We're deep into fresh hop season, where the taps are flowing with beer made with fat, fluffy cones just harvested from farms a few hours away in the Willamette Valley. And we now know who's brewing some of the best in the state.
The Willamette Week-sponsored Oregon Beer Awards has announced winners in two fresh hop categories. While the Oscars of Oregon beer won't happen until February 2018, judging for the fresh hop entries took place last weekend, as they must be evaluated now while they're at their peak.
New this year is the separation of fresh hop submissions into two classes: Pale Ales/India Pale Ales and Other, which includes less-aggressively hopped styles like lagers, saisons or sours. The two breweries that snagged golds are first-time OBA winners: Sasquatch Brewing dosed a hazy IPA base with fruity El Dorado hops, and the months-old West Coast Grocery Company loaded a saison with the complementary earthy-spicy Willamette variety.
Related: You Can't Buy Produce or Cereal at West Coast Grocery Company, but It's Got One Hell of a Beer Aisle
Breakside Brewery's tropical love bomb What Fresh Beast continues to rake in medals—the juicy adaptation of What Rough Beast took bronze in the Pale Ale/India Pale Ale category after earning a silver in 2018. StormBreaker Brewing, which also placed this year, scored another win with a California common in the Other grouping.
Here's the complete list of the medalists:
Gold: Sasquatch Brewing Company, Hey, I Just Met You and This is Hazy
Silver: pFriem Family Brewers, Fresh Hop Centennial IPA
Bronze: Breakside Brewery and Taproom, What Fresh Beast
Gold: West Coast Grocery Company, Willamette's With Love
Silver: StormBreaker, SteamBreaker
Bronze: Level Beer, Fresh Hopped Let's Play!
The breweries will receive their medals during the Oregon Beer Awards ceremony Feb. 26 at Revolution Hall. Judging for the remaining categories is scheduled for Jan. 18-20.