Portland Brewing Noble Scot

Portland Brewing Noble ScotI have to say I definitely enjoyed Portland Brewing’s fall seasonal, Noble Scot, of which they sent me two bottles a few weeks ago. With the weather cooling off it’s been a good beer to enjoy and will be sticking around for another month.

Noble Scot is a Scottish-style ale, 6.5% abv, with the brewery’s description stating, “Noble Scot is a complex and full-bodied Scottish Ale with notes of toast and caramel and a sweet, subtle smokiness for the bonnie days of fall.” It has a more complex grain bill than some of the Portland Brewing lineup: 2-Row Pale, Smoked, Carapils, Roasted Barley, and Melanoidin.

Appearance: Classic brown color, with auburn highlights that looks lovely when held up to the light. Light tan head.

Smell: Rich and nutty with a roasty, warming, almost spicy aroma that’s a little bit chocolate, a little bit biscuit, and steely. Hints of smoke are present, though not predominant for me.

Taste: Malty with a layers of flavor revealing a deft hand with the grain bill—a solid pale malt base with a depth of graininess that makes me think crystal malts, roasted grains, a touch of (pale) chocolate, something like Vienna or Munich and more. [Speculation before I looked] It doesn’t get cloying, it’s got a balanced, dry presence that has the hint of tang (the roasted and chocolate notes I think, along with the smoked malt) but it’s not thin either. Earthy bitterness but it’s definitely malt-forward and hearty.

Mouthfeel: Shy of medium-bodied, but it has a rich and broth-like feel with a drier finish.

Overall: I quite like it. It’s got a well-balanced “fall” feel to it in the maltiness and it hits the spot.

Look for it in both 22-ounce and 12-ounce bottles. According to the website, it will be available through October 15.

Untappd. BeerAdvocate: 81/100. RateBeer: 3.22/5, 66th overall percentile.

The Sisters Fresh Hop Festival is bringing the hops

Update 9/25: The online list has been updated, specifying some unknowns and revealing some last-minute changes. I have updated the list below and the hop counts accordingly.

As if you weren’t getting enough fresh hops-related posts from the site lately, it’s time to start talking up the Sisters Fresh Hop Festival! This is one of my favorite regional beer events, because this is one of my favorite times of the (beer) year, when I’m hunting down as many fresh hop beers as I can drink, and what better place to do that then at a festival dedicated to them?

Sisters Fresh Hop Festival

The fest is taking place on Saturday, September 27, at the Village Green Park in Sisters (Oregon) from noon to 8pm. The details haven’t really changed from last year: $5 to get the tasting glass, $1 per four ounce taste. Beers will be pouring in the tent, and all ages are welcome. There will be food trucks/carts on site and live music as well.

This year is the biggest festival yet, with 24 breweries (many of them local) pouring at least one fresh hop beer. (All but one—Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider—are pouring two beers, and though they all have at least one fresh hop beer pouring, some only have the one, plus a regular beer.)

Here is the list of breweries in attendance, with their beers as well (I’ve marked the fresh hop beers in bold):

  • 10 Barrel Brewing
    • The Boss Fresh Hop Ale (5.5%, Centennial hops from Umpqua Farms)
    • Big Daddy Fresh (6.1%, Centennial hops from Gooding Hop Farm)
  • Base Camp Brewing (Portland)
    • Fresh Hop Gnar Gnar IPA (6.7%, Meridian hops)
    • Wet-Hop Dry Hopped Helles (4.9%, Cascade hops)
  • BridgePort Brewing (Portland)
    • Mettle and Mash IPA (7%, Crystal hops)
    • Witch Hunt Spiced Ale (5.8%)
  • Burnside Brewing (Portland)
    • Couch Select Lager (5%)
    • Fresh Hop Oatmeal Pale (5.6%, Crystal hops)
  • Cascade Lakes Brewing (Redmond)
    • Farmer’s Choice Wet Hop (5.8%, Centennial hops)
    • Paulina Lake Pilsner (4.5%)
  • Crux Fermentation Project (Bend)
    • Crystal Zwickle Belgian Pale Ale (6%, Crystal hops)
    • Off the Fence Estate Grown Fresh Hop Ale (5.8%, Cascade hops)
  • Deschutes Brewery (Bend)
    • Fresh Hop Oktoberfest (5.2%, Willamette hops)
    • Fresh Hop Horse Ridge IPA (6.1%, Centennial hops)
  • Fort George Brewing (Astoria)
    • Fresh Hop IPA (6.5%, Simcoe hops)
    • Cavatica Stout (8.8%)
  • Full Sail Brewing (Hood River)
    • Fresh Hop Pale Ale (6.7%, Simcoe hops)
    • Session (5.1%)
  • Gilgamesh Brewing (Salem)
    • Fresh Prince of Ales Double IPA (8.2%, Centennial hops)
    • Mamba Ale (6.5%)
  • GoodLife Brewing (Bend)
    • 150 Hippies Fresh Hop Pale Ale (5.3%, various donated hops)
    • Sweet As Pacific Ale (6%)
  • Groundbreaker Brewing (Portland)
    • Meridian Fresh Hop Pale Ale (Gluten free, 5.8%, Meridian hops)
    • Cascade Fresh Hop Pale Ale (Gluten free, 5.8%, Cascade hops)
  • McMenamins Old St. Francis School (Bend)
    • Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale (6.19%, Brewer’s Gold hops)
    • Mr. Peacock’s Special Bitter Fresh Hop Ale (4.9%, Fuggles and Mt. Hood hops)
  • Ninkasi Brewing (Eugene)
    • Jarrylo (5.3%)
    • 100 Years of Hopitude (Centennial hops)
  • Old Town Brewing (Portland)
    • Cent’s and Censability Fresh Hop Pale Ale (5.2%, Centennial hops)
    • Sterling Kolsch (4.9%, Sterling hops)
  • Portland Brewing (Portland)
    • McTarnahan’s Fresh Hop Amber Ale (5.1%)
    • Zig Zag Lager (5.1%)
  • Rat Hole Brewing (Bend)
    • Blood Orange Fresh Hop Pale (5%, local “mystery blend” of hops)
    • Fresh Hop Rye IPA (6.7%, local “mystery blend” of hops)
  • Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider (Portland)
    • Hallelujah Hopricot Fresh Hop Cider (6.7%, Cascade hops)
  • Seven Brides Brewing (Silverton)
    • Fresh Hopped Emily’s Ember (5%, Cascade hops)
    • Fresh Hop Chinook Pale (5.25%, Chinook hops)
  • Silver Moon Brewing (Bend)
    • Hoppopotamus Fresh Hop Ale (6.4%, Cascade hops)
    • Voodoo Dog ISR (5.5%)
  • Three Creeks Brewing (Sisters)
    • Cone Lick’r Fresh Hop Pale (5%, Centennial hops)
    • Hop Wrangler Fresh Hop Red (5.8%, Chinook hops)
  • Three Mugs Brewing (Hillsboro)
    • Big D’s Memorial Fresh Hop Imperial IPA (9.3%, Simcoe hops)
    • Firey Wench Imperial Red Ale (9%)
  • Wild Ride Brewing (Redmond)
    • Journey to Planet Fresh Hop (6.6%, Nugget hops)
    • 3 Sisters American Red Ale (6%)
  • Worthy Brewing (Bend)
    • Easy Day Kolsch (4.5%)
    • Big Sticky Fresh Hop Pale Ale (5%, Meridian hops from Goschie Farms)

For those of you hopheads keeping track, these are the hops represented (by my reckoning), in order of most to least:

  • Centennial – 8
  • Cascade – 6
  • Crystal – 3
  • Meridian – 3
  • Simcoe – 3
  • Chinook – 2
  • Brewer’s Gold – 1
  • Nugget – 1
  • Fuggles – 1
  • Mt. Hood – 1
  • Sterling – 1
  • Willamette – 1
  • Unknown/variety – 4

Obviously Cascade and Centennial are big this year, but then again they are classic American aroma hops, so why not? But I would also make an effort to try some of the lesser-used hops; the Sterling Kolsch from Old Town is catching my eye simply because I cannot remember if I’ve had a fresh Sterling hopped beer before—and the Kolsch will be a good platform for it, I’m thinking.

Incidentally, this year it seems as though nearly all of the state’s fresh hop fests are taking place on the 27th; look here to see the list of them all. That is a lot of fresh hop beer pouring that day!

Drinking: Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale

McMenamins Thundercone Fresh Hop AleAfter mowing the lawn tonight I opened up that growler of Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale that I picked up from McMenamins yesterday, a nice fresh hop follow-up to mowing and raking up freshly-cut grass. This is a tasty beer, and I’m writing down these notes even as I’m drinking it—sort of a semi-live-blogging session, you could say.

The stats on this beer are:

Malts: Canada Malting Superior Pilsen Malt, Franco Belges Caramel Munich 40
Hops: Chinook (Bittering), Fresh Brewer’s Gold hops (Flavor & Aroma)

OG: 1.061  TG: 1.013  ABV: 6.19%  IBU: 56  SRM: 7

At the Old St. Francis School here in Bend (which is where I got it), brewer Mike White brewed a six-barrel batch, using five pounds of fresh hops per barrel—or 30 pounds of fresh hops overall. The hops used this year, Brewer’s Gold, are a departure from the normal Cascades. Brewer’s Gold is primarily used as a bittering hop, with typically 5 to 10% alpha acids, and not one I can recall seeing used fresh (though I’m sure it has). Cascade hops, on the other hand, are the American aroma hop (really dual-purpose), with alpha acids ranging from 4 to 9%.

Appearance: Darker copper color, slightly hazy, with a nice fly-in-amber impression when held to the light.

Smell: The Brewer’s Gold hops impart a peppery, green earthy character, kind of leafy, like freshly-crushed dandelion greens or maybe arugula. Maybe even a touch of menthol. It’s very clean and fresh. Malts come out as bit as it warms and remind me of crackers.

Taste: Similar in profile to what I’m getting in the aroma: peppery, earthy, green, and that slightest hint of menthol. The pale ale base is mellow and a good backbone to letting the hops shine, biscuit-y and cracker-y, but otherwise out of the way.

Mouthfeel: Clean, medium-bodied, with that peppery fresh hop taste lingering on.

Overall: I’m enjoying this beer, and it’s different from the Thundercone I remember of previous years because of the different hops for sure.

This officially goes on tap this Friday, September 19, and if you love fresh hops then you need to seek it out! Each brewery’s version will taste a bit different, so if you get the chance to try more than one version, jump all over it. (I would still love to see an all-McMenamins Thundercone fresh hop fest with all the different breweries side by side!)

I’ll end with the “Running of the Brewers” video McMenamins made a couple years ago; it’s fun and just look at all those fresh hops…

Received: McMenamins Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale (2014)

I picked up a growler of the soon-to-be-released Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale from McMenamins Old St. Francis School today, courtesy of McMenamins:

McMenamins Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale

It’s slated to be released this Friday, September 19, but I got the sneak preview (though I haven’t cracked this growler yet—had plans this evening!). Each year the brewing of Thundercone is heralded by the “Running of the Brewers,” celebrating the hop harvest with 1000 pounds of fresh hops “frantically delivered from Sodbuster Farms… to 22 McMenamins Breweries all over Washington and Oregon.” This year the fresh hops used were Brewer’s Gold (as opposed to Cascade in previous years).

Fresh hop season is one of my favorite times of the “beer year” and I always hunt down as many as I can find. I’m definitely looking forward to pouring a pint of this one, it’s always one of the good ones out there (OSF brewer Mike White knows his stuff). I’ll post about it when I do.

Incidentally, the other fresh hop beer being offered at the Old St. Francis School, Mr. Peacock’s Special Bitter Fresh Hop Ale, is on tap now! This is an OSF-only house beer brewed with Fuggles and Mt. Hood hops hand-picked from the D&D Ranch out in Terrebonne (northern Central Oregon).

Fresh Hops Watch, 2014 edition

It’s that time of year again—hop harvest season, and the first fresh hop beers are hitting the taps. (I even homebrewed a fresh hop IPA last weekend, which will be ready in a few weeks.) With that in mind, I figured it was time to set up a running tally/list of fresh hop beers available in Central Oregon. I’ll continually update this post (and may keep it pinned on the homepage for a while).

Fresh hops

10 Barrel Brewing:

  • The Boss: On tap 9/12. First of four fresh hop beers from 10 Barrel. 5.5% abv. Hops used: Centennial hops from Umpqua Hop Farms
  • Big Daddy Fresh: Brewed by Shawn Kelso in Boise, will be at the Sisters Fresh Hop Festival. 6.1% abv. Hops used: Centennial from Gooding Hop Farm

Cascade Lakes Brewing:

  • Farmer’s Choice Wet Hop: Coming soon, will be at the Sister Fresh Hop Festival. 5.8% abv. Hops used: 150 lbs. of Centennial from the Umpqua Valley (Sutherlin, OR)

Crux Fermentation Project:

  • Cruxtennial Fresh Hop Belgian Pale Ale: On tap as of September 2. 6% abv. Hops used: Centennial and Crystal
  • Crystal Zwickle Fresh Hop Belgian Pale Ale: On tap now. Will be at the Sister Fresh Hop Festival. 6% abv. Hops used: Crystal
  • Off the Fence Estate Grown Fresh Hop Ale: On tap now. Will be at the Sister Fresh Hop Festival. 5.8% abv. Hops used: Cascade

Deschutes Brewery:

  • Fresh Hop Horse Ridge IPA: On tap as of September 3. 6.1% abv. Will be at the Sisters Fresh Hop Festival. Hops used: Centennial
  • Hop Trip: Available now, on draft and in bottles. 5.4% abv. Hops used: Crystal
  • Fresh Hop Oktoberfest: Coming soon, will be at the Sister Fresh Hop Festival. 5.2% abv. Hops used: Willamette
  • Chasin’ Freshies Fresh Hop IPA: Available now, on draft and in bottles. 7.2% abv. Hops used: Mosaic
  • Fresh Hop Mirror Pond Pub Pale: On tap as of 9/19 (or earlier). 5% abv. Hops used: Cascades from Goschie Farms
  • Fresh Hop King Screamer: On tap as of 9/23. 6.7% abv. Hops used: Mosaic
  • Fresh Hop Kolsch: On tap as of 10/8. 5.1% abv. Hops used: Crystal hops from Goschie Farms

GoodLife Brewing:

  • 150 Hippies Fresh Hop Ale: Coming soon. Co-op brew, with backyard hops provided by locals. 5.3% abv. Hops used: various locally grown

McMenamins Old St. Francis School:

  • Mr. Peacock’s Special Bitter Fresh Hop Ale: On tap now (as of 9/14). Will be at the Sister Fresh Hop Festival. 4.9% abv. Hops used: Fuggles and Mt. Hood from the D&D Ranch in Terrebonne
  • Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale: Release date September 19 (on tap now). Hops used: Brewer’s Gold

Rat Hole Brewing:

  • Fresh Hop Rye IPA: Debuting at the Sisters Fresh Hop Festival. 6.7% abv. Hops used: various locally grown
  • Fresh Hop Blood Orange Pale Ale: Coming soon (perhaps the Fresh Hop Fest). 5% abv. Hops used: various locally grown

Silver Moon Brewing:

  • Hoppopotamus Fresh Hop Ale: Coming soon. 6.4% abv. Hops used: Cascades from Crosby Hop Farm.

Smith Rock Brewing:

  • Fresh Hop IPA: Coming soon.

Solstice Brewing:

Sunriver Brewing:

Three Creeks Brewing:

  • Cone Lick’r Fresh Hop Pale: Release by Sisters Fresh Hop Festival on 9/27. 5% abv. Hops used: 300 lbs. of wet Centennial hops from BC Farms in Woodburn, OR
  • Hop Wrangler Fresh Hop Red: Release by Sisters Fresh Hop Festival on 9/27. 5.8% abv. Hops used: 150 lbs. of freshly harvested Chinook

Worthy Brewing:

  • WorthWild Fresh Hop IPA: On tap at noon on 9/12. Collaboration with Redmond’s Wild Ride Brewing, using hops from the recently-established Smith Rock Hop Farm out in Terrebonne. Hops used: Cascade and Centennial
  • Big Sticky Fresh Hop Pale Ale: On tap 9/16. 5% abv. Hops used: 200 lbs. fresh Meridian from Goschie Farms.
  • Homegrown Fresh Hop IPA: On tap 10/9. Hops used: “13 different types of fresh beauties grown in our hop yard”

Wild Ride Brewing:

  • WorthWild Fresh Hop IPA: Collaboration brew with Worthy (see above), on tap weekend of 9/12.
  • Journey to Planet Fresh Hop: Pale ale. Coming soon, will be at the Sister Fresh Hop Festival. 6.6% abv. Hops used: Nuggest from the Willamette Valley
  • Citranite Fresh Hop: On tap as of 10/7. Hops used: Citra from the Yakima Valley