While Oktoberfest and Pumpkin beers are looked forward to each year by many,
the true  gems of the season are the “wet- ” or “fresh-hopped” ales that are
just starting to appear on our shelves! Harvest time for local hops, and the
Pacific Northwest is Hop Central, is anywhere from mid-August to late
September depending on the growing season’s climatic vagaries. Normally,
hops are preserved in dried form to be added to the mash but in these
fresh-hopped brews it’s a direct Farm to Kettle process that sees brewers
getting the fresh cones into the kettle as quickly as possible, ideally
within a 24-hr window from picking. It’s an even more labour-intensive
process than normal as it requires anywhere from 4 and up times the weight
of the dried version of the plant. The (desired) result is a brighter,
fresher beer that captures all those aromatic, juicy essential oils that are
lost in the usual kilning process. Think of a pasta dish made with fresh
herbs instead of dried as a comparison – the flavours may not be as deep or
concentrated but they will pop! The mouthfeel will be oily but in a good
While BC Hopfest in Abbotsford has come and gone this year there is still
plenty of fresh-hopped beer to be had, with arrivals all month. One of the
most highly – anticipated releases of the year is Driftwood’s “Sartori
Harvest”, with hops from Sartori Farm in Chilliwack but there are plenty
more coming. Port Moody’s Yellow Dog “Alpha Dog” is a standout if you can
find any left, Hoyne’s “Wolf Vine” is always a top contender and Dageraad
has its own spin, naturally, wet-hopping a Blonde Ale rather than the more
common Pale Ales and IPAs. Persephone is taking advantage of its own farm to
use their own hops which, though the plants are still young in hop years, is

great to see. Phillips, Off the Rail, Bomber, Field House…the list goes on. Remember
these are NOT beers to collect and cellar but to crack and enjoy as soon as
possible! Cheers to the growers and brewers who make this a special time of