Posts tagged " ych hops "

CRYONMAN – Simply The Vest!

October 1st, 2017 Posted by New Beer, Uncategorized 1 comment

When two greats come together, inevitably you end up with something even greater. 

Malt and hops.

Pizza and beer.

Bacon and eggs.

Peas and corn.

Ninjas and Turtles.

David Cryer and Luke Nicholas.

The beer that we’ll be launching for the 2017 Brewers Guild Beer Awards is the super-charged tasty brain-child of two legends of New Zealand’s craft beer industry. I had the pleasure of interviewing David Cryer of Cryermalt and Luke about this beer to get an idea of what we can expect from this beer –  the result of a union of expertise and passion for things that taste AWESOME.

DAVID CRYER, THE MARQUIS OF MALT

Can you tell me about the history of Epic and Cryermalt working together?
I met Luke when he first started at Steam back in 1997. He quickly became
head brewer at Steam where he developed the EPIC Pale Ale. We were supplying malt to Steam at the time and then continued to supply Epic when it separated away.

How long have you guys been wanting to create a beer together?
The first time in 1999 I travelled with Luke to Phoenix for the Craft Brewers Conference, we shared a room during this trip and this is when Luke got to experience my love for comic books. I used to keep sneaking out of the room to comic book shops to bring them back and had a huge long box in the room – just full of comics I had purchased for my collection.

This will be a first edition beer to go towards my comic beer collection

What’s the significance of the ingredients that you have brought to the brew? Can you tell me a bit about the product (malts vs hops)?
Low Colour Maris Otter with the low Kilning profile will allow the new hop variety Luke has sourced to show its qualities in the best possible light. Maris Otter has been around since 1966 as a variety which is probably a record in terms of a variety being available and the fact it is innovating in 2017 testifies to the strength of this king of malt varieties.

What flavours will these products bring to the beer?
Maris Otter has been a signature malt flavour that has contributed to Epic’s flavour profile for many years now. Using the Low Colour Maris Otter for the first time the lower kilning profile the renowned malty biscuity flavour of Maris Otter will be in the background blending in with the hops.
The lower kilning will mean less colour contribution from the malt which will lead to a lower colour finish in the beer and create an attractive hue to the final product.

What does the name “CRYONMAN” mean?
The meaning behind Cryonman is one for Luke to answer. I was not present during the naming!*

If you could have a superpower, apart from the ones you already have, what would it be?
Superpower – ability to change water into beer (or is that too blasphemous?)!
Not so much a superpower, but the ability to build a super suit that gets me to a meeting with Robert
Downy Jnr and also to all the brewing/beer events. But let me not forget I would be wearing an iron
VEST!

LUKE NICHOLAS, THE KING OF HOPS

Can you tell me about the history of Epic and Cryermalt working together?
When I started as assistant brewer at the Cock & Bull they were buying Aussie and some UK malt from Cryer Malt. Over the years I have brewed with any malt I can get my hands on to see how it performs, and if it makes my beer taste better. It just so happens the Cryer Malt provides a range of some of the best malts available from around the world. Therefore I have been buying malt from David for the last 20 years. Starting 1997.

How long have you guys been wanting to create a beer together?
We have talked off and on for a few years about making a beer together, as we like to joke Cryer Malt has been collaborating with Epic for years. There have been times where our forecasts have fallen short or times where Cryer Malt have sold out of malts that we use, and we have been forced to substitute one malt for another. Sometimes when we have to make malt changes, it works out to make the beer even better. So we thought with the release of this new malt we could work on something together which we actually plan.

What’s the significance of the ingredients that you have brought to the brew? Can you tell me a bit about the product (malts vs hops)?
Malt: light colour, like pilsner malt, but will have that wonderful Maris Otter ale malt character
Hops: aggressively resinous, green, punchy. The malt will be the perfect light canvas to highlight these hops.

What flavours will these products bring to the beer?
The Low Colour Maris Otter, will bring a colour like a lager or a pilsner but will have that luscious delicious English Ale malt character, which will set up the beer to showcase this new mega-hop from Yakima. HBC 682 is still part of the trial program but brewers that have brewed with it are raving about it. While In Yakima recently I was talking with the growers and they are all really excited about it as it is a great hop to grow and pick, giving wonderful yields as well as chart-topping alpha acids.

Out of the box, HBC682 smells like having your head too close to the baling machine and it accidentally getting compressed and baled. There’s a huge resiny intenseness.

What does the name “CRYONMAN” mean?
CRYONMAN is a play on Cryer Malt and David’s love of comics. That one time we roomed together in Phoenix AZ, for CBC 1999, David spent all his spare time buying comics.

How did you enjoy coming up with the name CRYONMAN?
We got together with the team from Cryer Malt, had a BBQ, a few beers and a bit of a brainstorming session. You are always more creative after a couple of beers. We felt that the core of this beer was the malt, and we wanted to highlight something special, yet for many unknown about David, which was his love of comics.

If you could have a superpower, apart from the ones you already have, what would it be?
Hmmm… To turn any beer into an IPA, maybe? Or at least to be able to miraculously give a beer more hops, ’cause we all NEED… MORE… HOPS… right?

*Author’s note: David was present at the start of the beer naming process. He soon discovered that coming up with the name of a beer with Luke is quite an arduous process. David wisely left it up to the experts. The reason for David’s departure may have been captured in this tweet:

US Hop Harvest 2016 – What actually happens.

September 6th, 2016 Posted by Hops, News, Uncategorized 1 comment

One question I was asked recently is what do you do while you are in Yakima during hop harvest?

The short answer is I visit hop farms and meet with the hop growers and select my hops for the year.

This year I am visiting the following hop farms, from which I selected some of my varieties from last year’s harvest.

Van Horn FarmsColumbus

Black Star Farms – Mosaic

C&C FarmsCentennial

Perrault Farms – to visit the hop breeding plot.

What does a hop farm visit entail?

It is a chance to meet up with the hop farmer and have a walk amongst the bines to see how they are looking, have a chat about how things are going for the current harvest and how the weather and growing season has gone. We’ll discuss what this means for yields and quality of this seasons hops. It is also a chance to ask about what the future holds; What varieties will be planted out next season, what varieties might be reduced.

Luke in the hopsAfter a walk through the hops and rubbing and smelling them, I’ll go through the processing plant where you get to see the harvested bines arriving. The bines are hooked up and run through the pickers that strip off all the delicate hop flowers. The flowers are separated from the leaves and stalks and conveyed to the drying room. The drying room receives the hops onto a big bed with a false floor that hot air is pushed up through. After 6-8 hours, the hops are dried then moved on to get baled up. The bales are all checked for temperature and moisture (if bales contain too much moisture, things can get ugly – fire ugly) then the bales are loaded onto trucks.

Hop Bales On TruckThe truck with hop bales are delivered to YCH Hops. After being checked and stored a brewers cut will be taken from the lot that has arrived from the farm.

After the farm visits there will be an afternoon of hop selection where several lots for each variety are presented. The samples are taken from the bales; The brewers cuts. After ranking and selecting the lot I want, its time for a beer.

Since hop harvest only runs for a few weeks of the year, you can guarantee you will bump into many brewers while you are in the area. It is always fun to have a beer with the other like minded brewers who have travelled to this special spot on the planet to oversee the harvesting of the magical flowers that gift our beery creations with their aromatic essence.

It is a fun time, meeting growers, seeing the hops, bumping into brewing friends, and having a couple pints. I look forward to going each year. Can’t wait to get there again soon.


Here’s some footage from Luke’s previous US hop harvest trips.


Epic + Hops = First, Best, Most, Only, Greatest and Supreme.

August 30th, 2016 Posted by Hops, News, Uncategorized 1 comment

Luke in the hopsWhen people think about beer from Epic, the first thing that jumps to mind is big hoppy beers. They would be right as we not only brew with massive amounts of hops, but also visit the hop fields and know the hop farmers to get the best hops in the world. Not many brewers in New Zealand do this locally, and none visit the hop farmers on a yearly basis in the US.

Here are some fun facts as to why HOPS = EPIC BEER.

Epic Brewing Company used the MOST AROMA HOPS in the last 10 years, more than any other brewery in New Zealand.

Epic Brewing Company is the LARGEST IMPORTER of US hops to New Zealand over the last 10 years.

Epic Pale Ale was the FIRST American style Pale Ale to be released in New Zealand in 2006.

Epic Pale Ale won SUPREME CHAMPION beer at the 2006 NZ beer Awards on the eve of its official release.

This beer changed the face of craft beer in New Zealand.

Epic Pale Ale is made with US grown Cascade hops, the NUMBER ONE aroma hop in the world.

Best IPA 2016Epic Armageddon IPA is the MOST awarded IPA in New Zealand read this.

Epic Armageddon IPA was the FIRST commercially bottled American style IPA brewed in New Zealand.

Epic Hop Zombie was the FIRST Double IPA released in New Zealand.

The ONLY New Zealand brewer to visit Yakima every year for hop harvest and visit the hop farmers.

When I started out brewing, it was obvious that I was never going to be the BIGGEST, but I could strive to be THE BEST. To be the best, it was logical to use the best ingredients I could find for the best beer you want to make. Sometimes you have to search the whole globe to find the best. Best ale malt from England, best Pilsner malt from Germany, best hops for American IPA’s from Yakima.

Many people have asked me why I don’t use all New Zealand hops and all New Zealand malts. For some people this is hard to hear, but sometimes those New Zealand ingredients aren’t the best for the styles of beer I like to make. Other times they are the best for the flavours I want, but not every time.


I love the aromas and flavours that come from the hops grown in the Yakima valley. I love brewing with these hops, and love the beers that these hops make. This is why I make such an effort each year to fly to the other side of the Pacific Ocean, to find the best of what they have, and bring it back home to New Zealand to brew with.

Guess what? It isn’t just me that gets the joy of drinking the beers I brew with these gloriously aromatic hops. You to can buy these beers. It’s a beautiful thing.