Deschutes Portland 2014 Fresh Hop Beers

Goschie Centennial

The fresh hop beers from the Deschutes Portland pub are among the year’s most anticipated beer releases, and Brewmaster Ben Kehs has revealed to us his 2014 releases that will begin to be tapped in the next week. Hop harvest season is upon us, for many it’s the most wonderful time of the year, so this will be the first of many posts this year checking in with brewers on their fresh hop beer lineups for 2014.

Goschie Tettnang (not Cascade)

In Portland, Deschutes Head Brewer Ben Kehs is known to produce an outstanding lineup of fresh hop beers over the course of the season. He has shared this year’s lineup and his brewing process and techniques for producing them.

Deschutes PDX fresh hop beers – 2014
Beer Fresh Hop Varietal(s) Point of Addition
Kolsch Tettnang Hopback, pre-wort cooler
Hop City Centennial Hopback, pre-wort cooler
Cascade Conditioning tank
Oktoberfest Willamette Conditioning tank
Mirror Pond Cascade Conditioning tank
Saison Meridian Hopback, pre-wort cooler

Q: Can you tell me why you chose some for hop back and others conditioning

Ben Kehs: A lot of it has to do with harvest timing and our production schedule needs. For our fresh hop IPA, we chose to add Centennials in the brewhouse and Cascades in the conditioning tank because the timing of the harvest for those two varietals allows us to add two fresh hop additions in a single beer. Also, by using fresh hops in the conditioning tank for our Oktoberfest, we can brew the base in late July, and have it on tap by the start of Oktoberfest.  f we used fresh hops in the brewhouse for that one, we probably wouldn’t see it come on tap until mid- to late-October.

Variety aside, we definitely notice a difference in aromas and flavors depending on where the hops are being added. We try to make sure we have a healthy mix of both types of addition each year to showcase the diversity of wet hopping in beer.

Q: What yeast strains did you use on Kolsch and Saison and does the way the yeast attenuates or flocculates affect your use of hops at all?

Ben Kehs: We used the Wyeast 2565 Kolsch ale yeast for our Kolsch this year. Our Saison will use a combination of the Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison and 3711 French Saison. While we do consider the impact of final bitterness with regard to chosen yeast strain, we typically do not factor that in when determining which wet hop varietal to use. Also, we usually use kilned hops for our bittering additions in fresh hop beers for a couple reasons:

          We typically do not have alpha acids yet on fresh hop varietals, so it is harder to calculate.

You need ~5 times the amount of wet hops to receive the same amount of alpha acids you would get from kilned hops, and this quickly becomes a processing issue in the kettle for any beers intended to have a noticeable bitterness.

Q: What is the first one that will be on tap and any idea when?

Ben Kehs: Our first fresh hop beer to go on tap will probably be our Fresh Hoptoberfest.  We will probably see it go on tap the first or second week of September.

Q: Last question: Fresh Hop or Wet Hop?

Ben Kehs: I guess Wet hop over Fresh hop. I like Fresh more, but some breweries have used that to mean freshly harvested and kilned hops, so it could potentially be confusing. 

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

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:


  • Austen
    Sat Sep 6, 2014 4:07 AM

    Must we continue to draw out this wet vs fresh verbage debate? It’s just nomenclature. They’re simply hops, that are not dried, nor kilned, and freshly harvested off the vine. Yes they are fresh, yes they are wet. Actually, come to think of it, every hop I’ve ever utilized in the brewing process inevitably becomes wet. This, of course is due to that pesky liquid always making things wet. Including those precious dry hops! They never seem to be dry when I’m removing them from the bottom of the tank. Anyways, I think posing the question just seems silly. It happens just one time each year, and those of us who are in the know arent very confused about the subject.

    • Samurai Artist
      Samurai Artist
      Sat Sep 6, 2014 6:57 AM

      Yes we must continue to draw out the debate because it is not yet settled. The terms are confusing the public and I am not so much concerned about “those of us who are in the know” because then we might as well just stop trying to educate those less in the know since we in the know already know it and that doesnt make much sense.