Like other breweries throughout the Northwest, Big Barn has had its hands full with fresh-hop season – but it’s been more hands-on than most.
The Green Bluff brewery, on the Bodacious Berries and Fruit farm, is finishing the first harvest of its new 2-acre hop field. While some have been used fresh, most of the crop is being dried, pelletized, vacuum-sealed and frozen to supply Big Barn with the bulk of its hop needs over the coming year.
“We should get close to 1,000 pounds this year,” said Craig Deitz, who owns the brewery and farm with his wife, Jane. “It’s not a ton, but it’s a good start.”
That could provide as much as 80 percent of Big Barn’s annual hop bill, with enough left over to start selling to other area breweries. Eventually, with room for expansion, Deitz said, “We could have 10 acres of hops here.”
Big Barn previously used some homegrown hops from a half-acre pilot patch, but this is its first large-scale crop. Five varieties were grown this year: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Willamette and Styrian Golding.
Some of the first four went into a fresh-hop Cascadian dark ale dubbed Midnight Harvest. That will be featured along with beers from six other area breweries in a fresh-hop festival hosted by Big Barn on Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m.
Bellwether is bringing a red rye ale hopped with Cascade, Centennial and Chinook from Big Barn’s field while the Steam Plant used the Cascade and Centennial along with homegrown Cascade and Tettnanger in a fresh-hop version of its Cutter’s Pale. Badass Backyard’s offering features homegrown Cascade, Chinook and Willamette.
Also participating are English Setter and Hopped Up from the Spokane Valley and Top Frog from Newport, Wash. Green Bluff neighbor Twilight Cider Works is contributing a fresh-hopped cider.
Tickets are $25 in advance at the brewery and $30 at the door, which includes five beer tokens, live music and a bratwurst with sides. Proceeds support the Green Bluff Lions Club’s community projects.
Pine-forward Simcoe stars in a sessionable IPA by Twelve String (5 percent alcohol by volume, 75 International Bitterness Units) and the bigger, richer Alpha Madness from Pullman’s Paradise Creek (6.8, 75). Twelve String also has a Mosaic red on the way.
Perry Street is pouring two offerings – a fruity, spicy Amarillo pale (5.5) and a hazy, juicy New England-style IPA featuring fresh Simcoe and Loral (6) – with a Mosaic IPA to follow.
Other options include the 1.21 Gigahops (6.2, 50) from Waddell’s – a dank, lightly fruity combination of Centennial and Amarillo – and River City’s light-bodied, fruity, grassy, Citra-infused Funkadelicious (5.8, 50). Young Buck’s Warp 4 IPA (6.5, 80) is partially fresh-hopped with homegrown Cascade and Willamette and dry-hopped with regular El Dorado.
And more fresh-hop festivals are on the way, at Steady Flow Growler House on Oct. 7; The Steel Barrel on Oct. 13, featuring Fremont’s Centennial, Amarillo, Citra and organic Cowiche Canyon blend; and The Lantern Tap House on Oct. 13-14.
Traditional, malty Oktoberfest lagers are pouring at Daft Badger (5.4, 20), Perry Street (6.2), Waddell’s (6.2, 17), Whistle Punk (5.6) and Young Buck (6.8, 26).
Twelve String’s newest IPA, the lighter One Hit Wonder (5.6, 66), is hopped with Idaho 7 and Falconer’s Flight 7 C’s.
Black Label’s S.M.O.G. (11, 59) is an imperial oatmeal stout finished with maple syrup while Waddell’s brings back a bigger version of its Imperial Alligator Oatmeal Stout (11.2, 50).
TT’s Old Iron at The Steel Barrel on Thursday releases a rye smoked Stovebolt Stout (8, 37).
New Boundary on Saturday taps 1919 Flashover Red (9, 56), an imperial Mexican lager with serrano peppers, to benefit the Cheney Firefighters Benevolent Fund.
No-Li is rolling out the first in a series of We Are Spokane golden ales – honoring local World War II hero Samuel Grashio, to benefit the Washington State Fallen Heroes Project – along with 12-ounce cans of its Wrecking Ball imperial stout.
Two and growing
Bellwether celebrates its second anniversary Friday and Saturday with three special beer releases: the Luposlipaphobia fresh-hop red, Gru-It Ourselves community-sourced herb beer and aged Seawolf braggot.
The brewery is buying its building at 2019 N. Monroe and upgrading to a 10-barrel brewing system from the current 1.5 barrels, along with expanded seating inside and out.
Save the date
The Coeur d’Alene Growler Guys’ IPA-Off on Saturday from 2 to 5 is a blind tasting of special releases from breweries including Daft Badger, Downdraft, Laughing Dog, Mad Bomber, MickDuff’s, Selkirk Abbey, Slate Creek and Trickster’s.
Post Falls Brewing’s Oktoberfest on Saturday from noon to 10 will feature a Dr. Roktoberfest Festbier, live music and food trucks.
Tickets are on sale for a five-course Fremont beer dinner Oct. 11 at Nectar Catering and Events, at $49.99 through eventbrite.com.
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