Fall snuck up on us this year. Two weeks of a 90+ degree heat wave followed by 2 weeks of 45 degrees and raining. Welcome to Oregon.
Fall is also a fast moving time in the beer world. Fresh hop season has come and gone. By it’s nature, it’s very fleeting. Blink and you miss it. Despite the short time span, I feel like I saw a huge increase in the number of fresh hop beers this year. Several breweries I visited had multiple fresh hop offerings, which I don’t think I’ve seen before.
The highlight of the season has to be Level Beer‘s Fresh Hop Ready Player One. Fruity, piney hop flavors play nicely with the funky saison yeast. They actually had two versions, one draft and one canned, with different hops. The draft was more hop forward, the canned version more yeast funk forward. Both were good, but I preferred the funky can version. They also had a Fresh Hop Let’s Play pilsner that was solid, and a fresh hop Belgian Pale that went so fast I missed it.
Also, Breakside’s Fresh Hop What Rough Beast was a winner. Very nice hazy, dank IPA. Green Dragon Brew Crew’s Fresh Hop Sophie was nice, but interesting. Made with Rogue’s proprietary Revolution Hop, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. I also greatly enjoyed the Pyramid Fresh Hop Outburst.
Most of the draft fresh hop is probably gone by now, but there are some bottle offerings out there. Today at the store I saw Sierra Nevada Celebration and Double Mountain Killer Red.
Oktoberfest has come and gone as well, which is a shame. I’m disappointed I didn’t get to try more of the Oktoberfest offerings, especially from Sierra Nevada and Ninkasi. I think I saw the Sierra Nevada still out there, but it probably won’t be for long. Oh well. I did have a Sam Adams Oktoberfest while I was in Anaheim back in September, but it’s not quite the same when it’s 80 degrees and sunny.
Winter beer season exploded onto the scene this past weekend. Just in the last three days I’ve seen Ninkasi Sleigh’r, Deschutes Jubelale, Widmer Brrr, Pyramid Snowcap, Pelican Bad Santa and Full Sail Wassail. I grabbed a 6 pack of the Bad Santa today at Trader Joes, although I went there hoping to still find some Oktoberfest beers. Last year was the 30th Anniversary of Snow Cap and this year is the 30th Anniversary of Jubelale, so these are some very well loved and appreciated beers that have stood the test of time.
The other good news is now it’s dark beer season again! Time to break out some of those bottles that have been hibernating in the cellar, many since last year. There’s some Goose Island, Deschutes and Culmination in the near future. Watch for tasting notes for those.
As it says in the Dos Equis commercials, Stay Thirsty My Friends!