We're in the waning days of fresh-hop season. But before the dank drinks run dry, it's time to find out who is brewing some of the best in the state.
The Willamette Week-sponsored Oregon Beer Awards has announced winners in two categories of beers made with cones harvested just within the last few weeks—many from farms less than an hour away in the Willamette Valley. Even though the competition is months away, judging took place this past weekend while the beverages are at their peak.
Fresh-hop submissions are divided into two classes: India Pale Ales and Other, which includes less-aggressively dosed styles like lagers, saisons or sours. This year, some new breweries are being honored, including Eugene's Falling Sky Brewing, which snagged a bronze for an English Pale made with Nugget hops, a woody, resin-y variety used primarily as a bittering agent, as well as Rock Bottom Brewery, which produced a silver-medal winning IPA with 54°40′ Brewing out of Washougal, Wash. featuring Comet and Idaho 7 hops.
Coming off big wins just one week ago at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, one of the country's most prestigious competitions, are Breakside Brewery and Von Ebert, both of which placed in the OBA Fresh Hop divisions as well.
Be sure to mark your calendars for the state's Oscars of Beer, because they take place a week earlier than normal: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. Tickets go on sale mid-January—and they always go fast.
Here's the complete list of winners:
Fresh Hop India Pale Ales
Gold: Von Ebert Brewery, Fresh Hop Volatile Substance
Silver: Rock Bottom Brewery, Space Potato
Bronze: Breakside Brewery, What Fresh Beast
Other Fresh Hop Beers
Gold: Zoiglhaus Brewing, Oktoberfresh
Silver: Breakside Brewery, Fresh Hop Sterling Pilsner
Bronze: Falling Sky Brewing, Nuggets of Wisdom Fresh Hop English Pale Ale.