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Let’s Go, Let’s Show, Let’s Rodeo: Lessons in Fresh Hopping

Fresh-hopped beers are becoming an increasingly viable option for breweries located far from harvest. Here are lessons from some wet-hop veterans on using the fresh, the green, and the unkilned.

Stan Hieronymus Apr 28, 2022 - 12 min read

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No brewery is as committed to fresh-hop season as Single Hill Brewing in Yakima, Washington, which made 15 fresh-hopped beers during the 2021 harvest. And there are few who brew as many different beers with hops straight from the farm as Cloudburst Brewing in Seattle—or even Pinthouse Brewing, 2,000 miles away in Austin.

To brewers outside the Pacific Northwest, these might appear to be “don’t try this at home” exercises. After all, as Cloudburst founder Steve Luke says, these are expensive beers to make. “If you’re not having fun and learning something, it is a lot of work,” he says.

Weston Shepherd, head of production at Mast Landing Brewing in Westbrook, Maine, welcomes that work. “These are some of my personal favorites,” he says. Mast Landing typically brews one fresh-hopped beer each year. “I’d love to expand … as much as the market can consume them.”

Single Hill, Cloudburst, and Pinthouse provide possible road maps to where Shepherd—and any other brewers who want to embrace fresh-hopped beers more fully—might like to go.

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