HOOD RIVER, OR — One of the secrets to the wonderful flavors in beer is hops. Located in the heartland of hops, every year the Full Sail brewers wait with thirsty anticipation for hop harvest and the chance to celebrate by brewing fresh hop beers. When the hops are at their peak, the Full Sail brewers truck out to the hop fields to collect the aromatic bounty. These seasonal wonders will go from field to brew kettle within a matter of hours and the magic begins.
“As brewers we are always reliant on nature’s bounty, from the quality of the barley harvest to how the hops weathered through the Oregon summer. But no moment brings this relationship to sharper focus than our fresh hop beers. This year, we celebrate the season’s first hops with four different beers: Lupulin, 3 brews of ale each featuring a different hop variety, and Hopfenfrisch, a Pilsner lager, showcasing a fourth variety. All highlight the brewer’s art as well as nature’s gift,” said Full Sail Executive Brewmaster, Jamie Emmerson.
“When we brew with fresh hops, timing is everything,” added Emmerson. “There’s such a small window of time to take advantage of these fresh hops. We need to get them into the brew kettle within hours of picking while their oils and resins are still at their peak. It takes five to seven times more hops to brew a fresh hop beer, and it’s absolutely worth it. The result is a subtle range of fresh hop flavors and aromas that you can only get brewing with fresh hops.”
According to Emmerson, each hop variety reaches peak maturity at a different time during harvest.
“For this year’s fresh hopped beers we brewed four different batches waiting each time for the right hops. To highlight the unique flavor of the different hop varieties, we brewed three ale batches using the same malts, but different hops. The beer’s balanced caramel character and malt body really let the hops shine brightly through on the palate. In the first batch we used Tettnangs, a classic old world noble hop. This beer has a full herbal character with a smooth spiciness. Next, we used Centennial hops which add a large fruity orange grapefruit citrus flavor. Then we brewed with big bold Magnum hops, a high alpha hop that imparts more bitterness per pound. The Magnum hops lend a subtle citrus flavor with a crisp hop flavor and finish. The flavors are slight orange and lime. In the lager version, Hopfenfrisch Pilsner lager, we used fresh harvested Perle, a close cousin to the North Brewer hop, which give the beer a strong herbal character with classic pils hop aromas. Combined with our lager yeast, these flavors make for a classic pilsner beer which give the beer a pleasant hop character. This pale gold aromatic brew was left unfiltered to preserve its smooth body and honeyed malt flavors. This beer is crisp and clean.”
The hop varieties were locally grown at Indie Hops, BC Hop farm and Sodbuster and Goschie Farms, which are both Salmon Safe certified hop growers.
Full Sail’s Fresh Hop beers are a veritable hop lover’s delight. The tiny lupulin glands inside the hop flowers, packed with sticky resins and essential oils, provide all that wonderful bitterness, flavor and aroma. These beers are all about hops; wet hopped, kettle hopped, hop back hopped, and dry hopped in the fermenter with 150 pounds of hops per batch. That’s 7.5 pounds of hops per barrel! Most products this fresh last only a short time. Please enjoy while you can.
Full Sail’s Lupulin and Hopfenfrisch are part of Full Sail’s rotating line up of Brewmaster Reserve beers. They will be available in limited quantities September to November on draught in pubs throughout the Pacific Northwest and at Full Sail’s Tasting Room and Pub in Hood River and at their Riverplace brewery in Portland, Oregon. They will also be available at various fresh hop beer festivals throughout the Pacific Northwest including the Hood River Hops Festival and the Yakima Fresh Hop Festival, both Saturday, October 1st. On October 8th they will be on tap at the Oaks Park Fresh Hop Festival in Portland, Oregon and at Fresh Hop Festival in Eugene. It will also be served Friday September 30th at the Great American Beer Festival at the Oregon Brewer’s Guild booth in the Support Your Local Brewer’s pavilion.