Love the bitter, tangy taste of an IPA? You can thank hops, the fragrant, cone-shaped flowers brewers use to flavor and preserve their beers. While most brews feature dried hops, the autumn hop harvest in the surrounding Willamette Valley gives Portland beermakers the “hop-portunity” to snag fresh-picked (aka “wet” hops) for one-off, limited edition creations loaded with peak-season flavors. Some brewers are so giddy about the harvest they have been known to ride cargo-style bikes to local farms to gather the yields, demonstrating Portlanders’ easy access to world-class ingredients and our natural tendency to be a little “weird.” Celebrate the season in true Beervana style with these pints and parties.
Each October, the Portland Fresh Hops Fest fills Oaks Amusement Park with fresh hop beers across Oregon. Past participants include regional all-stars like Eugene’s Ninkasi, Astoria’s Fort George and Bend-based Deschutes.
The biggest event of its kind in the state — if not the world — the Hood River Hops Fest features more than 60 fresh hop beers from dozens of Northwest breweries. Sample seasonal specials by Hood River locals like Double Mountain, Full Sail and pFriem Family Brewers, including a handful of fruity hop ciders. The party also features live music, Willamette Valley wine, arts and crafts from local makers and a family-friendly play area.
Portland hosts dozens of beer festivals every year, but none compares to the Oregon Brewers Festival. With offerings from 80 craft brewers, the event draws nearly 70,000 attendees to the downtown waterfront every July.
Portland Beer Week spotlights Portland’s breweries, high-quality brews and vibrant beer culture.
Portland isn't shy about its love of beer — the city has nearly as many beer festivals as it does breweries.
Oregon towns Eugene, Sisters, Silverton, Independence and St. Paul all host their own fresh hop fetes — dates and details available via Oregon Craft Beer.
You don’t need to buy a festival ticket to taste a wet hop brew. Many of Portland’s more than 60 breweries celebrate the hops harvest with limited edition beers crafted with freshly-picked ingredients.
Each September, the McMenamins team rushes more than 1,000 pounds (453.6 kg) of fresh Brewer’s Gold hops from Salem’s Sodbuster Farms to their two dozen breweries throughout the Northwest. D\ubbed “The Running of the Brewers,” this annual event heralds hundreds of delicious barrels of Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale, available at all 66 (and counting) McMenamins locations (while supplies last).
Around Labor Day, the Deschutes Brewery crew fills bags with fresh Nugget, Centennial and Fresh Crystal hops from a nearby farm, hurrying back to toss the flowers in the brew kettles within four hours of picking. The resulting Fresh Hop Pale Ale packs a bright citrus punch and pleasant fall spice — the unique combo even took home “World’s Best Harvest Pale Ale” at the 2011 World Beer Awards.
Stop by any local brewery in late September and chances are good that you’ll find a fresh hop masterpiece on tap. Recent favorites include “1.21 Gigahops Fresh Hop Brown” at StormBreaker Brewing. With such abundant fresh flavors, Portland beer lovers are a very lucky bunch. But don’t delay — another bountiful season of fresh hops beer will be over before you know it!
Portland Holiday Brew Fest visits Pioneer Courthouse Square on December 2nd and 3rd. Visit Pioneer Courthouse Square under covered, heated tents to enjoy tasty and frosty brews. The Portland Holiday Brew Fest will feature 25+ holiday/winter beers and ciders from around the Northwest — don’t miss this holiday celebration in the heart of Portland.
Oregon Cider Week Special Edition is happening with CiderCon 2024, hosted in Portland, Oregon. The Northwest cider community will welcome visiting conference attendees, media, buyers and cider fans at a wide variety of not-to-be-missed events. Save the day and stay tuned.
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