It's that marvelous time of the year when the hard work of a full hop season comes to fruition and the yield of that harvest gets packed into the most in-demand beers of the year. This year, we bring back our Head Stash Fresh Hop IPA packed with 200lbs of fresh Simcoe Hops from Loza Farms, ringing in at a solid 6.6% and 69BUs. This year’s Simcoe hops add their classic combination of both flavor and bittering qualities to the batch; expect a big piney aroma that's met with a resinous flavor and a medium body.
Head Stash Fresh Hop Q & A with Head Brewer, Adam McClure
Q: Why did we choose Simcoe hops for this year’s Head Stash?
A: Simcoe is one of my favorite hops. They’re fruity and juicy, but still deliver a lot of pine, which I really love in West Coast IPAs.
Q: Why did we choose to get Simcoe hops from Loza Farms?
A: The Loza’s are great! Their story is inspiring, they grow amazing hops, and we’ve had an awesome relationship with them for years. In the early days, Doug would run us up to Wapato during harvest for some rowdy fun. It’s always a blast to see Jr and the crew.
Q: What’s the big deal about Fresh Hop beers anyway?
A: When enjoying a fresh hop beer, I think it’s important to appreciate “fresh,” and what it means to live in the beautiful NW. As beer drinkers, we are so fortunate to live so close to the source for some of the best hops in the world. Fresh hop beers are unique and very delicate. They are the result of a lot of hard work, by a lot of people from farm to glass, each doing their part to preserve the freshest hop essence. Brewers and growers alike, do not mark the calendar from January to December, but from fresh hop season, to fresh hop season. Hop harvest is one small window in the year, and when the work is done, it’s a time for celebration.
Q: What stage in the brewing process were the fresh hops used in? Why did we choose to use them at that stage?
A: In years past we’ve used fresh hops on the cold side, choosing to dry hop with them in absurd quantities. (As most brewers do.) But this year, we chose to add them to our whirlpool. Whirlpool hopping provides plenty of juicy flavor and more stability for packaging.
Q: Fresh Hop beers are known to be less stable than regularly brewed beers. How did we achieve better stability for Head Stash in cans?
A: In addition to rigorous testing for oxygen levels and microbiological stability, we chose a careful temperature for all of our fresh hops, where we could extract plenty of juicy character without sacrificing the integrity of our beer.
Q: Anything else you think the people should know about this year's Head Stash?
A: At 6.6% and perfect BU’s, Head Stash is brewed to be a drinkable west coast fresh hop IPA. It’s light in color, bright, a bit on the drier side, has a clean, firm, crisp bitterness, with plenty of fruity tangerine, citrus and pine flavors and aromas.
There you have it folks: a quick behind-the-scenes take on the beer that's gone just as quickly as it arrives. Grab a 6-pack at our Pub or at your favorite local bottle shop, and a very merry Fresh Hop season to all!