The winners have been decided in the Fresh Hops category of the Oregon Beer Awards, and if there's one thing this year's competition makes clear, it's that Breakside knows what it's doing when it comes to squeezing out some spectacular flavor from those little green cones.
The Portland- and Milwaukie-based brewery won four of the nine medals in three categories that were judged earlier this month, including two golds for Fresh Hop Cascade Wanderlust and Fresh Hop Sterling Pils.
While the WW-sponsored Oregon Beer Awards aren't set to take place until 2021, the styles made with the flowers harvested just within the last several weeks—many from farms just an hour or so away in the Willamette Valley—need to be sampled while in season.
Fresh hop submissions are now divided into three categories: Pale Ales and India Pale Ales, which racked up 66 entries this year; Hazy Pale Ales and India Pale Ales, which had 25 entries; and Other Beers, earning 17 entries.
The ongoing pandemic made judging a bit more challenging this time around, but organizers were able to successfully pull off a physically distanced assessment in one day with 16 adjudicators and 4 competition staff.
Given the fact that COVID-19 cases are on the rise, in Oregon and most states across the country, planners are keeping the timeline for the rest of the awards judging and results as fluid as possible. That could mean an OBA ceremony, likely held virtually, in its usual month of February, or a delayed competition taking place in late March or early April.
In the meantime, read through the list of Fresh Hop medalists and try to track down every tap in town that's pouring them, whether that's to drink in house or to go. These beers' freshness only lasts so long, and so does the overall supply.
Here is a complete list of winners:
Fresh Hop Pale Ales and India Pale Ales
Breakside Brewery Fresh Hop Cascade Wanderlust (gold)
Breakside Brewery Fresh IGO (silver)
Three Creeks Brewing Co. Conelick'r Fresh Hop IPA (bronze)
Fresh Hop Hazy Pale Ales and India Pale Ales
Ruse Brewing About That Time (gold)
Breakside Brewery & Beer Hall What Fresh Beast (silver)
Sasquatch Brewing Co. Fresh Hop Mouth Pillow (bronze)
Other Fresh Hop Beers
Breakside Brewery + Taproom Fresh Hop Sterling Pils (gold)
Zoiglhaus Brewing Company Fresh Hop Zoigl-Kolsch (silver)
Baerlic Brewing Co. Fresh Hop Pioneer (bronze)