This year’s version of Two Beers Brewing Fresh Hop will be released at the brewery on Friday, August 31. Two Beers Brewing has an advantage when it comes to fresh hops. Tyler Pickel, one of the brewers at Two Beers, comes from a hop-growing family. There is a small section of the family farm where the soil gets particularly warm. The hops mature early. When they’re ready for harvest, typically a couple weeks before the regular harvest begins in the Yakima Valley, Two Beers Brewing jumps on the opportunity and heads to Yakima to hand pick the hops. This is the second year that Two Beers has been the first out of the gate with a fresh hop ale (at least as far as I know).
For the unaware, to be considered a fresh hop ale (wet hop ale), the hops need to be used within 24 hours of harvest. I’m not sure if there is an official definition of the style, but that seems to be the general consensus. The hop harvest typically happens at the end of August and continues into September. August 31st is a remarkably early release date for a fresh hop beer.
The brewery also announced the upcoming release of two other beers: Pumpkin Spice and Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA.
Here’s the press release.
Two Beers Brewing Prepares for Early Release of Fresh Hop 2012; Pumpkin Spice and Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA to Hit Shelves Soon
SoDo-based Two Beers Brewing one of the first to offer craft beer enthusiasts their first taste of Fresh Hop for fourth year; Pumpkin Spice joins lineup of 22-ounce bottles
SEATTLE (August 22, 2012) – As the most highly anticipated beer on the growing brewery’s impressive tap list, Two Beers Brewing is excited to announce the early release of its 2012 Fresh Hop. Hop-enthusiasts can enjoy their first sip of this long-awaited beer beginning August 31 at the Two Beers Brewing tasting room – the earliest release for this beer yet – followed by its release in bars, restaurants and retail establishments throughout the Pacific Northwest beginning September 3. Adding to the excitement, Fresh Hop will soon after be accompanied by Two Beers Brewing’s Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA and Pumpkin Spice Ale – now both available in 22-ounce bottles.
“We look forward to this time of the year at the brewery and the flavorful beers that come with it,” said Joel VandenBrink, Two Beers Brewing founder and head brewer. “Plus, we’re excited to add Pumpkin Spice to our lineup of 22-ounce bottles, meaning more opportunity for our fans to enjoy the delicious flavors of fall.”
First brewed in 2009, Fresh Hop enters its fourth season on the brewery’s fall lineup. This Northwest-inspired brew’s strong citrus aroma – featuring hints of grapefruit and passion fruit – can be attributed to the freshly picked, Yakima Valley-grown Centennial hops used to create it. Copper in color with deep caramel malt tones, Fresh Hop 2012 settles in at 6.2 percent ABV resembling an aggressively dry-hopped mid-range IPA, but packing the punch only fresh hops can deliver. In addition to Centennial hops, this beer features locally grown Apollo, Cascade, Columbus, Super Galena, and Warrior hops, helping this popular beer achieve its bright and delightfully bitter flavor.
“This beer is a true demonstration of team work and our love for craft beer,” added VandenBrink. “Each year, we wait with anticipation for the call that the hops are ready. The moment we receive it, we drive to Yakima to pick them ourselves and that same day, we’re back at the brewery with staff and loyal fans handpicking the hops off the vines. There’s nothing else like it.”
“Two Beers Brewing does an amazing job capturing the flavor of the season with its Fresh Hop, which was voted top Washington fresh hop at our annual Fresh Hop Throwdown last year,” said Ellen Kelly and Rick Weersing, owners of The Noble Fir in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, known for its outstanding craft beer selection. “It’s a true tribute to local beer and Washington-grown hops, and we couldn’t be more excited for its return.”
Adding to the excitement, another of the brewery’s popular fall seasonals – Pumpkin Spice Ale – will be available in 22-ounce bottles for the first time in the beer’s four-year history. Malt forward with a nutmeg and clove aroma, drinkers of this fall-focused brew will enjoy cinnamon lingering on the tongue, with allspice rounding out the back end of the palate. First released in the fall of 2009, this perfectly spiced, deep copper colored ale – brewed with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice – makes its return in 2012 on September 7.
Also joining the Two Beer Brewing tap list in September is the brewery’s Heart of Darkness Imperial Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA). Coming in 67 IBUs and a 8.4 percent ABV, this beer was first brewed as a limited release in 2011 and quickly became a popular pick, both on tap and in a bottle. An imperial version of the emerging “Black IPA” style, the Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA mixes dark roasted specialty malts with highly citrus and floral hops, and is then dry-hopped with Columbus hops for a smooth finish. Featuring flavors of molasses, dark cherry, oak and chocolate, this noteworthy beer will be available in 22-ounce bottles at select retailers and on tap at The Woods tasting room beginning October 1.
Two Beers Brewing will continue to distribute its five year-round offerings this fall, as well as a host of packaged products. In addition to Fresh Hop 2011, Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA and Pumpkin Spice Ale, craft beer enthusiasts can pick up Persnickety Pale Ale and Evolutionary IPA in 22-ounce bottles. Also available is Two Beers Brewing’s popular line of 12-ounce aluminum cans – sold in six-packs at select retailers including Whole Foods and Central Market – featuring Evolutionary IPA, Immersion Amber, Panorama Wheat, Persnickety Pale Ale, Trailhead ISA and SoDo Brown.
Offering twelve beers – including five year-round, seven seasonal, and a host of intricate infusions and limited releases – Two Beers Brewing also offers pints, growlers and kegs-to-go in its 4,800-square-foot SoDo brewery and tasting room, dubbed “The Woods.” Packaged products can be found throughout Washington, Oregon and Alaska, in addition to being available on tap in more than 500 restaurants and bars in Washington and Idaho. For more information, be sure to follow Two Beers Brewing on Facebook and Twitter, or visit www.twobeersbrewery.com.