All the hops: 2016 fresh hop beer round-up


Fresh Nugget hops // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

The leaves aren’t the only things that change colors during autumn in Minnesota. Beers across the state go from gold to red, then brown and black, but in the midst of that change is one final harvest—it’s fresh hop season, ladies and gentleman.

In conjunction with the boom of new breweries, the state’s commercial hop acreage has grown to 73, up from 26 acres just last year and is likely to keep growing.

With the hop harvest nearing completion across the state, here’s a rundown of many of this year’s fresh hop, (aka wet hop) beers. Some may have already come and gone, others are on tap now, and some debut in the coming weeks. One way to try as many as possible in one place is Town Hall Lanes’ Fresh Hop Fest on Oct. 22, where more than 20 fresh hop beers from Minnesota and across the country will be on tap.

In addition, Ham Lake, Minnesota’s, Mighty Axe Hops, who recently announced an expansion that will more than double Minnesota’s current hop acreage, worked with Bad Weather Brewing, Fair State Brewing, and OMNI Brewing to create what they’re calling the MN Fresh Hop Tour 2016. Hops from Mighty Axe went into beers at each of the breweries, and people can visit the three taprooms to try them all, pick up a “passport” and have it stamped, and then share a photo of their completed passport on social media to be entered to win prizes.

Editor’s note: Are we missing a fresh hop beer from your favorite Minnesota brewery? Please email editor (at) growlermag (dot) com.

56 Brewing

Wet Hop Polonaise American Pale Ale, available on draft at 56’s sample room beginning Sept. 30.

DPA (Dank Pale Ale), a rotating beer with different hops varieties in a Randall, available now in 56’s sample room.


56 Honey/Lavender Flower IPA // Photo courtesy of 56 Brewing

Honey/Lavender Flower IPA, available only at Grumpy’s Limited Action Beer Fest on Oct. 29.

“We love some fresh, sopping, wet hop beers at 56 Brewing and now is the season!” says co-owner Kale Johnson at 56, who have three different fresh hop beers this year. Polonaise is their regular American pale ale made with Cascade and Willamette hops. Dank Pale Ale is a weekly dry-hop Randall beer, and Honey/Lavender Flower IPA is made using flowers grown at 56 and Grumpy’s hops.

Angry Inch Brewing

Four Horsemen IPA, a wet-hopped version of their flagship IPA available now on draft in Angry Inch’s taproom. Limited to flights and pints, no growlers.

Bad Habit Brewing Company

Habitual IPA, a juicy IPA made with Clear Lake Centennial hops and dry hopped with Mosaic. This is the first year of what Bad Habit hopes will be an annual release. Available now on tap in Bad Habit’s taproom.

Bad Weather Brewing Company

Saturation, brewed with Cascades from Mighty Axe Hops. Limited edition glasses are being sold with the beer. Available now on draft in Bad Weather’s taproom.

Badger Hill Brewing

Wet Hop Imperial Red Ale, a return of last year’s imperial red, this beer features Wisconsin-grown Cascades and is a taproom-only offering. Available on draft beginning Sept. 29.

Bang Brewing

This is a 7% ABV, 65 IBU fresh hop beer with Sorachi Ace, Newport, and Willamette hops and is available in on draft at Bang’s taproom and in bottles now.

A fresh hop version of Bang’s Nice will debut in early October at 6.5% ABV and 65 IBU with hops from Star Sister Organic Hops Farm in Larchwood, Iowa.

Bank Brewing Company


Brewing Serendipitous Union // Photo courtesy of Bank Brewing

Serendipitous Union, an annual collaboration beer made with Watertown Brewing Company, is an American black ale with three fresh hop varieties. Brewed in Watertown, South Dakota, the beer will be available in early October in Watertown’s taproom, not at Bank’s home base in Hendricks.

Big Axe Brewing Company

Fresh hops at Nisswa’s Big Axe Brewing // Photo courtesy of Big Axe

Big Axe’s first foray into brewing fresh hop beers will be available beginning October 8. Their fresh hop American pale was dry hopped four different ways, and all four will be available beginning Oct. 8. The fresh hops were all sourced locally from RF Doering Farms in Clear Lake, Ripley Esker Farms in Fort Ripley, and from Kristin Wallin.

Brau Brothers Brewing Co.

While the hops for Brau Brothers’ Hundred Yard Dash are longer grown in the field outside the brewery, Brau Brothers has a tradition with fresh hop beers, using 11 different varieties in their 2016 recipe. Available on draft and in bottles in late September or early October.

Castle Danger Brewing

Castle Danger’s Mosaic Fresh Hop IPA returns this year around mid-October on draft and for the first time in cans.

“Fresh-hopped beers are a way for brewers to use hops in their purest form,” says Castle Danger’s Jamie MacFarlane. This is the fourth year the brewery has made their Mosaic IPA.

Eastlake Craft Brewery

It’s #freshhop Blueliner season! We had so many fresh cascades, we had to use the mash tun!

A photo posted by Eastlake Craft Brewery (@eastlakemgm) on

Wisconsin-grown Cascade hops complement Eastlake’s grassy, citrusy, crisp, and watermelon-y Blueliner Pale Ale. Available now on draft and in bottles.

Excelsior Brewing Co.

Rye-Der IPA is a Ryder Cup–themed IPA for the season with a 15% rye ratio in the malt bill. Aiming for a bitter profile, Excelsior used fresh, local Centennial, Nugget, Perle, and Chinook hops and dry hopped with Mosaic. Available now on draft in Excelsior’s taproom.

Fair State Brewing Cooperative

It’s Gold, Jerry! is Fair State’s 4.7% ABV, 30 IBU fresh hop beer available now at their taproom.

Fitger’s Brewhouse

This is the first year this Duluth institution has made a fresh hop beer, the simply named Wet Hop 2016 is a session IPA made with hops from Two Harbors’ Harbor Hops. Available now.

Inbound BrewCo

A blend of four locally-grown varieties, Inbound’s Wet Hopped IIPA is dank and resinous and “will flow like the nectar of the Minnesota lupulin gods,” says Inbound’s Spencer Ploessl. Available in late October on draft.

Indeed Brewing Company

A new take on their annual fresh hop beer, Indeed is hoping this year’s version will debut in time for their 5th Annual Hullabaloo outside the taproom on Oct. 8-9. Fresh Hop Ale is brewed with Mosaic hops from Yakima, Washington, that provide bright blueberry and tropical aromas with a resinous finish. Available on draft in early October.

Jack Pine Brewery

Lean in and inhale deeply. I LOVE Harvest Time!

A photo posted by Jack Pine (@jackpinebrewery) on

Farms from Alexandria, Little Falls, and Lake Shore provide a four-hop blend in Jack Pine’s Harvest Red IPA with hints of caramel and chocolate to level out the big hop presence. It’s an annual beer but with a different profile and hop varieties each time around. Available on draft in mid-October.

Junkyard Brewing Company

Junkyard’s annual fresh hop beer, Hop Tun, uses Columbus hops from Fertile, Minnesota, and Nugget and Centennial from Moorhead. Available now on draft at Junkyard’s taproom.

Lake Monster Brewing

An annual tradition from Lake Monster, Loonatick Fresh Hop Ale uses Crystal, Cascade, and Warrior hops—some from Minnesota farms and some from Oregon. Available on draft in early October.

Lakeville Brewing Co.

Wet Hop IPA, a limited small-batch brew from Lakeville’s only brewpub, uses three different hop varieties from three different sources, including Centennials from Quill Brothers Hop Farm in Hampton, Minnesota, organic Cascades from Crazy Dog Hop Farm, and Chinooks given to Lakeville by Faribault’s F-Town Brewing. Available now on draft.

Lift Bridge Brewing Co.

Harvestör is a Lift Bridge tradition, made with Stone Hill Farm hops prepped at their annual beer and bluegrass fueled Pickin’ N’ Grinnin’ festival. Co-founder Brad Glynn describes 2016’s batch as having “unique earthy and citrusy hop character” with caramel malt to keep it balanced despite all the hop attention. It clocks in at 6% ABV and 40 IBUS and will be available on draft now at Lift Bridge’s taproom.

LTD Brewing Co.

With hops grown by a farmer named Curt “who loves IPAs,” Curt’s Wet Dream is a light-bodied IPA with a pine and floral profile and a touch of citrus. Now in its third year of production, this 6.1% ABV, 54 IBU IPA is available now on draft in LTD’s taproom.

Mankato Brewery

A repeat of last year’s popular IPA, Mankato’s Fresh Hopped IPA is juicy in profile with flavors of lemongrass, citrus, and floral notes. “It has a nice balance between the malt and hops and it’s not too bitter,” says head brewer Jacob Hamilton. Available now on draft and in bottles.

Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub

Brewing a double batch of Fresh Hop today. Look for it in about two weeks.
#freshhops #freshhop #mncraftbeer #mnbeer #brewpub #minneapolis #southmpls #southminneapolis #craftbeer

Posted by Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub on Sunday, September 4, 2016

“Big citrus, some dank, and some grassy flavors,” says head brewer Joel Scott of Northbound’s annual fresh hop release, Lefty the Kid. This year’s version features CTZ, Cascade, and Centennial hops grown at Gerhard Hops farm. Available now on draft.

North Loop BrewCo


A photo posted by North Loop BrewCo (@northloopbrewco) on

Foto Fresh IPA is a wet-hopped version of NorthLoop’s regular Foto IPA, out on shelves in early October in six-packs and on draft.

OMNI Brewing Co.

Happy Fresh Hop Brew Day! Big thanks to @mightyaxehops #hopsinthemash #timelapse

A video posted by OMNI Brewing Co. (@omnibrewing) on

Soaked uses Cascade hops from Mighty Axe and Golden Promise malt and is available now on draft in OMNI’s taproom.

Oswald Brewing Company

Oswald is celebrating their first fresh hop season with a new American IPA called High Strung Ale brewed with Minnesota-grown Cascade hops. Limited to one barrel, so this will go fast. Available on draft beginning Oct. 1


Fresh Hop Cascade is a German-style Pilsner featuring a powerful nose with notes of pineapple, tangerine, and citrus atop the German Pilsner base. Available on draft and in bottles late October or early November.

Town Hall Brewery

Town Hall’s Fresh Hop 100 is an American Golden IPA brewed using 100% Minnesota hops. A second batch was brewed and and then dry hopped for side-by-side comparison. Available now on draft at all three Town Hall locations and at Town Hall Lanes’ Fresh Hop Fest.

Wild Mind Artisan Ales

Brewing our wet hop farmhouse ale today!

A photo posted by Wild Mind Artisan Ales (@wildmindales) on

Brewed with hops grown in owner/brewer Mat Waddell’s backyard and using a native yeast he captured locally, Terroir is available now on draft at Wild Mind’s taproom.


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