A couple of weeks ago before the flu took me down, I got a chance to sample all of Fremont Brewing’s Fresh Hop offerings. This year along with releasing their usual fresh hop offering, Cohiche Canyon, they also released the Field to Ferment series. This series represents the best of what a fresh hopped beer can be by literally brewing the beer in order of the hops being harvested from the field at that particular time. Each time using the same pale base just hopping it differently as the harvest went along. They ended up doing this with four different hop varietals: Centennial, Simcoe, Citra, and Mosaic.
Field to Ferment: Centennial
-Appearance: Nice pale yellow with a decent amount of head and a bit of haze but no real sediment to speak of. Since they used the same pale malt in all of these I would be surprised if any of the variants look any different.
-Nose: Citrusy. Notes of orange and grapefruit. Fresh green notes on this guy you can definitely tell this guy is fresh hopped.
-Palate: Get a lot more pine on the palate than on the nose. Dries your mouth out a bit more than I would like, however it does keep you coming back for more which I do like.
-Rating: 3/5: Definitely not my favorite hop it leaves too much on the back palate for my liking.
Field to Ferment: Simcoe
-Appearance: As I expected the appearance is the same as with the Centennial. (the rest follow this pattern as they all use the same pale ale base)
-Nose: More powerful of a grapefruit aroma than the Centennial.
-Palate: BIG grapefruit flavors and some of the pine notes that you got on the Centennial are replaced with some more floral notes.
-Rating: 3.25/5: Bigger fruit and floral notes on this guy making it slightly better in my book. The pine is still there on the back palate drying and just staying way too long.
Field to Ferment: Citra
-Nose: You get hints of fresh pine straight away. More than anything you get grapefruit and Candied orange peel.
-Palate: As with all of them you can tell these are freshly harvested hops straight outta the field. These beers are so fresh and bitter, with green notes that just stick in the back palate, making the mouth water. Keeping you coming back for more and so far this is by far the most refreshing. Really bringing the juicy fruity notes.
-Rating: 3.25/5: To be honest I was a little disappointed as Citra hops are my favorite and it just didn’t do it for me. The malt just might not work with the single variety. However,this guy is tropical and refreshing and really illustrates what these hops can do to brighten up a beer.
Field to Ferment: Mosaic
-Nose: If possible more aromatic than the last couple. Perhaps because this was the one most recently on the vine.
-Palate: Big Floral notes up front. Finishing with light tropical notes. The fruit finish makes this one the most balanced of the bunch. Doesn’t have that back palate dryness that all the others had.
-Rating: 3.75/5: I really liked this one the best out of all the single hopped pales. Mostly because the Mosaic hop works best with the pale malt. Definitely the most balanced and a beer that I wouldn’t mind drinking year round.
Fremont Brewing’s Cowiche Canyon Fresh Hopped Pale Ale 2016
-Nose: Hops on hops on hops. Freshly cut grass, grapefruit, and pine. You get all you would expect from Fremont’s essential fresh hopped offering.
-Palate: Very balanced and not as bitter as you might expect. I am really glad I’m having this beer for the second year in a row. This is truly what a fresh hop beer should taste like. Fresh hops straight off the vine and into your mouth but also allowing them to play expertly with the malt to achieve balance.
-Rating: 4.5/5: This is a damn near perfect beer. As I said its definitely hoppy but not overwhelmingly so. The flavors of grapefruit and pine play great with sweetness of the malt.
To summarize…. I like that they tried something like this. Do I think it turned out well? I’d go with a 5 out of 10 on that one. Sure it does showcase each hop in how it plays up with their pale ale but does it really make 4 worthwhile beers? Nah. Some are mediocre at best. Interesting concept… Ok beer.
Stick with Cowiche Canyon you can’t go wrong there.
Photo Credit: Kayla Johnson