It’s hop harvest season in the Pacific Northwest and that means fresh hop beers. While Portland is awash in fresh hop beers for this weekends Fresh Hop Fest, Hawaii craft beer fans will also get the chance to try a number of beers brewed with hops that were less than 36 hours old. Last year, Honolulu Beerworks and Kauai Beer Company were the only two local breweries to contract with hop farms to have freshly picked hops packed and shipped to the islands.
This year, four local breweries are diving into the fresh lupulin madness. HBW and Kauai Beer are at it again and new comers Lanikai Brewing Company and Waikiki Brewing Company have also brewed up batches. There will be FIVE wet hop beers in the state of Hawaii this year. That’s a lot of green hops on FedEx planes!
Here’s a quick round up of each of the beers from our local breweries. Unfortunately, you’ll have to go to Kauai to try KBC’s version.
This year brewer and owner Geoff Seideman decided to order double the amount of hops from last year and brew two different wet hop beers. The hops came directly from Perrault Farms in the Yakima Valley and included 80 pounds of Mosaic and 80 pounds of Equinox. This is Seideman’s second year brewing with fresh hops and he’s learned a few tricks. Pellet hops were used as the bittering editions, while a portion of wet hops went into end of the boil. The rest of the fresh hops we’re loaded into the mash tun, which acted as a gigantic hop back. The hot wort was filtered through the mash tun infusing the final beer with tons of hoppy aromatics.
Mosaic Wet Hop IPA will be released this week. The Equinox Wet Hop Red Ale is still fermenting and will be ready in a few weeks.
Kauai Beer Company
Head brewer Justin Grueber is also on his second go around with fresh hops. This year Grueber decided to brew an IPA and increased the total amount of fresh hops used compared to last year. Grueber wasn’t able to tell me what farm the hops came from or what variety they were due to trademark issues. They used the same mash tun as a hop back method as Honolulu Beerworks and loaded it up with 50 pounds of fresh hops. Simcoe hops were used to bitter the beer that came out at 5.5% abv and 62 IBUs.
Kauai Beer Company’s Fresh Hop IPA is currently available at the brewery.
Waikiki Brewing Company
This is the first fresh hop season for the less than 1 year old Waikiki Brewing Company and they are jumping in on the action. Head brewer Joe Lorenzen ordered 90 pounds of fresh Equinox hops from B.T. Loftus Ranch in Yakima, Washington, to use in his first wet hop batch. Lorenzen and team decided to use all fresh hops for their IPA. They used four separate kettle additions of fresh hops and then sent the beer through the mash tun as a hop-back. Finally they added 30 pounds as “dry-wet” hops in the fermenter.
Waikiki Brewing Company’s fresh hop IPA should be ready by the first or second week of October.
Lanikai Brewing Company
This is also Lanikai Brewing’s first fresh hop season and they didn’t waste time securing some freshly picked hops for themselves. Lanikai received 45 pounds of Centennial, Amarillo and Sterling hops from Crosby Hop Farm in Oregon. For their first wet hop beer head brewer Steve Haumschild create an American Pale Ale as a base. Pellet hops were used in the boil and all of the fresh hops went into the secondary. To throw in a twist they also added lemongrass and a mix of mandarin and bitter oranges. The final beer came out at 6% abv and 48 ibus.
Kailua Beach Cruiser Wet Hop Pale Ale will be released at the brewery this Friday. This is beer #2 of Lanikai’s new Brewers Series.