Fort George Fresh Hop Takeover at Portland Imperial Bottle Shop
The Imperial Bottle Shop in the Richmond neighborhood of southeast Portland opened two months ago, and they already are making a big name for themselves amongst the well established bottle shops in the city.
They have everything that a beer nerd needs: 16 taps, 64 oz. growlers and 16 oz. bottle fills, multiple beer coolers full of aptly chosen craft beers, as well as, shelves of warm beers. But, don’t worry, they have a cooling system that will chill those warm bottles in five minutes. Fort George, represented by local beer scenester and Fort George representative, Tim Ensign, chose Imperial as the location to debut their four fresh hop beers for 2013 with a $12 flight of 8 oz. pours.
Astoria, Oregon’s Fort George Brewery released four fresh hop ales for the 2013 harvest: Hopstoria Ale fresh hopped with Citra and dry hopped with fresh Mosaic, Sunrise OPA (Oatmeal Pale Ale) fresh hopped with Centennial and dry hopped with fresh Citra, Co-Hoperative Ale fresh hopped with homegrown hops donated by the local Astorian homebrewers and Fresh Hop XVI Chapel fresh hopped with Simcoe and dry hopped with Zythos.
The flight began with the extremely light Hopstoria Ale fresh hopped with Citra and dry hopped with fresh Mosaic hops. This beer was an impossible 4.4% ABV that packed an intensively tropical hop profile. The pour is light pale yellow with a bright white head.
The collaboration of Mosaic and Citra hops created an intensely skunky flavor that seemed to marry the German Noble with the Pacific Northwest hop varietals. The Mosaics dominated, as they have in every beer that they have been added to in their short existence. This beer was outstanding.
Co-Hoperative Ale fresh hopped with homegrown hops donated by the local Astorian homebrewers was next in the flight. This 5% ABV red-orange ale smelled faintly of Belgian yeast and pepper. The hop character is difficult to characterize (as you would imagine), but the accumulative result was surprisingly spicy in the finish. The yeast mixed nicely with the spicy hops and created a dry mouthfeel.
Next came the Fresh Hop XVI Chapel fresh hopped with Simcoe and dry hopped with Zythos. The Zythos were the only hops in this flight that were not fresh. This beer was a fresh hopped version of Fort George’s signature Vortex IPA, brewed with the Belgian yeast strain used in the yearly XVI Chapel limited release. It was dirty and malty with an intense biscuit profile that was lighter with each sip. This was surely heaviest beer in the flight, weighing in at 7.7% ABV, yet was not able to feature the hops as well as the lighter beers in the flight.
The final beer in my flight (and admittedly enjoyed in a 20 oz. imperial pint prior to the flight) was the Sunrise OPA (Oatmeal Pale Ale) fresh hopped with Centennial and dry hopped with fresh Citra. I profiled the OPA for PorchDrinking some months back, and mentioned that this fresh hopped version was my favorite beer. I am happy to report that is still is at the top of my list. The creamy, oat flavor of the beer is the most present flavor, that tails off into a delicious hop finish. At 5.5% ABV, this beer packs the prefect blend of malt and hops. Its appearance is similar in color yet is more translucent than the year-round version. Please make sure that I get a few more sips on my death bed! This is “last meal” caliber beer!
It’s fresh hop season in Portland and this is basically Christmas for us beer enthusiasts in the area! My next post will be a report out from the Fresh Hop Festival in Hood River, OR which will feature one or more of these Fort George releases. I can’t wait to have another!
Check out the links below for more information on the beers consumed, breweries and the festival.