Vine to pint
This article was originally published in September 2016
Fall means malty Märzen-style lagers in honor of Oktoberfest, spicy pumpkin beers that beckon for cooler days and fresh hop ales to celebrate the harvest.
These fresh hop (also known as wet hop) brews are the perfect embodiment of the season. Traditionally when the hop crop reaches maturity in late August and early September, the hops are harvested and dried, then used in many of the IPAs and pale ales we love. However, many breweries now are brewing batches of hops while they’re still fresh. This process must take place within 24 hours of the hops being picked (the window is that brief!), but the result is freshly vibrant beer that exudes the true hop flavor — piney, earthy, delicate and green.
Fresh hop beers are less pungent than typical “hoppy” beers, with a softer, subtler flavor that is a real taste of the season. Check out these fresh-hop ales, as well as a few other favorites for fall.
Farm to Ferment Fresh Hop Pale Ale
New for 2016, Farm to Ferment is brewed with 100 percent Washington-grown fresh hops. They lend a strong, juicy, citrus character to this Seattle beer arriving in early September.
Double Mountain Brewery
Killer Green Fresh Hop IPA
Abundant orange rind and caramel-tinged malt meet clean, green, bountiful hops with pronounced herbal notes of mint and oregano in this bold brew made in Hood River, Ore.
This first-rate Fest Märzen hails from a 1200-year-old village at the foot of the Alps, where the family-owned Ayinger Brewery has been operating since 1878. It offers generous, caramelly malt, with bright hop notes and a dry, satisfying finish.
A faithful rendering of classic Bavarian Dark Märzen, this Montana-brewed deliciousness is malty but not too sweet, with a nice touch of hops.
The tasty collaboration between Sierra Nevada and a family-owned German brewery that’s been in business since 1670, this festival lager provides a palette of crisp, complex malts complemented by classic German hops with a lovely spice note.
Imperial Pumpkin Ale
A great beer for watching the seasons change, this rich, well-balanced brew from Ballard satisfies with a soft, rich malt that provides a backdrop for pumpkin notes, highlighted by a subtle nuttiness and dash of spice.