On September 8th, McMenamins brewery district managers arrived at Willamette Valley’s Sodbuster Farms as trucks overflowing with just-harvested Mosaic hops rolled in from the fields.
30- and 50-pound bags were packed, and the managers were off, racing to each of their breweries with the freshest of hops. Within minutes, these beautiful, fragrant Mosaics were added to fermenters filled with waiting beer. Some of those tanks will become the coveted Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale, while others are the creative fresh-hop visions of each brewer.
Mosaics are one of the last varieties to ripen. Earlier in the month-long harvest season, brewers crafted batches using fresh Cascade, Strata, Centennial and Sabras. The Northwest is a mecca of hop-growing, so they’re all within reach of our breweries, and you’ll find 30 fresh-hop beers on tap throughout McMenamins this fall, including some of our favorites reimagined with fresh hops: Hammerhead Ale, Sunflower IPA and Ghost Rabbit Pilsner.
Fresh hops are an enigma – both tough and delicate. Tough enough to withstand fermentation and come out with flavors flying, and yet so delicate they must be used immediately, lest they begin to compost right in the bag. That flavor and the incredible aroma – piney, citrusy, fresh, and just plain hoppy – are the very reason for the annual Running of the Brewers, and it floats over Hula Hoop Hazy, Fresh Hop Klickitat Pilsner, Son of Dankenstein Fresh Hop IPA and others you’ll find at the Inaugural Wilsonville Fresh-Hopped Brewfest on September 17.
Cheers to fresh hops and our talented brewers!