Photographer, beer-lover and Instagram influencer Dusty, picks his highlights from the Fresh Hop season of 2024.

Brave Brewing Helping Hands

My fresh hop beer of the year is also a contender for beer of the year, Brave Brewing Helping Hands 2024 is just beautiful. A 6% Riwaka-hopped NZ pilsner that is sooo soft with layers of oily greeny dank passionfruit & grapefruit, there’s hints of tropicals all atop an effervescent carb. Quite possibly the most beautiful fresh hop ever made!

McLeod’s 802 Series #58

McLeod’s are a podium finisher every season for me and here they have smashed out another absolute banga of a freshy — coinciding with their cult 802 series. Hopped with Nelson Sauvin out of Clayton Farms, it’s packing big greeny gooseberry-grape punches and an oily resinous mouthfeel with a big juicy finish. Pops ’n’ slaps in all the right places!

Pacific Coast Tapawera Sunrise

This brew is next level. Tapawera Sunrise out of Pacific Cost Drinks is a colab with Hop Revolution and uses the often forgotten and under-utilised Pacific Sunrise fresh hop. Loads of soft berry & melon upfront followed by sherberty lemon. A green oily mouthfeel ties everything together before departing with a smooth juicy finish. An absolute treat!

Sprig + Fern Harvest Pilsner

One of my most anticipated drops of fresh hop season is Sprig + Fern Harvest Pilsner. Riwaka & Pilsner are made for each other IMO, and this iteration also features NZH-106 a daughter of Riwaka, Infamous Riwaka diesel notes are in abundance alongside notes of grapefruit passionfruit, and lemon. It’s prickly, resiny and all types of great!

Shining Peak Oapui Road

Locals doin’ local things in this hit out from Shining Peak and Wayward Hops: Oapui Road is a 4.5% freshy pils, using Taranaki-grown Riwaka — and it’s a beaut! Floral and spice initially followed by passionfruit and grapefruit. Delicately layered brew this, finishing with a mellow oiliness. Great to see big hop varieties grown locally.

Hop Federation Green Limousine

One brew that is always dialled in for fresh hop season is Hop Federation Green Limousine. Hopped with Nelson Sauvin off the bine and into the brew in 30 mins — that’s fresh asf! Soft pillowy malt builds the base for layerings of grape, passionfruit and gooseberry notes. It’s resiny with a bitey bitterness — a belter of a brew and a great example of fresh hop.

Liberty Invictus

Liberty Invictus lives up to its unconquerable name in this 5.2% hazy with Nelson Sauvin and Nectaron. It’s ripe pineapple meets guava, gooseberry meets green vegetal herbaceous hits, big vibrant juicy mouthfeel and a drying  finish round out a crusha of a brew.

Wanaka BeerWorks X Beers Garstonstein

Cracking colab here between Wanaka  Beerworks and Beers Beers Beers, who team up to crank up Garstonstein — a 6% IPA hopped with Nelson Sauvin straight outta Garston Hops. These deep south hops just hit different! It’s all about floral, spicy resin upfront before making way for notes of orange & gooseberry. A wash of citric bitterness on a sweet malty backbone pulls together a tantalising drop.