Judging of the Oregon Beer Awards Fresh Hop Category Took Place This Week. Here Are the Results.

The OBAs are still six months away, but these farm-fresh beers need to be evaluated while they’re still at their peak.

The results of the Oregon Beer Awards were released Oct. 17, and what we’ve learned is that a number of breweries continue to dominate this competition, which has also become one of the largest and most competitive of its type in the world.

The Willamette Week-sponsored event announced the winners in three categories of beers made with cones harvested just in the past few weeks—most from farms less than an hour away in the Willamette Valley. Even though the full competition is six months away, judging took place this past weekend while the beverages are still at their peak.

Fresh hop submissions are divided into three classes: Pale Ales and India Pale Ales, Hazy Pale Ales and India Pale Ales, and Other, which includes less-aggressively dosed styles like lagers, saisons or sours. Sixteen adjudicators evaluated 135 beers, and every entry was reviewed by at least two panels of judges, while winners went through as many as six panels.

A number of familiar brands who placed in previous years once again made it to the podium, including Breakside, Deschutes, Migration and Ruse. Baerlic is celebrating its third consecutive win in the Other Fresh Hop category, and earned back-to-back golds. And Ruse has also distinguished itself, extending its winning streak to three years. The Southeast Portland brewery is also the first to win gold for both its fresh hop West Coast and hazy IPAs.

Overall, the OBA’s fresh hop competition continues to grow in popularity. Now in its seventh year, 54 breweries entered 135 beers into the contest. That’s 64% more than the fresh hop category at the Great American Beer Festival, one of the country’s most prestigious competitions.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the state’s Oscars of beer: April 2023. Tickets go fast and always sell out.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Fresh Hop Pale Ales and India Pale Ales (71 entries)

GOLD: Ruse Brewing, Songspire

SILVER: Migration Brewing Company, Summer Chinook

BRONZE: Sunriver Brewing Company, Doug Said So

Fresh Hop Hazy Pale Ales and India Pale Ales (30 entries)

GOLD: StormBreaker Brewing, Set Freshies to Haze

SILVER: Breakside Brewery, Breakside What Fresh Beast

BRONZE: Ruse Brewing, Clever Weather

Other Fresh Hop Beers (34 entries)

GOLD: Baerlic Brewing Company, East Side Pilsner

SILVER: Deschutes Brewery, Fresh Hop King Crispy

BRONZE: Steeplejack Brewing Company, Fresh Hop Luminosa Single Farm Table Beer