Sep 29, 2022 - Food and Drink

Where to find Colorado's best fresh hop beers

Hops in a burlap sack

Fresh-picked hops at Billy Goat Farm in Montrose. Photo courtesy of Austin Studio Denver

Once a year, the hops gods deliver a truly unique beer to Colorado breweries.

What to know: It features hops — the much-hyped flavoring element in beer — fresh from the bine, often within 24 hours of being picked.

  • Because each harvest varies, every year's edition is a different flavor exploration.

The intrigue: A panel of beer experts — Axios Denver's John Frank included — gathered Tuesday for a blind tasting of 16 fresh hop (also known as wet hop) beers made by Colorado breweries.

  • The entries covered the entire range of styles, from pilsners to IPAs, but the best had a punch of fresh fruit flavors from the hops without being too bitter.

The results: The top three finishers:

  • Comrade Superdamp, the fresh-hopped version of the Superpower IPA, both multi-award winning beers
  • Station 26's fresh-hopped Juicy Banger IPA
  • Ratio's wet-hopped Antidote IPA

John's picks: Two other favorites were Outer Range's Strata Gems, a fresh-hopped hazy double IPA with strawberry hop flavor, and Odell's Strata Fresh Hop IPA.

The bottom line: Now's a great time to visit your local brewery and try the freshness.

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