This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Craft Beer Brouhaha Reaches a Head

In other words, it gives them license to bend the truth. While some brewers will use dried hops for bittering and fresh hops for flavor and aroma -- a savvy move, given the sheer amount of fresh hops bittering requires -- bypassing fresh ones altogether is a no-no. Night singled out two Oregon brewers -- Widmer (BREW - Get Report) and Hopworks -- for using only dried hops in "fresh hop" batches from several years ago. Each has since abandoned that practice in favor of the real deal.

But is "fresh hop" even the right term? To find out, both Night and I consulted the BeerAdvocate, where reviews of Sierra Nevada's Northern Hemisphere Fresh Hop Ale dated back to 2001. However, the Fresh Hop Ale brewed by pioneering Yakima Valley brewer Bert Grant at Yakima Brewing went back to 2002. With both Grant -- who died in 2001 -- and Sierra Nevada's Ken Grossman getting their start more than 30 years ago, there had to be more to it than that. Over at RateBeer, one member posted a review of a 1998 bottle of Grant's Fresh Hop, while the oldest real-time review came in October of 2000. Sierra's Wet Hop, meanwhile, didn't crop up until January 2002.

Though Sierra Nevada's own press releases indicate the brewery was making "fresh hop" beer as recently as 2007, a 1997 feature by esteemed beer journalist Sal Emma features Sierra Nevada referring to freshly harvested hops as "green hops."

Meanwhile, Grant's Fresh Hop Ale is name dropped by the Seattle Times as early as 1998, Meanwhile, beer blogger Jeff Alworth at Beervana argues that Grant's Fresh Hop Ale only dates back to 1996 or 1997, while commenters say it was first produced in 1995.

Night has politely asked that, given the confusion created by the two names and even Sierra Nevada's uncertainty about the usage, the term "fresh hop" become the standard and "wet hop" be dropped entirely. Again, it seems like a trifling distinction, but this is a corner of an industry that exists under a trifling distinction.

The term "craft" itself is becoming increasingly arbitrary. The Brewers Association craft beer interest group has not only revised the definition of a "craft brewer" as applied to its members, but created a much-ridiculed burn list of everyone who isn't considered craft, including legacy brewers such as Pennsylvania's Straub and Yuengling and Minnesota's August Schell -- all of which were founded in the 1800s, survived prohibition and came this far without being bought out by larger breweries.
2 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
BREW $8.02 0.00%
AAPL $94.02 0.00%
FB $104.07 0.00%
GOOG $683.57 0.00%
TSLA $162.60 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,204.97 -211.61 -1.29%
S&P 500 1,880.05 -35.40 -1.85%
NASDAQ 4,363.1440 -146.4150 -3.25%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs