Fresh Hop Competition

NOTE: In 2021, due to the timing of the Washington Beer Awards, there will be no separate Fresh Hop Competition.  Fresh hop beers may be entered into the "Fresh Hop Beer" category of the Washington Beer Awards, being held in October.  The Fresh Hop Competition may return as a separate event in 2022.  The information below is retained from the original Fresh Hop Competition held in 2019 before the pandemic forced competition changes as reference information if the event returns.


Starting in 2019 we are running a special competition to support recognizing Washington's amazing fresh hop beers.  This competition is a separate but supplemental competition to the regular Washington Beer Awards focused on recognizing excellent fresh hop beers from all across the state from any Washington licensed brewery.

Below you'll find a high level summary of the important aspects of the Fresh Hop Competition. For the complete entry details, you can download a full copy of the rules here (brewers should familiarize themselves with the complete rules prior to entry).


General Washington Beer Awards Fresh Hop Competition Rule Summary

(Rules for special awards may vary slightly. Please read the full rules for details.) 

Eligibility & Pricing

  • Brewers must own a licensed commercial brewery in the state of Washington to participate in the Washington Brewers Awards. Beers submitted must have been brewed in and commercially available in the state of Washington in a facility located in Washington which has a Brewers Notice on file with the TTB (U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau).
  • The term "Fresh Hops" refers to freshly harvested hops (per the BA Guidelines: Such hops might be undried fresh or frozen cones or ground material, or, freshly kilned dried cones or pellets
  • Beers submitted to the competition must be brewed with "fresh hops" from the current calendar year's harvest.  Other hops may be used in the beer but the primary flavor and/or aroma character of the hops MUST be from the current year's hop harvest
  • $40 per entry.


  • The online registration period will be from September 1st through September 10th. All entries must be registered online.
  • Breweries may enter up to 4 entries. Breweries with multiple locations may register up to 4 beers per location or they may enter all of their beers under one location (up to 4 total).
  • Beers will be entered into the online registration tool derived from the currently published Brewers Association Style Guidelines on the Brewers Association website as of July 1st of the competition year.
  • The anticipated award categories are:

1.       Fresh Hop American-Style Pale Ale (base style must be American-Style Pale Ale)
2.       Fresh Hop Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale (base style must be Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale)
3.       Fresh Hop American-Style Strong Pale Ale (base style must be American-Style Strong Pale Ale)
4.       Fresh Hop American-Style India Pale Ale (base style must be American-Style India Pale Ale)
5.       Fresh Hop Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (base style must be Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale)
6.       Fresh Hop American-Style Imperial or Double India Pale Ale (base style must be American-Style Imperial or Double India Pale Ale)
7.       Fresh Hop Juicy or Hazy Imperial or Double India Pale Ale (base style must be Juicy or Hazy Imperial or Double India Pale Ale)
8.       Other Fresh Hop Beer (must be in a base style different from all of the above award category base styles)

  • Additional information is required with many categories noted in the Brewer’s Association Style Guidelines. It is the responsibility of the entrants to properly complete this information in the “Specialty Information” section.

Confirmation of Entries

  • All entries submitted as of September 10th will be considered confirmed.  If the organizers decide to change any award categories, affected brewers will be notified after the registration period.


  • After confirmation, entrants will be invoiced for their entries and mailed a standard license agreement.
  • Check payments made out to “Washington Beer Awards” and a signed copy of the license agreement must be received by September 28th. They must be mailed to: Washington Beer Awards, PO Box 26398, Federal Way, WA 98093

Submitting Beers

  • You must provide at least six (6) 12-ounce containers, four (4) 22-ounce containers, or the equivalent of at least 72 ounces for each entry with a minumum of 4 packages. Acceptable package sizes must be between 10 and 32 ounces. You must send at least 4 packages of each beer being judged. All entries must be bottled or canned.
  • After confirmation of entries, you will be e-mailed bottle labels to print out and label your entries. These bottle labels should be affixed to the bottles or cans using clear packing tape. Labels should be affixed below the shoulder of the bottle.
  • All beers must be mailed or delivered to the published drop sites on the Washington Beer Awards website.
  • Beers must be received between September 21st and September 28th. Late entries will not be accepted.


  • All beers will be judged in accordance with guidlines derived from the Brewer’s Association Style Guidelines published as of July 1st of the competition year.  Modifications may be made by the competition organizers to accomodate market and competition needs.
  • A minimum of 8 (eight) entries is required in a category for that category to be eligible to be judged independently. The competition organizers reserve the right to merge categories into hybrid award categories at their discretion to ensure that awards are provided in meaningful categories with enough entries to provide healthy competition.  Brewers will be notified of the award category mergers.
  • Beers will be judged by a panel of judges in a blind format. No information will be provided to judges that could tie the entry to a specific brewery.

Post Competition

  • Awards will be presented at an Awards Ceremony following the competition. Details will be posted on the Washington Beer Awards website. Awards will be mailed to entrants not able to attend the Awards Ceremony.
  • Judge tasting notes and awards will be mailed immediately following the ceremony to the brewery addresses specified in the registration process.
  • All decisions from the Washington Beer Awards are final.

Core Dates:

September 1st - 10th: Registration Open
September 12th: Invoices sent to breweries
September 15th-18th: Bottle labels sent to breweries
September 21st-28th: Entry Drop Window
October 5th: Blind Judging
Week of October 12th: Awards Announcement