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The Ale List: Baerlic, Solera gain top of the Hops

SIPPING in the sunshine, at 2016 Hops Fest, returning on Sept. 23, 2017.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
SIPPING in the sunshine, at 2016 Hops Fest, returning on Sept. 23, 2017.



More than 4,750 fresh-hop beer lovers came to Hood River on Sept. 24 for the 13th annual Hood River Hops Fest, the Pacific Northwest’s largest fresh-hop beer festival. A total of 49 Oregon, Washington and California breweries — the most ever to be featured at Hood River Hops Fest — participated, with 63 original seasonal fresh-hop beers on tap.

New for this year’s festival was the Hood River Hops Fest Awards, which included the Best of the Fest and People’s Choice Awards, won by Baerlic Brewing Co. for its Pioneer Fresh Hop Special Bitter and Solera Brewery for its Bunny Lewbowski DIPA, respectively. A panel of 12 professionals also decided on the Oregon Beer Awards’ new Fresh Hop category during the event, with 76 festival and non-festival beers competing for gold.

“We’re always impressed with the range and depth of the original, regional fresh-hop beers showcased at Hood River Hops Fest, and this year was no exception. And with the most beers yet on tap this year, it was the perfect time to add the awards to the event, where both a professional panel and the thousands of attendees alike could weigh in on their favorites,” said Mike Glover, executive director of the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce, host of the event.

Hops Fest awards

Best of the Fest — Winner: Baerlic Brewing Co., Pioneer Fresh Hop Special Bitter; Silver: Sunriver Brewing Company, D’Bomb; Bronze: pFriem Family Brewers, Fresh Hop Mosaic Pale

Hood River Hops Fest People’s Choice Award — Winner: Solera Brewery: Bunny Lewbowski DIPA

Oregon Beer Awards Medalist, Fresh Hop Category — Gold: Baerlic Brewing Co., Pioneer Fresh Hop Special Bitter; Silver: Sunriver Brewing Company, D’Bomb; Bronze: pFriem Family Brewers, Fresh Hop Mosaic Pale

Full Sail scores at World Beer Awards

Full Sail Brewing won seven best of the U.S. medals at this year’s annual World Beer Awards, the international competition that uses a blind tasting system to choose the very best beers across the globe.

Session Premium Lager — which has 22 gold medals to its name already — won U.S. Best Helles/Münchner. Full Sail Blood Orange Wheat took home gold for U.S. Fruit & Vegetable Flavored Beer, Hop Pursuit IPA won silver for U.S. Pale Beer-IPA, Full Sail Classic IPA won silver for U.S. Pale Beer/Golden, Session Black won U.S. Best Dark Lager, Session Cream won the U.S. Best Cream Ales category, and Session IPA took bronze for U.S. Pale Ale.

“We don’t brew our beers to win medals, but it sure is fun when we do!” said Full Sail Executive Brewmaster Jamie Emmerson. “We love making world-class beer here in the small town of Hood River, and we’re incredibly proud of our broad variety of balanced beers taking home medals from this year’s World Beer Awards.”

Tap of the Week: Pumpkin Bier, pFriem Family Brewing (6.9 percent ABV, 15 IBU). Samurai Artist of the online New School Brewing writes that the ale is “one of the clearest signs this style is here to stay, and probably one of the most exciting additions to be released this year.” The ale is made with real roasted pumpkin and fermented with Belgian Ale yeast, and every aroma at play — vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, and clove — is distinct, along with the essence of pumpkin pie, as New School points out. All I can add is that like so many fine ales, it gains pleasant complexity when left to idle awhile, with new, warmer dimensions arising along with the conversation around it.”



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