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10 Reasons To Love Fresh Hop Beer Season

The Mutt
Lucky Labrador Brewing in Portland Ore.

This is where our hops ended up this year -- in a pile culled from backyard trellises, vine-laden sidewalk poles, green-laden garage walls and even the occasional hop-strangled abandoned structure.

The one-day harvesting process itself was a fine bit of chaos, with volunteers at the Hawthorne Boulevard brewpub in Portland plucking hops from freshly unloaded bundles of vines in an attempt to get them into kettles less than a day later. What kind of hops are they? The brewers and pickers seldom know, but the more than 300 pounds come together in a mild, refreshing mix that's a bit more amber and malty that a traditional IPA.

Those muttly Amarillion, Centennial, Cascade, Willamette and other hops give it a sweet aroma, but a healthy dose of pale and crystal malt keep it a fairly mellow and very drinkable 4.5% ABV. It doesn't have to command drinkers to sit and stay a bit, but it coaxes them with this hop-addled treat.

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