Posts tagged " US Hops "

Ed’s Top Five Hops

September 5th, 2017 Posted by Hops, Uncategorized 3 comments

If you haven’t already figured out, hops are a really important part of what we do at Epic. We love the flavours that hops give beer, and we put a lot of effort in selecting the right types of hops, as well as how we use them. Luke will be heading to Yakima soon to select our hops from the 2017 US Hop Harvest. Here’s a fun fact for you: Epic has used more aroma hops than any other brewery in NZ in the last ten years.

I had a chat with Ed Jefferies, Epic Production Manager, on the subject of hops. If we had the time, Ed could have talked about hops all day, but this would distract her from her (extremely important) job of making sure that our beers are produced. I don’t want to be held responsible for that, so I decided that I’d narrow the discussion down to her ‘Five Favourite Hops’.

 This is what she had to say about them.


Ed’s Top Five Hops

5. Amarillo
This is a tasty hop that gives beers a subtle but tasty flavour of stonefruit. If you’ve tried our Awakening Pils, the flavour of apricots and peaches sits perfectly with the crisp and refreshing bite from the bittering Chinook hops. 

4. Columbus
If you tried Rocket IPA from the Hysteria Series, you’ll know all about the huge ‘diesel’ hit that this hop gives (this description doesn’t really do it justice). Columbus also gives a subtle pepper aroma along with a slight liquorice flavour. This hop is powerful, resinous and offers a well-balanced bitterness. Like me, it doesn’t do subtle.

3. Nelson Sauvin
This beer drove our Dankomatic IPA back in 2016. This is such a big hop – the quintessential New Zealand aroma hop. It’s a great hop to use to balance out some of the huge US hops with a bit of homegrown flavour. This dank, resinous and grassy hop has featured in recent beers such as Big Bang Double IPA and Son of Thor IPA.

2. Citra
Citra is one of our most commonly used hops. As its name suggests, it offers a beer citrus-driven aromas and flavours, such as grapefruit, lime and even a bit of passionfruit.  The Citra hops really come through in Hysteria IPA where you get that awesome bitter kick, but the syrupy citrus aromatics drive it home.

1. Mosaic
Ah, Mosaic… I can’t stress how much I really, REALLY, love this hop. The beauty with Mosaic is that it can be blended with so many different hop styles and you can achieve very different results with each blend – it’s appropriately named, right?! This multi-dimensional hop has driven some of our most popular beers ever: One Trick Pony – Mosaic, plus the recent release, Magic Dust – which coincidently was our fastest selling beer ever. For Magic Dust IPA, we used Mosaic LupuLN2®, or Lupulin Powder, thus the name.


So, next time you enjoy an Epic beer, know that there’s been a lot of thought into how it has been made, what hops should be used to deliver the flavours that we love.

 

US Hop Harvest 2016 – The Countdown Starts Now

August 24th, 2016 Posted by Hops, News, Uncategorized No Comment yet

It is that time of the year again, and I am finalizing plans and counting down days to my trip to Yakima, USA. I am visiting because it is the time of the year that they harvest the hops.

Yakima is where the majority of hops are grown in the USA. Every year since 2012 I have traveled to Yakima at hop harvest time, to visit hop farms, and meet hop growers, but mostly to have the opportunity (which is the ultimate privilege) to be able to select the hop I want. This will be my fifth consecutive season at hop harvest in Yakima.

luke smelling hopsWhat does hop selection mean? It is that I am presented with several lots of hops (of approximately similar sizes, depending on variety and the quantity I have contract for that variety). I am presented with 6 to 8 different samples from potentially the same number of farms. I take these hops and rub them in my hands to heat up the hop oils and the smell the aromas they produce. I compare them all, making notes, and then rank them, and select my favourite.

Why do I think US grown hops are good? It probably goes back to my formative days of drinking craft beer (early 1990’s). When I first discovered it, and tasted flavours I had never had before in beer. Since that time and that beer(s) was in the US and used US grown hops to flavour it, I have always been drawn to these characters as favourites. Beer is so situational.

I first imported hops from Hopunion in 1997 and have been travelling to the US every year since, sometimes twice a year. Therefore much of my inspiration and influence has come from the West Coast of the USA when it comes to beer styles, beer flavours, hop varieties, and hopping rates.

Luke Hops Are FoodYes, I like hops. You could say I am obsessed with hops. I want to find out as much as I can about hops and the hops I brew with. I want to meet the people that grow the hops I buy. I want to see the plant the my hops come from and where those plants grow. Since these hops are grown in Yakima I need to hop on a plane and travel 7000 miles to get what I want, to make the best beer I can. So far this has seemed to have paid off.