Gardeners all over Portland grow hop plants for their beauty, fragrance, and shade each year. Our guest tonight, a master organic gardener on the West side, grew the hops for this beer and contributed three pounds of Newport hops as well as one pound of Mt. Hood hops. We picked the hops in the afternoon and made this Fresh (hop) Blonde ale with them the next day. Roughly a bag of malted barley went in to the mash. To start the boil we added two ounces of Horizon hop pellets for a mild bittering. Then late in the boil we added the fresh hops for flavor and aroma. The intention was to make a clear, light golden (blonde) ale with the goodness of flavor and aroma from freshly harvested hops. Enjoy the bounty of the PNW garden in your glass.
Each year we look forward to a warm sunny day in early September to pick Fresh Hops at the Rogue Farms. This year we picked Sterling and Amarillo hops for our annual version of Sophie, a fresh hop red ale. Utilizing the mash tun for a giant hop steep we were able to produce this wonderful fresh hop ale with a spectacular citrus aroma and a lingering bitterness. The base recipe is focused on a clean, malty taste to balance against all the fresh hops resulting in complex beer with malt followed by a smooth bitter and a lingering citrus hop flavor. This beer is a great example of the fresh hop experience we have the opportunity to experience here in the PNW. As the Summer is over this is a reminder of what a great hop season it has been.