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Beer Heaven: Fresh Hop Release at Two Beers Brewing – August 31

One of the most beloved times of year for craft beer lovers in the Pacific Northwest is hop harvest, which means the return of fresh hop (or wet hop) beer. A fresh hop beer is a beer in which fresh hops are used in the brewing process within 24 hours of being picked. For the Two Beers Brewing crew (who have a bit of an inside scoop on hop harvest thanks to some brewers with family ties to hop farms) that means driving the two hours to Yakima Valley the second they receive the call that hops are ready and driving back the very same day to the brewery where volunteers are anxiously waiting to help handpick the hops of the vines. No doubt, a labor of love. I’m obviously a bit biased, but in my opinion, Two Beers Brewing makes one of the best fresh hop beers out there and this year, it’s being released earlier than ever.

Mark your calendar for the not-to-be-missed Fresh Hop release at Two Beers Brewing, taking place next Friday, August 31 from 3-9 p.m. Soon after, you’ll start seeing this highly sought-after beer popping up on draft and in 22-ounce bottles around town. However, it doesn’t last long, so make sure you get your hands on some sooner rather than later!

What’s more, this time of year also means the return of fall seasonals such as Two Beers Brewing’s Heart of Darkness Imperial IPA and Pumpkin Spice Ale, both available on tap and in 22-ounce bottles later this fall. Find additional details about all three delicious beers below:

SEATTLE (August 22, 2012) – As the most highly anticipated beer on the growing brewery’s impressive tap list, Two Beers Brewing is excited to announce the early release of its 2012 Fresh Hop. Hop-enthusiasts can enjoy their first sip of this long-awaited beer beginning August 31 at the Two Beers Brewing tasting room – the earliest release for this beer yet – followed by its release in bars, restaurants and retail establishments throughout the Pacific Northwest beginning September 3. Adding to the excitement, Fresh Hop will soon after be accompanied by Two Beers Brewing’s Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA and Pumpkin Spice Ale – now both available in 22-ounce bottles.

“We look forward to this time of the year at the brewery and the flavorful beers that come with it,” said Joel VandenBrink, Two Beers Brewing founder and head brewer. “Plus, we’re excited to add Pumpkin Spice to our lineup of 22-ounce bottles, meaning more opportunity for our fans to enjoy the delicious flavors of fall.”

First brewed in 2009, Fresh Hop enters its fourth season on the brewery’s fall lineup. This Northwest-inspired brew’s strong citrus aroma – featuring hints of grapefruit and passion fruit – can be attributed to the freshly picked, Yakima Valley-grown Centennial hops used to create it. Copper in color with deep caramel malt tones, Fresh Hop 2012 settles in at 6.2 percent ABV resembling an aggressively dry-hopped mid-range IPA, but packing the punch only fresh hops can deliver. In addition to Centennial hops, this beer features locally grown Apollo, Cascade, Columbus, Super Galena, and Warrior hops, helping this popular beer achieve its bright and delightfully bitter flavor.

“This beer is a true demonstration of team work and our love for craft beer,” added VandenBrink. “Each year, we wait with anticipation for the call that the hops are ready. The moment we receive it, we drive to Yakima to pick them ourselves and that same day, we’re back at the brewery with staff and loyal fans handpicking the hops off the vines. There’s nothing else like it.”

“Two Beers Brewing does an amazing job capturing the flavor of the season with its Fresh Hop, which was voted top Washington fresh hop at our annual Fresh Hop Throwdown last year,” said Ellen Kelly and Rick Weersing, owners of The Noble Fir in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, known for its outstanding craft beer selection. “It’s a true tribute to local beer and Washington-grown hops, and we couldn’t be more excited for its return.”

Adding to the excitement, another of the brewery’s popular fall seasonals – Pumpkin Spice Ale – will be available in 22-ounce bottles for the first time in the beer’s four-year history. Malt forward with a nutmeg and clove aroma, drinkers of this fall-focused brew will enjoy cinnamon lingering on the tongue, with allspice rounding out the back end of the palate. First released in the fall of 2009, this perfectly spiced, deep copper colored ale – brewed with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice – makes its return to taps and now retailers on September 7.

Also joining the Two Beer Brewing tap list in September is the brewery’s Heart of Darkness Imperial Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA). Coming in 67 IBUs and a 8.4 percent ABV, this beer was first brewed as a limited release in 2011 and quickly became a popular pick, both on tap and in a bottle. An imperial version of the emerging “Black IPA” style, the Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA mixes dark roasted specialty malts with highly citrus and floral hops, and is then dry-hopped with Columbus hops for a smooth finish.  Featuring flavors of molasses, dark cherry, oak and chocolate, this noteworthy beer will be available in 22-ounce bottles and on tap around Seattle beginning October 1.

Two Beers Brewing will continue to distribute its five year-round offerings this fall, as well as a host of packaged products. In addition to Fresh Hop 2011, Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA and Pumpkin Spice Ale, craft beer enthusiasts can pick up Persnickety Pale Ale and Evolutionary IPA in 22-ounce bottles. Also available is Two Beers Brewing’s popular line of 12-ounce aluminum cans – sold in six-packs at select retailers including Whole Foods and Central Market – featuring Evolutionary IPA, Immersion Amber, Panorama Wheat, Persnickety Pale Ale, Trailhead ISA and SoDo Brown.

Offering twelve beers – including five year-round, seven seasonal, and a host of intricate infusions and limited releases – Two Beers Brewing also offers pints, growlers and kegs-to-go in its 4,800-square-foot SoDo brewery and tasting room, dubbed “The Woods.” Packaged products can be found throughout Washington, Oregon and Alaska, in addition to being available on tap in more than 500 restaurants and bars in Washington and Idaho. For more information, be sure to follow Two Beers Brewing on Facebook and Twitter, or visit www.twobeersbrewery.com.

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