Sunday, February 8, 2015

The New Hop Crop is in da House

Hop Gathering by Samuel Ireland circa 1793

It’s taken a little longer than I expected but all of the new crop hops that I ordered are finally here. With the global hop shortage and yearly scramble for the most desirable varieties still going strong, I’d say Craftworks did very well indeed. We have hops that many craft brewers in the US were unable to get - Mosaic, Citra, Simcoe, Amarillo Centennial and Saaz. So “Bangalorean hopheads” rejoice. It will be a very hoppy year. The first beer pouring with the new crop will be a classic American-style Pale Ale finished exclusively and dry hopped with type 45 Cascade. Most brewers use and only have experience with type 90 hops. The 45’s are supercharged - twice as concentrated because the hop cones are stripped of the stems and outer leaves prior to processing into pellets. This makes for a more uniform pellet with much more lupulin (oil) and alpha acid (bitterness potential) or in other words, flavor. I liken it to the increased polishing rice goes through to make the higher grades of sake like Ginjo and Daiginjo. This analogy is particularly apt for me because it was in Japan many years ago while working as a brewery start-up consultant, that I first discovered and fell in love with type 45 hops...

I don't get out of Bangalore nearly enough. I blame it on the terrible traffic, not having a car of my own or just simply the amount of time and effort it takes to get anywhere good. But recently I got around all those excuses and found myself in Kombai, Tamil Nadu for a couple of days of hiking and mountain biking with my good friends Naveen and Pei. To say I wasn't a little bit sore when I got back to town would be a lie. The ice cold Craftworks Hefeweizen I brought along and polished off after a long strenuous hike, sure hit the spot...

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