The Ale List: Hops Fest on Sept. 26 is just one part of fall’s fresh hops fervor

Hops Fest happens Sept. 26 but it is far from the only new thing happening, fresh hops or otherwise, in this beer-centric burg.

The Hops Fest location will be the same, at Fifth and Cascade, from noon to 8 p.m.

Entry-only tickets are $5; 21-and-over beer garden tickets are $15 and include commemorative glass mug and five 3.5-ounce taste tokens. Brewers tent tickets, $50, include access to the Official Hops Fest Brewers Tent, commemorative glass mug, 15 tokens and a ticket for the Painted Hills Beef Bar.

Admission for 21 and under is free: The venue is open to adults only from 5 p.m. until closing at 8 p.m..

(See the Chamber of Commerce website, for details).

Fresh hops beer updates

It’s fresh hops season at breweries throughout the Gorge. Jason Kahler of Solera Brewery in Parkdale traveled to Yakima and back on Wednesday for Citra hops to go into his 2015 fresh hops prepared for Hops Fest.

The beer is unnamed, but, in keeping with tradition, “it will probably involve the word rabbit,” Kahler said.

“It is so much fun preparing a special beer for Hops Fest. It’s a lot of work in a short amount of time but so much fun to see what comes out,” Kahler said.

Full Sail’s fresh-hopped ale is available at the brewery and at 64 Oz. growler station, on Third.

Logsdon Farmhouse Ales will ring in a fresh-hopped Saison.

Double Mountain will have its Killer Red Fresh Hop IRA on the shelves and taps throughout the Northwest, and Southern California next week.

“This year we are bringing back the Killer Brass Fresh Hop Strong Blonde Ale available in early October,” announced Double Mountain marketing director Anneke Myers.

“We also have a mystery fresh hop beer coming out this year using an experimental hop that has yet to be harvested. The brewers are busy plotting and creating the beer recipe for this mystery beer,” Myers said Thursday. “We will update the world through social media as soon as we get the juicy details on this exciting beer.”

Myers said Double Mountain will have a “small handful” of barrel aged beers that will be coming out sometime after fresh hops season is done: start looking for these late fall and early winter.

Hood River got a sneak peek at the Killer Red Thursday when it went on tap in the taproom. Killer Green Fresh Hop IPA will be soon to follow just in time for the Hood River Hops Fest.

Killer Green will be going out for distribution the first week of October.

Full Sail seeks Perle-fection

Full Sail’s Fresh Hop Pilsner is part of Full Sail’s Brewmaster Reserve series. It will be available in limited quantities through October on draft throughout the Pacific Northwest and at Full Sail’s Brew Pub in Hood River. This special offering will also be available at various fresh hop beer festivals. throughout the Pacific Northwest, including the Hood River Hops Festival, the Yakima Fresh Hop Festival and Portland Fresh Hop Festival.

This year, Full Sail celebrates the season’s first hops with Fresh Hop Pilsner which showcases the Perle hop variety.

“This beer highlights the brewer’s art as well as nature’s gift,” said Full Sail Executive Brewmaster, Jamie Emmerson. The hops were locally grown at Sodbuster Farms, which is a Salmon Safe certified hop grower.

Fresh Hop Pilsner is a hop lover’s delight, the freshly harvested Perle hops impart floral and sweet fruit notes to this special edition Pilsner. The beer presents a deep golden hue and white foamy head with a delicate floral and spicy nose. A pronounced malt body and slight sweetness complement flavors of mango, papaya, and spice that end with a crisp hop finish. Combined, this makes for a refreshing late summer brew. (ABV: 7.3 percent IBU: 54)

Every year the Full Sail brewers wait with anticipation for hop harvest and the chance to celebrate by brewing fresh hop beers. When the hops are at their peak, the brewers truck out to the hop fields to collect the aromatic bounty, according to Full Sail marketing director Sandra Evans. “These seasonal wonders will go from field to brewhouse 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. 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 within hours of picking while their oils and resins are still at their peak as there are distinct flavors and aromas that you can only get brewing with fresh hops.”

Bottle return effort re-Doubles

Double Mountain’s heavier glass used in bottling its Vaporizer, IRA and other brews, is designed to be returned for reuse rather than recycling for crushing. The brewery held its “Bottle Roundup” last week as a way to promote the opportunity to return the bottles to the brewery, and redeem them for extra beer.

Anneke Myers noted, “It doesn’t matter where the beer was purchased. All Double Mountain bottles can be brought to the taproom and your bartender or server will punch a punch card for each bottle returned.

Once you have returned a total of 20 punches you can redeem for a free beer (or similarly priced food item). Most vendors that sell Double Mountain beers will accept our bottles and will ensure that they will be returned to the brewery for reuse, Myers said.

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