Returning for its 13th year, the Hood River Hops Fest brings the region’s freshest beers together for a one-day tasting extravaganza.
Known as a haven for hop producers, the Pacific Northwest is the perfect location to host this sort of ultra-niche festival. It’s a magical place where hops literally go from farm to brewery to bottle, sometimes in the same small town. While fresh hopped beers have grown in popularity over recent years, the age of this festival shows that beers brewed with green, whole cone hops have long held a special place in the hearts of beer-loving Oregonians. And there are a lot of things to like about fresh hop beers.
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Fresh hop beers typically utilize a lighter malt base so the individual qualities of the featured hops shine through. In traditional beer making, the addition of hops simply provides a bittering agent to beer. Modern creative brewers also selectively use hop strains to impart broader flavor characteristics as well as craft specific aromatic combinations. Hop flavors can range from onion to pine, from tropical fruit to earthy. The big aromas forged by fresh hops often enhance the same flavor patterns, but can also incite bright floral and grass notes or dank, musty characteristics.
For craft beer enthusiasts, attending a festival like Hood River Hops Fest is the perfect laboratory for learning about the different tastes and aromas that hops provide. You can try different hop varieties side by side to better understand how that particular ingredient can be changed to radically alter the tasting experience.
The 2016 edition of the Hood River Hops Fest will be held on September 24 in downtown Hood River, Oregon. In addition to over 75 fresh hop beers from 50 local breweries, the event will also have local food, arts and crafts vendors and live music. The full brewery list is packed with exciting additions, including favorites like Full Sail Brewing, Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, and Deschutes Brewery.
To find out more, visit the Hood River Hops Fest website.