BridgePort has always held a special place in my heart. Their IPA was among the first craft beers I tried when I moved to Portland over 10 years ago. They showed me that beer could be so much more than Miller or Bud Lite. In fact, BridgePort IPA is still one of my all-time favorites. So when I recently learned about fresh hop beers, it just seemed appropriate that I sample BridgePort's fresh hop offering first.
Earlier this evening, I attended BridgePort's Hop Harvest Ale release party at their brewery in NW Portland. Now keep in mind, I'm a beer neophyte and I don't frequent beer release parties—but this was open to the public, so I thought I'd check it out. I'm glad I did.
|Hop Harvest Release Party Partiers|
When I got to the bar, I was greeted by Todd Fleming, Bridgeport's Cellar Master. He offered me a few samples of Hop Harvest. One was cask (or firkin) conditioned and the other was the typical CO2 kegged variety. Todd explained the differences between the two to me and told me more about Hop Harvest Ale. 400 pounds of fresh Centennial hops from Goschie Farms in Silverton, Oregon were used to make this ale. Goschie Farms is a 3rd generation, family-owned certified organic farm.
I was surprised to learn that Hop Harvest was brewed just two weeks ago. Now that's fresh! It's also experimental brew—they ran one double batch which equals 160 barrels (or 320 kegs). They didn't test the hops and run small sample batches. Todd likened it to a wine release, because they don't know how it will turn out.
I know how it turned out. Bottom line, Hop Harvest is great! I really enjoyed it. However, since I was too busy talking to Todd, I didn't get a chance to record my tasting notes. But don't worry, I picked up a 22 oz. bomber and plan to do a more formal review at home in a few days.
So my first taste of a fresh hop beer didn't disappoint. If you want to try Hop Harvest, you better find it quickly because it was brewed on a very limited basis, and won't be around for long. Or better yet, take a trip down to BridgePort in the Pearl District and sample the cask-conditioned version.
But the fun didn't end there. After my tasting, Todd took me on a behind-the-scenes tour of the brewery! More on that tomorrow...
|Todd Fleming shows off a 22 oz Hop Harvest Bomber|
|BridgePort 2010 Hop Harvest Ale|