A GUIDE TO BC's
fresh hopped veterans
Few things make beer lovers more excited than when autumn rolls around. While many crave Canadian fall comforts like sweaters, cool weather, and pumpkin spiced lattes (our version of a PSL is a pressure sensitive label), beer fanatics know what fall really means: Fresh Hopped Beer Season.
Fresh Hopped, sometimes referred to as Wet Hopped, is a brewing technique that uses hops that have been harvested that same day, allowing the presence of hop oils to make their way into the beer. Since these oils degrade quickly after harvest, the goal is to brew the beer as soon as possible once acquiring these hops.
As we roll through October, specialty beer stores are filled with fresh hopped beers from a number of local BC breweries, all approaching the style in their own way. So how does one possibly navigate all of these brews? Allow us to highlight five of the historically best fresh hopped beers to make things easy for you!
Yellow Dog Brewing Alpha Dog Fresh Hopped Pale Ale
Port Moody, BC | 5.2% alc/vol
Up there with some of the best fresh hopped beers in BC is Alpha Dog from Port Moody’s Yellow Dog Brewing. Upon its initial release back in 2015, Alpha Dog took the beer community by storm, quickly gaining a following that claimed it to be the top fresh hopped beer in B.C. — it did eventually win Best Fresh-Hopped Beer at the BC Beer Awards in 2018. This beer comes in at 5.2% abv, but steadily maintains its huge hop flavours. Also worth noting, this year Yellow Dog is expanding its fresh hopped lineup with a Fresh Hop Hazy IPA called “New Tricks.”
Dedicated to Belgian-style ales, Dageraad Brewing approaches fresh hop season in the same way. Rather than going with the pack and brewing an IPA or Pale Ale, they remain focused on their craft and produce a modified version of their Dageraad Blonde. The Wet Hopped Blonde is made with fresh Centennial hops from the Sartori Hop Farm (yes, that farm), Belgian yeast, and is bottle conditioned for a natural carbonation.
Driftwood Sartori Harvest IPA
Victoria, BC | 7% alc/vol
If ever there was a beer to cause mass chaos, this would be it. Arguably one of the most sought-after beers in a calendar year, Driftwood’s Sartori Harvest IPA causes hop heads to foam at the mouth in anticipation of its release. Packed with a flavour and mouthfeel that is so uniquely west coast, this beer sources its fresh Centennial hops from the Sartori Hop Farm just south of Cultus Lake, BC. Liquor stores normally have a limit on how many one can buy, and they sell out fast. So if you come across this one, snag your limit while you can!
Phillips Green Reaper Fresh Hop IPA
Victoria, BC | 6.5% alc/vol
Victoria’s biggest brewery also boasts one tasty Fresh Hop IPA. Full of pine and citrus flavours from fresh Centennial hops, the Green Reaper is clean, crisp and packs a wallop of hop flavour. First brewed back in 2012, this beer is a must when gathering your fresh hopped collection this year — if not for its delicious taste, then definitely for its bad-ass label!
Hoyne Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale
Victoria, BC | 5.3% alc/vol
As one of the OG breweries in Victoria from the initial craft beer boom of the early 2010s, Hoyne Brewing has been serving up absolutely delicious beers for years now. Their Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale pairs fresh hops sourced from Pender Island with a sweeter malt base, creating a well-balanced fresh hopped beer. That, combined with a mid-level alcohol point, makes this one of the most approachable fresh hopped beers brewed in BC.
Being beer fanatics ourselves, we’d love to hear what you think of these five classic fresh hop favs in BC. If you’re a brewery with your own fresh hop release coming out soon and need help with labels, give us a shout by clicking on the link below.