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Portland Fresh Hop Festival Review

Portland Fresh Hop Festival Review
Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

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Few things get me more excited than fresh hop season in Oregon.  When I moved to Portland in 2010, I went to many of the medium to large-size summer beer festivals (Oregon Brewer’s Fest, North American Organic Brewers Festival, Portland International Brewfest, etc.), but what really twisted my wig was the far less-attended Portland Fresh Hop Beer Festival (formerly Tastival) at Oaks Amusement Park in the Sellwood neighborhood of SE Portland.  Oaks Amusement Park, located adjacent to the Willamette River, was opened in 1905, and looks to have been tastefully remodeled to period several times over the past century.  The Fresh Hop Festival takes place in early October each year just outside the gates to Oaks Amusement Park and is put on by the Oregon Brewer’s Guild.  The festival features fresh hop beers brewed in Oregon breweries with hops primarily grown in Oregon.  This year was my 4th Portland Fresh Hop Beer Festival, and first that I have covered for Porch Drinking.

IMG_1709  This festival takes place over a Friday night and Saturday day and kegs begin blowing as as early as 2pm on Saturday, so serious attendees arrive by the noon kickoff on Saturday (many by bike, as the park is just off the Springwater Corridor path).  The beers are poured under a giant tent, though the past few years, the Oregon sun gods have smiled upon the festival.  The taps are accompanied by live music under the tent.  Outside, some food and craft vendors sparsely line the perimeter.  Everyone is always in good spirits, and the beer geek level is usually hovering around 8 out of 10.  Tasting conversations can be heard from the tables in the tent, circles of friends loitering outside in the park or in the line to buy Eugene, Oregon’s favorite beer nuts, Doug’s Nuts (yes, I am partial to the name, but these are delicious).

  This year, 60 fresh hop beers were part of the festival.  Though I wanted to try them all, I was able to sample 20 of them in 4oz tasters (Don’t judge me; it was over a 5 hour period; though I must admit, I was pretty, um, “festive” by the conclusion of my day).  My mega-flight consisted of:

 Collage

– Gigantic Brewing “Sodbusted Simcoe” Fresh Hop (Simcoe)

– Migration Brewing “Better Off Fresh” IPA (Crystals, 7.5 ABV, 85 IBU)

– Hop Valley “Citra Self Down” Pale Ale (Citra Hop, Magnum)

– Crux Fermentation “Off the Fence” Belgian Pale Ale (Cascade)

– Oakshire Brewing “Rogue” Belgian Red Rye IPA (Cascade Hops from Crosby Farms, ABV 6.1)

– Upright Brewing “The Hop and The Abstract Truth” Fresh Hop Saison (Goldings)

– Breakside Brewery “If It’s Wet and Not Yours, Don’t Touch It” American Fresh Hop IPA (Citra)

– Logsdon Farmhouse Ales “Citra Fresh Seizon” (Primarily Citra, 8+ Others)

– Caldera Brewing Co. Fresh Hop Ale (Cascade, 4.6 ABV)

– Laurelwood Brewing Co “Fresh Hop Workhorse” IPA (Armarillo)

– Ninkasi “Total Crystallization” Fresh Hopped IPA (Summit, Armarillo, Crystal)

– Hopworks Urban Brewery “Bitchin’ Camero” Lager (Crystal, 60 IBU)

– Sasquatch Brewery “Celilo CDA” Fresh Hop (Chinook)

– Base Camp Brewing Co. “In 2-Tents Double Wet Hop Imperial India Pale Lager” (Centennial, Meridian)

– Klamath Basin Brewing Company “Fresh Hopican Pale Ale” (Mosaic)

– Beer Valley Brewing “Leafer Madness Fresh Hop” Imperial Pale Ale (Chinook)

– Stickmen Brewery “Cascade SMaSH” Pale Ale (Cascade Hops from Crosby Farms)

– Worthy Brewing Co. “Hop Gusher” Fresh Hop Session Style IPA (Meridian, 80 IBU)

– Three Creeks Brewing Co. “Cone Lick’r” Fresh Hop Pale (Goldings)

 

My personal favorites at the festival were:

Gold: Gigantic Brewing “Sodbusted Simcoe” Fresh Hop (Simcoe)

Silver: Laurelwood Brewing Co “Fresh Hop Workhorse” IPA (Armarillo)

Bronze: Logsdon Farmhouse Ales “Citra Fresh Seizon” (Primarily Citra, 8+ Others)

Runners Up:

Migration Brewing “Better Off Fresh” IPA (Crystals, 7.5 ABV, 85 IBU)

Oakshire Brewing “Rogue” Belgian Red Rye IPA (Cascade Hops from Crosby Farms, ABV 6.1)

Other Favorite Fresh Hop Beers From This Season:

Fort George Fresh Hop Sunrise OPA (Centennial)

Double Mountain Killer Red IRA (Perle)

Double Mountain Killer Green IPA (Brewer’s Gold)

Deschutes Chasin’ Freshies IPA (Amarillo)

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Overall Favorites of The 2013 Fresh Hop Season

Gold: Gigantic Brewing “Sodbusted Simcoe” Fresh Hop (Simcoe)

Silver: Double Mountain Killer Red  IRA (Perle)

Bronze: Deschutes Chasin’ Freshies IPA (Amarillo)

 

I can’t wait until the harvest next year, but my liver sure can!  If you are planning a trip to Portland sometime in 2014 to sample some of our delicious brews, I would highly recommend skipping the major festivals in Portland to come to the Portland Fresh Hop Festival to taste the freshest beers that our state has to offer.  Just don’t tell too many of your friends about it, or the lines are going to get long!

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Links:

http://oakspark.com/

http://oregoncraftbeer.org/

http://giganticbrewing.com/

http://laurelwoodbrewpub.com/

http://www.farmhousebeer.com/

http://migrationbrewing.com/

http://oakbrew.com/

http://www.fortgeorgebrewery.com/

http://doublemountainbrewery.com/

http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/

http://dougsnuts.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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