06 May 2015 Hops Please!
As I’m sure you’ve all noticed, unless you’re one of those crazies that loves Barley Wines (j/k, we love you guys too), everyone is pooping their pants over hops and hoppy beers these days: aroma hops, bittering hops, super alpha hops, old world/noble hops, new world/American hops, New Zealand hops, Australian hops, experimental and, as yet, unnamed hops known only by a number, session IPAs, single and double IPAs, imperial IPAs, triple IPAs (c’mon, really). Shoot, recently I even heard of a company making hop soda (which apparently isn’t half bad)! Fortunately or unfortunately there isn’t an end in sight either.
We can’t claim to be an exception to this phenomenon at Liquid Riot and lately we’ve been rather intensely nurturing our hoppy beer portfolio in general. We tend to be drawn to the big and popular American varieties, like many in the craft/artisanal/whatever-you-wanna-call-it beer industry, though we lean quite a bit toward a lot of hop varieties from down under; New Zealand and Australia. They produce a much smaller amount, percentage wise, of hops than the rest of the hop producing regions of the world, let alone America (who is the biggest producer), so some varieties from there tend to be hard to come by. Hop producers around the world are always coming out with new experimental varieties each year as well, which they like to give to breweries for making test batches to get an idea of how the variety will perform. Germany, where a lot of the tried and true noble hops come from is making some really interesting new varieties lately, for example. The ones that do well in these trials will eventually get a proper name and more of them will be planted. We’re always trying to get our hands on these and have been fortunate so far to be able to brew with some of them.
Some of you may have tasted some of the beers in our I.P.Awesome series (yes, goofy but you know you love it) we’ve been putting out lately, which so far is an exploration in hopping combinations with a relatively simple malt bill as a back drop. Most have featured a lot of American hops with a few from New Zealand sprinkled in as well. Just yesterday we brewed the fourth installment in the series which will feature Citra and Simcoe hops, two American favorites and a new experimental variety not yet named but bearing a resemblance to Amarillo with a more herbal and perhaps less piney character. They smelled pretty damn good to me!
The old stand-by Head Stash will be up soon again also and look for a nice hoppy rye IPA we just carbed up to be released very soon. True to our new name, the whole “bottling co.” part, we’re also looking to have a fairly regular IPA available in bottles coming in the next few months, which we’re super excited about. There will be other selections in bottles as well, which will include more than just IPAs. Think a nice drinkable lager bier, some funky Brettanomyces influenced selections and don’t sleep on the selection of bottled spirits coming out of our distillery, which will be growing in the near future.