by Brian Stechschulte... Aug 7, 2014


Some of the brewers are practically giddy. For many it’s their favorite time of year. The hop harvest in Northern California just kicked off and that means the first wave of fresh hop beers are going on tap. If you love hops, don’t miss what our members have in store for you this month.


Why are fresh hops prized? It has to do with how hops are typically processed. Since they’re 80% water, most are kiln dried after they’ve been picked. Drying helps prevent rot, allows for long-term storage, and makes them easier to pack in tight bundles or press into pellets. This process can reduce hop aroma, destroy subtle flavors, and other unique characteristics.

Fresh, wet, whole cone hops, retain all of these sensory goodies, and then add some delicate herbal and grassy notes. The downside is they’re extremely fragile, must be pitched into the kettle in less than 24 hours, are only available during the harvest, and have to be used in much larger quantities. Brewers often add up to 5 times more fresh hops in total weight, compared to dry pelletized hops, which leads to a more expensive brew.


But for the brewers who use fresh hops, the race to use them, loss of efficiency, and extra cost, are well worth the unique flavors and aroma that are present in the beer. Find out for yourself by enjoying this wonderful selection of fresh hop beer over the next few months.


SKB-badge-3Social Kitchen & Brewery

Enjoy a smattering of one-off kegs featuring different beer styles and varietals. For the next 3 weeks (at least) they’re releasing a wet hopped keg every Thursday upon opening. Fresh hops will also be featured during their Tuesday “Crush the pin” cask nights.

Here’s the current schedule.

August 7th: Manchester Session fresh hopped with Cascade on draft, which is a 4.5% English Blonde that’s already hopped. It’s perfectly appropriate to get a second dose!

August 12th:  Cask Conditioned Citrodora Elegans fresh hopped in the pin with Cascade. This beer also features lemon verbena (aloysia citrodora) and pineapple sage (salvia elegans) from Garden For the Environment, four blocks from the brewery. The base beer is a Belgian Wheat clocking in at 5.1% abv.

August 14th: Manchester Session hopped with Ivanhoe on draft.

August 19th: Cask Conditioned Citrodora Elegans fresh hopped in the pin with Ivanhoe.

August 21st: New World Lager fresh hopped with Cascade on draft. A very hoppy 6% lager featuring all Southern Hemisphere varietals.

August 26th: Cask Conditioned “The Freak” in the pin, which is a Belgian Wheat base with rose balm, brettanomyces, and fresh hopped using Cascade. It’s gonna be a weird one! Go Timmy! 5.1% ABV.


21st-Amendment-Logo21st Amendment Brewery

Expect two fresh hop beers on tap in SOMA in the next couple weeks.

Harvest Moon
American Pale Ale – 5.6% ABV
Hops: Cascade and Ivanhoe.
Brewer’s Notes: Close to our standard pale ale grist, but lighter so hops take center stage.
Approximate Release Date: August 9th, but could be held until August 12th.

Single Malt & Hop American Pale Ale – 5.6% ABV
Hops: Chinook
Brewer’s Notes: Single malt is Crisp Maris Otter.
Approximate Release Date: August 21st or 22nd


Speakeasy_crown_logo2Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Wet Hopped Prohibition
American Amber Ale – 6.1% ABV
Hops: Cascade, Centennial and Chinook.
Brewer’s Notes: Prohibition Ale additionally dry hopped with 5 lbs per bbl of wet hops.
Release Date: August 11th


Magnolia-Logo2Magnolia Brewing 

Enjoy four different versions of Magnolia’s High Time Harvest Ale later this month, each made with a single hop: Ivanhoe, Gargoyle, Simcoe, and Mosaic. The beers will include 100% fresh hops, an all Maris Otter malt bill, and their house ale yeast strain. 100 lbs of hops will be added to each beer, at various times, from first wort through knockout. The Ivanhoe and Gargoyle versions should appear August 18th – 20th, with the remaining going on tap when ready.


ThirstyBear-Logo-2ThirstyBear Brewing 

Fresh-Hopped Organic Howard St. IPA
American-Style IPA
Hops: Organic Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, and Columbus.
Brewer’s Notes: Our Organic Howard St. IPA, but “wet-hopped.”
Approximate Release Date: Week of August 18th


Almanac-LogoAlmanac Beer 

Almanac Fresh Hop IPA
West Coast fresh hop IPA
Hops: Cascade and Gargoyle
Release Date: Early September