“Immediately after harvest, hops are quickly dried before packaging. Drying and cooling stabilizes the hop components, but it also changes them ... in order to capture the most evanescent volatile elements, brewers collect hops from the fields and race them back to waiting kettles. The length of time between picking and brewing is never more than a few hours ...” — Jeff Alworth, The Beer Bible.
The result of this fresh-hop process will be tasted Sept. 22 at the 15th annual Hood River Hops Fest, the only Oregon beer festival featuring nothing but fresh-hopped ales.
Nine breweries new to Hood River Hops Fest will bring their fresh-hopped wares to the event, at the Fifth and Columbia lot in downtown Hood River.
More than 40 Pacific Northwest breweries will debut their seasonal fresh-hop beers at the all-day event, hosted by Hood River Chamber of Commerce. Hours are noon to 8 p.m.
With more than 60 unique varieties available for tasting, the Hood River Hops Fest boasts one of the largest fresh-hop selections in the nation.
The additions to the lineup include two Gorge breweries, Ferment of Hood River and Dwinell Country Ales of Goldendale, along with Ex Novo Brewing Company, Ancestry Brewing, Ascendant Beer Company, Base Camp Brewing Company, Klamath Basin Brewing, Silver Moon Brewing, and West Coast Grocery Company.
Hops Fest features local cuisine, arts and crafts vendors, and live music. Children are welcome throughout the afternoon. The venue is open to adults only from 5-to 8 p.m.
Admission is $15 pre-sale and $20 day of the event for those 21 and over. This includes commemorative glass mug and five 3.5-ounce taste tokens (more for sale separately). Tickets can be purchased in advance at hoodriver.org/hops-fest, or at the entrance the day of the event.
Entry-only tickets are $10. Free admission for those 21 and over, but the festival is 21-and-over after 5 p.m.
Breweries at Hops Fest will include all Gorge brewirers, Beer Valley of Ontario, Bridgeport, Deschutes, Seatle’s Georgetown, Buoy Beer Company, Klamath Basin, Ordnance Brewing of Boardman, Silver Moon of Silverton, Lucky Labrador, Stickmen of Tualatin, Wild Ride of Redmond, Worthy of Bend, and Zoiglhaus of Portland.
Numerous Hood River breweries, including Double Mountain Brewery, Full Sail Brewing and pFriem Family Brewers, are once again participating in the festival and showcasing their 2018 fresh-hop ales, alongside other regional heavyweights. Making its debut at Hops Fest is festival sponsor Hood River Distillers, which will be featuring its new hopped whiskey created in collaboration with Double Mountain. A small selection of local ciders will also be on tap, along with select wines from Naked Winery.
The Sodbuster Farms’ Lupulus Award — an interactive judging expe rience for festival attendees — is back for a second year. The inaugural 2017 people’s choice award went to Double Mountain Brewery for its Killer Lion beer.
Hops Fest musical line-up: Noon — Tony Smiley; 2 p.m. — The Kinky Brothers; 4 p.m. — Greenneck Daredevils; 6 p.m. — Ural Thomas & the Pain.