THE STORY OF A FRESH HOP BEER

For brewers and beer aficionados, it’s almost like Christmas morning.

We’re talking fresh hop harvest time in the Pacific Northwest, a glorious period when craft breweries dispatch delivery vans to the farms to collect the aromatic bounty. And then race back to the brewhouse as quickly as possible.

Right now, dozens of delicious fresh hop beers are being released in Oregon and Washington, ranging from IPAs to lagers. 

Out of an abundance of curiosity, Astoria Beer Zone hit the road to learn how one of those beers – Reach Break Brewing’s Fresh Hop IPA – came to be.

It’s a journey that started with a drive from downtown Astoria to Crosby Hop Farm in the Willamette Valley shortly after dawn and ended with 80 pounds of fragrant Centennial hops being loaded into the tank that afternoon. 

Well, not quite ended. The beer took another week to reach perfection before being kegged and canned.

After sampling the batch that day, Josh Allison, Reach Break’s founder and head brewer, smiled broadly.

“Here we are. We got it,” he said.

And now so do the rest of us.

Justin Kobe adding fresh hops to the tank.

Read about fresh-hopping in The Thirsty Growler column appearing Sept. 7 in The Astorian. 

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CHECK OUT THESE FUN TAPROOMS

Taprooms!

There are lots to choose from on the beer-soaked North Coast these days. 

They’re all mellow gathering places where beertenders cheerfully produce flights of assorted brews, “guests” are encouraged to linger, and families are welcome. Even babies in strollers.

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GROWLERS FADE, REPLACED BY CROWLERS

Pity the growler.

The big brown glass jug that’s been a symbol of craft brewing for decades is in the midst of a slow fade. Fewer customers are bringing them in for 64-ounce refills. Many breweries aren’t bothering to sell them anymore.

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