Beer festival’s return was hopping

 

Last updated 9/28/2022 at Noon

JAROD GATLEY

The Sisters Fresh Hops Festival drew a huge crowd of folks eager to sample the region’s best fresh-hops beers on an exceptionally beautiful autumn day, Saturday, September 24.

Breweries from across Central Oregon put their best fresh hop beverage forward last weekend, for the 2022 Sisters Fresh Hop Festival.

On an idyllic, warm fall Saturday, 23 breweries brought fresh-hop beer and selections of cider to Sisters locals at the Three Creeks Brewing Co. production facility in Sisters for a fun-filled day of local eats, local music, and — most importantly — local beer.

This year’s hop fest was the first after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There was music by Tony Lompa and Oregon Fryer throughout the day, with the Festival running from noon to 6 p.m. There were a few local vendors, including Sisters Hats and Co., as well as two local food trucks, at the event.

Three Creeks Brewing Co. Owner, Wade Under-wood said, “We certainly hoped for a turnout as big as this on a beautiful day with no smoke after two years off.”

Patrons at the event could purchase a glass and a certain number of drink tickets to try the variety of fresh-hop beers from Central Oregon breweries. Every brewery in attendance brought a beer brewed using fresh hops. Avid Cider Co. had two ciders, an apple cider and an apricot cider brewed using fresh hops in the mix.

Fresh-hop beer must be brewed within 24 hours of getting the hops to the facility to maintain their freshness, and the hops can only be harvested in late summer, early fall.

Sisters’ own Three Creeks Brewing Co. brought out their award-winning Conelick’r fresh-hop beer for the Festival.

Brandon Davidson, Head Farmer from BC Hop Ranch in Woodburn, spoke of the long-standing relationship they have had with Three Creeks.

“We are going on 10 years of working with them with fresh hops for their beers,” said Davidson.

BC Hop Ranch started with Jim Davidson, who bought land in the Willamette Valley and began farming in 1940. The ranch is fourth generation, and Brandon Davidson represents the third generation. BC Hop Ranch supplied over 15 breweries with fresh hops this season.

“We were at 15-20 in the years before the pandemic and then went down to three or four during those two years, and are now back up in supplying these breweries,” said Davidson. “We’ve had such a great relationship with Three Creeks over the years and we are honored to supply for them.”

BC Hop Ranch grows a variety of hops, but Conelick’r was brewed with the famous Centennial hops.

“We think it’s so special to join together to make the best product we can and an award-winning fresh-hop beer,” said Davidson.

The Pacific Northwest is one of the prime hops growing locations because of the climate.

Attendees of the event all echoed the same sentiment: They were happy to have the Festival happening again after two years, and on a fall day with no smoke in Sisters.

Included in their ticket purchase, patrons were able to vote for the people’s choice bunny award for Best Fresh Hop Beer for 2022 by putting a beer top in jars for the different breweries. The winner of this year’s bunny trophy for Best Fresh Hop Beer 2022 was Three Creeks with Conelick’r. Second place went to Bevel Brewing out of Bend, and tied for third were Crux and Boneyard Brewing.

Proceeds from ticket sales benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Circle of Friends, and the Oregon Brewers Guild. The Oregon Brewers Guild is a nonprofit whose mission is to promote and protect the state’s brewing industry.

 

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