Fresh Hops: A Fall Staple in the PNW – Salt & Straw
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Move aside Hot Girl Summer it’s officially Fresh Hop Fall here in the Pacific Northwest! What exactly does that mean? We reached out to our friend and beer expert, Zak Schroerlucke at Crosby Hops to learn more about the magic behind these floral, fruity buds that makes beer so tasty. With a season no more predictable than huckleberries in the Cascades, or wildflowers in the Columbia Gorge, don’t miss your hop-portunity to get ‘em while they’re fresh.

(Photo Credit: Crosby Hops)

Almost all of the beer you drink is brewed with dried or pelletized hops. Hops are pulled from the bines, dried, baled, and shipped to a chilling warehouse where they await their final fate in brewhouses. But in late August, a treasured and brief Pacific Northwest tradition begins: Fresh hop season.

Unlike their dried counterparts, fresh hops are added to the brew within 24 hours of being picked from the bine. Brewers from the region await word from their local hop farmers, and once the harvest begins, no time is wasted picking up their precious gems to ensure maximum freshness in their brew. 

The result? A flavor and aroma so crisp and unconventional, it’ll make you want to stockpile bottles to drink all year long. “It’s all about that greeny punch on top of bursting citrus, tropical, and even robust dank notes,” Schroerlucke says.

Fresh hop season is a ceremonious one and gives craft beer lovers a peek behind the veil into the world of hop growing. If you’re lucky enough to live in hops country, you can drink fresh hop beer right on the Crosby Hops beer garden through the end of October. 

Can’t get enough of hops? In Toppenish, Washington, there’s an entire museum dedicated to this PNW mainstay. 2021 road trip, anyone?