While I was experimenting, so were the real brewers. I don't know which brewery produced the first fresh hop beer of note, but it seems like these beers started appearing about a decade ago. It was a trickle at first, but fresh hop beers are everywhere now.
|Spendy $8 glassware|
Enter the plethora of fresh hop festivals popping up. There was one in Hood River on Oct. 1st and one in Portland this past Saturday. Those are not the only ones, I'm sure. Plus, numerous breweries are rolling out fresh hop brews with special release parties, events and fanfare. Fresh hop beers have become part of the festival scene. For better or worse.
The biggest problem with fresh hop beers: The vast majority of them aren't that great. I was beginning to form that opinion prior to visiting the Fresh Hop Festival at Oaks Park, based on prior tasting experiences around town. That opinion was confirmed at the festival, where I tasted a collection of beers I hadn't tasted before.
I'm not even going to get into the beers I tasted and thought less than stellar. They were made by breweries large and small. The common theme was a lack of depth and character. These beers had very little hop aroma or flavor. IBUs were all over the place, but most tasted obnoxiously bright...or perhaps some would say, green.
|The line-up...character not included.|
To enter this festival, you had to buy a tasting package. They were charging $1 per ticket, with each ticket good for a 4 oz. taste. Oh, I should note that a few beers required more than one ticket. Still, that's good value, consistent with what other festivals do.
On the flip-side, you had to pay $8 for a shaker pint glass that cost them a fraction of that. Sure, I'll add the glass to my collection at home. But I didn't need to pay an exorbitant price for the privilege. It has become stylish to overcharge patrons for a tasting glass or mug as a way of making money. I wish this annoying practice would stop, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
|I met Nutmeg, who was getting lots of attention|
Next up: the pumpkin beers