Last week we showed you the trip we took down to Goschie Farms with Pyramid/Portland Brewing to experience the hop harvest. The trip was a dual function in that we brought back with us 200lbs of fresh-from-the-vine Centennial hops.
Five bags, filled straight from the conveyor belt that shuttled the hop cones onto the drying floor, were tied up and packed into the van along with the human cargo. A little tighter fit than on our way down to be sure but the trade off was being surrounded by the heady aroma the Centennials gave off. Those hops were some of the best car mates any of us had ridden with.
The brewers that joined us on the trip, head brewer Ryan Pappe and brewer Brian McGovern, enjoyed the visit but it was clear that they were eager to get back to the brew house and get those hops into their brewing kettle. Upon our arrival they headed off with the bags of green goodness while the rest of us took a brief respite, consuming some of their previous efforts, before rejoining them in the brewery.
The Centennials had been loaded into laundry bags (apparently Bed, Bath & Beyond's are the bags of choice) and were being tied up with fishing line, efforts to keep them from going too far into the tank of Outburst Imperial IPA.
One may recognize that beer as a standard in the brewery's lineup however this will be the first time that it has been aged on fresh hops. Going by the name of Fresh Hop Outburst, Ryan chose to use Centennials in part because they’re a favorite of his and in part because they are already used in the beer. He said by doing this “we will get a chance to see the difference between the way we normally use those hops compared to the nuances that the fresh hops bring to the beer.”
In the past they have made a fresh hop version of another standard, Mac's Amber, but this year Ryan wanted to try something different. "Fresh hop beers are always experimental, because unless you are repeating a beer you have previously produced, you don’t know what is going to come out on the other side. You can’t brew a test batch, because you can only brew while the fresh hops are available."
The 55bbl batch was kegged late last week and is currently on tap both here in Portland and at the Pyramid Alehouse in Seattle. It will also be making an appearance at the Portland Fresh Hop Festival taking place September 29 & 30 at Oaks Park. He's eager for feedback, "I would love to hear what people think about our Fresh Hop version of Outburst!" so if you get a chance to try it leave a comment here and we'll pass on your thoughts to him.