Hops, hops, hops… Just like new breweries and beer varieties popping up all the time, new hops are popping up all the time as well. Some are naturally growing, and some have been cultivated by cross breeding different strains of hops. Currently, there are hundreds of hop varieties in the worldwide craft beer market. Hops are used for a variety of reasons, mainly for bittering, aromatizing and flavoring.
This week, I’m not only going to introduce a few hops that are new and hot in today’s craft beer world, but I will also be talking about their inceptions and the innovative people who created them. Two are domestic, one is foreign, and all three are utterly impressive.
Stop in at any of our locations and see what we are raving about!
And Now, the Brews
Pipeworks Brewing Co. | Chicago, IL | Absolute Motion | New England IPA
|This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about Pipeworks in this blog, and I’d be shocked if it’s the last. Their most highly acclaimed beers are stouts and IPAs, and Absolute Motion is a great example. This double dry-hopped oat IPA is brewed with Styrian Wolf and Hallertau Blanc hops and an objectively absurd amount of oats to create a soft, pillowy mouthfeel that is so necessary in this style of beer. I’ve talked with some people that were initially tripped out by the fact that oats are featured in the beer, but oat is simply just a kind of grain. Grain is used in beer. So, yeah. There’s oatmeal stouts and whatnot, and nobody bats an eye at those. Remember the first time you saw a milkshake IPA? Yeah, and now those are what they are. Tons of beers use oats, including Modist’s Dreamyard and Fair State’s Mirror Universe, which are two cornerstones of the hazy game that any Minnesota craft beer consumer is familiar with.
Honestly, when I saw this beer in the cooler at a little rinky dink liquor store in Madison, the Styrian Wolf hop made me go for it. I had never heard of it, but knew that it must be solid, being that it’s coming from Pipeworks and all. Turns out, I was right, because we had to go back the next day to get some more. This super hazy, super soft, super approachable IPA is bursting with tropical aromas that lead to light fruity flavors on the palate, with a fair amount of herbal lemon grass and earth.
Okay, onto the hop: Styrian Wolf. It is very closely related to Styrian Dragon, Styrian Fox, and Styrian Golding hops. This is pointless in mentioning, because nobody knows anything about those hops either. Anyways, the Styrian hop series comes from the Slovenian Institute for Hop Research and Brewing in Zalec, Slovenia. Wolf is advertised to carry dominant strawberry flavors with slight savory passion fruit, mango, spice, citrus and floral aromas topped with notes of herbal anise and black licorice.
|4 pk 16 oz cans | 6.5% ABV | No IBU|
Almanac Beer Co. | Alameda, CA | Strawberry Hopcake | Sour Ale
|You already know what’s needed to successfully saturate the Minnesota craft beer market: a legit hazy IPA, a badass barrel-aged stout, and a killer sour. Well, it’s safe to say that Almanac is 3/3, and lo and behold, here they are, shining in the Land O’ Lakes. Us Northerners haven’t yet been graced by any Almanac stouts, but we’ve been enjoying their IPAs and sours. I know this for a fact because they are extremely fleeting from our stores. Seriously, when Strawberry Hopcake showed up at the Chanhassen location, it was gone by the end of the night.
Strawberry Hopcake is a sour ale aged in oak barrels with strawberries, cherries, nectarines, raspberries and pluots (similar to plums), and then dry-hopped with Sabro, Citra, Cashmere. The result is a delightfully sour beer with just the right amount of barrel funk. The main flavors that stand out are strawberry and cherry, but these are only the beginning flavors of this deeply complex beer. Which brings us to the most beloved new hop to the game: Sabro.
The Sabro hop exhibits an intoxicating and complex blend of fruit and citrus. Mainly praised for it’s coconut cream characteristics, Sabro is also known for aromas and flavors of strawberry and stone fruit, as well as slight resinous and minty aspects. Sabro is very unique in that is has been growing naturally for thousands of years in the American Southwest, as opposed to being cultivated and descending from European heritage; almost all-American hops are descendants of European hops. Before Sabro was Sabro, it was known only as ‘HBC 438’. ‘HBC’ refers to Hop Breeding Company, which is a which is a Yakima Valley-based company that is known for developing new hop varieties. If you know anything about hops, which I’m sure you do if you’re taking the time to read this blog, you’d be very familiar with a few developments from the Hop Breeding Group. Citra, Mosaic, and Ekuanot are a few of their more well-known varieties.
|375 ml btl | 6.7 % ABV | No IBU|
Junkyard Brewing Co. | Moorhead, MN | Experimental #10416 | NE Pale Ale
|This is the first time that I am featuring a beer that will not be available in any store. It won’t even be canned for sale at the brewery. It’s such a small, limited batch that only a very select few venues will get it. I was fortunate enough to try it at good old Turtle’s in Shakopee.The hooligans up at Junkyard wanted to make this beer as soft and approachable as possible, so they chose to only use hops in the whirlpool and in a massive dry hop dose. They wanted to minimalize bitterness, so they kept the hops far away from the boil kettle. By only hopping the brew in the whirlpool and dry hopping stages, clean aromas of citrus and resin treat the nose.
The Experimental #10416 comes from Hopsteiner, which is a very well-established hop growing operation. They started as a family farm in 1845 and have grown into a worldwide hop farming system with farms in America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Hopsteiner is a vertically integrated global hops supplier dedicated to delivering the finest hops and hop products available. Currently on their sixth-generation of growers, Hopsteiner continues to advance the industry as one of the foremost international hops growing, breeding, trading, and processing firms in the world. They ship hops globally and partner with breweries of all sizes, offering unique hop varieties and innovative hop products designed to enhance flavor, aroma, consistency, and flexibility for brewing and beyond.
|Tap Only | 5.4% ABV | No IBU|
* Please Note that not all products are available at all locations. Do you want one of the beers mentioned?