behind the pint

Breakside Brewery Liquid Nitrogen Frozen Fresh Hop Beers

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Breakside Fresh Hop 2014 from Ritch Marvin on Vimeo.

Breakside Brewery  Liquid Nitrogen Frozen Fresh Hop Beers for the brewery’s 2014 hop harvest releases—before shattering them.

Brewmaster Ben Edmunds is known for developing some great hoppy beers and IPAs, from the brewery’s flagship to the Wanderlust IPA and India Golden Ale, but he has always been frustrated with fresh hop beers.

“For me, a lot of fresh hop beers just have this really intense chlorophyll, plant matter kind of character, and often don’t showcase the varietal character of the hops—say, the dank and piney notes of Simcoe, or the tropical notes of Citra.”

Brewers are still figuring out the best methods to extract the subtle fresh flavors from un-dried, un-kilned hops that are available just once a year during the annual hop harvest.

“When you’re given these whole cones, you don’t get a chance to really access those lupulin glands where the acids and resins and oils are all stored, and it’s those things that are the signature components of hop flavor and aroma. So, we were talking about how we could come up with a technique where we could actually expose those glands, and I was talking about grinding the hops or breaking them open. It’s almost that the most gentle thing we can do is just shatter them, and in the moment of saying that I thought of liquid nitrogen.”

Breakside’s “Fresh Hop Simcoe IPA,” a fresh hopped version of the brewery’s flagship IPA, is the first of three fresh hop beers this season and is on tap at both Breakside locations now.

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com

4 Comments

  1. Jeff Alworth

    September 10, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Wow. Glad you were on hand to capture that–this now becomes the must-try ale of the season. When will it be available?

  2. Samurai Artist

    September 10, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Breakside’s “Fresh Hop Simcoe IPA,” a fresh hopped version of their flagship IPA is the first of three fresh hop beers this season and is on tap at both Breakside locations now.

  3. Tracy Thomas

    September 12, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    I was disappointed with the Fresh Hop Simcoe IPA. It was a lovely beer, but I had to try very hard to discern any fresh hop flavor or aroma. I think the citrusy nature of the hops in their normal IPA (which I tasted a sample of on the side) was slightly muted in the fresh hop version, but that was it. My first reaction in reading about the liquid nitrogen experiment is that the volatile hop oils would boil right off with the liquid nitrogen, but I’m still going to try the rest of the fresh hop beers as they come on tap to see if it might actually work!

  4. Bill Night

    September 13, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Awesome. Can’t wait to try it.

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