Minnesota Fresh Hop Round-Up

Town Hall Fresh Hop FestFEAT

More than ever, Minnesota breweries are including Minnesota-grown hops in their fresh hop beers

Seasonal beers are a big thing in Minnesota, but few generate the excitement of the wet hop, or fresh hop, beers of fall, which celebrate the direct connection between agriculture and beer, cone to glass.

Catching up with a number of breweries across the state, we’ve compiled a list of 2015’s fresh-hopped beers from Minnesota. Note that much of this information was compiled before the beers were finished, so many ABV figures are estimates. From the first hops brought over from Yakima Valley in Washington to the Northern Minnesota crops being harvested now, it’s an exciting six weeks for Minnesota beer drinkers.

Bad Weather | The Hopcromancer (7.0% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Early October

With more brewing space to their name and a brand new taproom opening next week, Bad Weather has brewed their first wet-hop beer and is already planning to do it again. Words of wisdom from co-founder Joe Giambruno on fresh-hop brew day: “The brewery smells so damn good!” Try this one at the grand opening of Bad Weather’s new St. Paul brewery and taproom.

Badger Hill | Imperial Fresh Hop Red (8.0% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Now

For their first fresh-hop beer, Badger Hill used Cascade hops for a one-off seasonal that’s available now in the taproom. “The coolest thing about fresh hopping,” says Britt Krekelberg, “is meeting the farmer who grows the hops. The feeling of community is overwhelming when you connect with the grower firsthand.”

Bank Brewing | Serendipitous Union (6.0% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Now

Bank’s first-ever fresh hop beer, Serendipitous Union Wet Hopped Black Rye Ale, blends Centennial, Cascade, Chinook, Amarillo, and Topaz hops grown on a farm owned by Watertown Brewing Company in Watertown, South Dakota. It will be available in Bank’s Hendricks, Minnesota, taproom, as well as at the Watertown brewery.

Bemidji Brewing | Harvest Ale (5.6% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: October 9

Described as a classic grapefruit, pine, and citrus combination, Bemidji sourced Cascades and Centennials from Fertile Vineyards in Fertile, Minnesota.

Big Wood Brewing | Aurora Florealis (5.2% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Early October

Big Wood has blended Columbus, Chinook, Cascades, and Nugget hops from Stacy, Minnesota, in this brand-new beer from the White Bear Lake brewery.

Brau Brothers | Hundred Yard Dash (8.0% ABV) | Format: Draft and 12oz. bottles | Available: Late October
The hops are no longer just 100 yards away since Brau moved into bigger digs in Marshall. But it’s still an estate-made beer that’s always evolving. “It changes year to year,” says Dustin Brau, “depending on the hop harvest. We think that’s the fun aspect about it.”

Castle Danger | Mosaic Fresh Hop IPA (6.5% ABV) | Format: Draft and 22oz. bottles | Available: Early October Beer-and-Bottle-Template-Mosaic-Fresh-Hop Castle Danger has experience with fresh hops, settling on their Mosaic recipe over the past three years.

Day Block | Wet Hop Leonard Day IPA (7.3% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Late October

A combo dried pellet/wet cone beer, Day Block has brewed this one twice. Batch one has come and gone, and batch two—a wet-hopped version of Leonard Day IPA—is currently in the works.

Eastlake | Fresh Hop Blueliner Pale Ale (5.0% ABV) | Format: Draft and 22oz. bottles | Available: Now

“It’s great to brew local and seasonal,” says Eastlake owner Ryan Pitman. Blueliner encompasses both, using Centennial hops out of Lakeville on this first year fresh-hopped beer.

Fair State | “It’s Gold, Jerry!” (4.8% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Now

This pale and fairly dry golden ale is made with local Cascade hops grown at Mighty Axe Hop Farms. Head brewer Niko Tonks used 120 pounds of hops for a 15-barrel batch, now available at the taproom.

Forager | Blaze A Trail (5.4% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Now

They’re making batches two months apart of this fresh-hop brew at the new Rochester brewery. Batch one will feature Cascade, Mt. Hood, Centennial, and an unknown wild Minnesota hop. The second batch uses Nugget, Willamette, and Centennial hops. In both, the Centennials come from Forager’s patio.

Fulton | Langola Fresh Hop (5.8% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Early October

Fulton uses their own farm-grown Cascade hops in this beer with a 60-minute addition of German Herkules.

Indeed | Wet Hop Ale (4.7% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Now

Yakima Mosaics are at the heart of this wet hop, now in its third year. Brewer Josh Bischoff has kept the recipe the same from year to year, letting the nuance of each growing season define its differences.

Junkyard | Hop Tun (6.0% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Early October

A straw-colored pale ale also made last year with a fruity hop character and a soft bitterness.

Kinney Creek | Casket IPA (6.3% ABV) and Yellow Jacket Imperial IPA (8.7% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Now

“Nothing like having a fresh wet-hopped aroma to get your palate energized,” says brewer Donovan Seitz. Yellow Jacket is an annual imperial IPA Kinney Creek brews with local hops. He’ll follow that with his annual IPA featuring Casket hops.

Lake Monster | Loonatick (6.0% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Early October

This annual offering from Lake Monster is an IPA. It varies slightly between years, with 2015 featuring Cascade, Columbus, Centennial, Mt. Hood, and Sterling Hops grown in Wisconsin. Last year was only Cascade and Mt. Hood.

Lift Bridge | Harvestor (6.0% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Now

Lift Bridge’s annual fresh-hop beer is made in-house with the help of their customers at the annual Pickin’ and Grinnin’ festival, where their fans help pick hops right in the brewery. This year’s crop comes from a new farm in West Lakeland, Minnesota.

LTD Brewing | Curt’s Dream, Curt’s Wet Dream, and Wet Hopped Cream Ale | Format: Draft | Available: Now

Making its second appearance, this wet-hop cream ale uses all UK Fuggle fresh hops grown in Lakeville, Minnesota, and is named after their farmer, Curt. Curt’s Wet Dream IPA debuts in 2015 and uses Centennial hops.

LTS Brewing | Madelia (6.0% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Now
Using fresh Cascade hops for aroma and flavor, and pelletized hops as bittering agents, LTS is releasing their first wet-hop beer. “If I can get hops from the same place again next year, I’ll call it the same thing,” says the brewery’s Brandon Schultz. “If not, my fresh-hop beer will probably be called something different.”

Lucid | Foto #Fresh (6.5% ABV) | Format: Draft and 12oz. bottles | Available: Mid-October

A wet-hop version of their Foto IPA with a secret mix of MN grown hops. It’s an annual repeat that varies with the hop crop. It releases on October 15.

Mankato Brewery | Fresh Hop IPA (7.0% ABV) | Format: Draft and 22oz. bottles | Available: Now

Using hops from Minnesota Hops Company just 25 miles down the road, Mankato used the freshest hops possible in this creation from head brewer Jacob Hamilton. While an annual release, Hamilton notes this year made changes in the beer’s grain bill.

Northbound Smokehouse | Fresh Hop (6.7% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Now

This is Northbound’s third year making a fresh-hop beer, mixing up the malt bill each year. This year also uses hops form a different farm in Minnesota.

Pryes Brewing | Fresh Hopped Miraculum (6.4% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Oct. 17 only
Available only at the Harvest Beer Festival on October 17, this beer was made with hops grown at Longfellow’s Community Hops garden and infused using a Randall. They will also offer a nitro version.

Schell’s | Fresh Hop Citra Pils (5.0% ABV) | Format: Draft and 12oz. bottles | Available: Now

Made with Citra whole-cone fresh hops from Yakima Valley, this beer debuted as Stag Series #6 and has become an annual brew since 2013.

Sociable Cider Werks | Wet Hop-A-Wheelie (6.5% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: TBD
Who said fresh hops have to be beer? This year, Sociable sourced the hops for this small-batch brew from a friend in North Dakota.

Surly | Wet (7.0% ABV) | Format: Draft and 16oz. cans | Available: Early October

Surly took a year off from this popular beer while they focused on their destination brewery in 2014. Wet is back in 2015 and features a Simcoe hop build. Coming just after the release of Nein, it’s a busy month at Surly.

Town Hall Brewery | Fresh Hop 100 (6.5% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Now

For the first time ever, Town Hall has used Minnesota-grown Cascade hops from Straight River Hops in Owatonna for their fresh-hop IPA. Topped off with pellets during fermentation, Town Hall’s tenth fresh hop beer includes 10 hop varieties.

Wenonah Brewing | Hop Backed Nugget Ale (6.5% ABV) | Format: Draft | Available: Now
Made with Nugget hops this year, and other strains in previous years, Wenonah makes this beer using a fresh hopper system. The hops are grown by the ownership in Stewartville, Minnesota.

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