Hops on the bine at the Bitterbine Hop Farm in Lillooet. (Photo: Joe Wiebe)
As any fan of craft beer knows, with the arrival of fall comes the annual harvest of the mighty hop. Many BC craft breweries celebrate this time of the season by brewing beers with hops that are as fresh as it gets.
At the end of August each summer, many BC brewers leave their brew kettles and fermentation tanks behind to go on a field trip. They travel to hop farms all around the province to collect fresh hops that are still wet and juicy from the harvest. Then they race back to their breweries to brew a batch of beer with those hops. These special fresh hop (or wet hop) beers come out a few weeks later and are only available for a short time at the beginning of autumn.
It all started 10 years ago at Driftwood Brewing
In September 2009, Victoria’s Driftwood Brewery brewed its first batch of Sartori Harvest IPA using fresh hops from the Sartori Hop Farm in Chilliwack. No other brewery in British Columbia had brewed a fresh hop IPA before and was a huge hit with craft beer lovers. This was also Driftwood’s first IPA — that’s right, they hadn’t even brewed Fat Tug yet! Every year since then, Driftwood has returned to the Sartori farm for wet hops and the unique beer has only grown in popularity since then.