. The event showcases Hood River County’s own microbreweries as well as some of the best brewers from Oregon, Washington and California. Location: between 5th & 7th Streets and Cascade and Columbia Streets in downtown Hood River. When: 12-9pm, Sat., Sept. 29. If you're on Twitter, you can also follow on-the-spot updates at hashtag #hrhops12. More info at the Hood River Hops Festival website »

    Portland Fresh Hops Fest, Oct. 6. Converge on Oaks Amusement Park in Portland for fresh hop beers from around the region. Minors also welcome. Root beer and lemonade for sale, with proceeds benefiting the Llewellyn Foundation. Location: Oaks Amusement Park, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland. When: 12-8pm, Sat., Oct. 6. More info at the Oregon Brewers Guild website »

    See you there! We'll tell you more about these and other events later in the month.

    Willamette Valley Fresh Hops Festival, Oct. 20. The Lane Events Center in downtown Eugene has your ticket to dozens of fresh hop beers from the Northwest. Location: Lane Events Center, 13th Avenue at Jefferson, Eugene. When: 12-9pm, Sat., Oct. 20. More info at the Oregon Brewers Guild website »

    See you there! We'll tell you more about these and other events later in the month.

    Back to The BreweryBack to Blog Reel