I was once sitting at a bar (once, mind you) and I was overhearing people talking about beer; various types of beer, the fabrication of it and the reasoning behind the ingredients chosen. It was quite a few years ago, mind you, and the American Craft Beer scene was not was it has become today. It (the scene) was still trying to figure out where it fit in modern society and how that society would accept it. Many, many times throughout my career I had to explain in earnest that beer was actually made from scratch and I didn’t spend my time in the basement (that’s where the brewery was) mixing brown and water to get our brown ale. That’s where this eavesdropping comes along.
These gentlemen were arguing that brewers put hops in beer for the sheer fact of turning the beer a different color. Their argument was that an amber ale was amber because of the amber hops that went into the beer and that all beer is the color of water until you add hops. One of the gentlemen even let the others know that he had a friend who made a beer once and all he did was mix brown and water and they got beer.
Well, I (just like you) knew better and although I’m an extremely shy human and try not to A: eavesdrop and B: but in on a conversation that I was not invited to I had to intervene and drop some knowledge on these fine folks. I always live on the side of the fact that knowledge is shared information and wherever the information that they received prior was incorrect and the information that I was about to share might very well blow their minds.
So I interrupted. I excused myself into the conversation and as politely as possible introduced myself and established my credibility. About an hour later (and about twelve samples of the beers that we had on tap – the bartender didn’t mind, it was slow enough (snow storm) and the bartender actually asked me to talk to these gentlemen) we had three guys who were slightly better informed on hops and what their involvement in the brewing process was, it was a fun time had by all.
I’m not sharing this story to be all like, “I’m the smartest human being in the world!!!” I’m more or less letting you know that because it’s IPAugust, you get to try a whole bunch of ways that hops play their part in the finished product that is the liquid bread we call beer.
So let’s get introduced, shall we?
Otter Creek Overgrown: this is pretty fantastic representation of a whole slew of American hops. A nice blend of Amarillo, Simcoe, Ahtanum and Palisade in what is surely a nice American Pale Ale.
Lawson’s Finest Super Session (Sorachi Ace): yeah, we love when Lawson’s Finest drops a Session IPA on our door steps and we love even more sharing it with you. Sorachi Ace is a hop that originated in Japan and has lovely citrusy and lemony characteristics.
Zero Gravity Sim City: if you want to know what the Simcoe hop does to the finished product that is beer, this would be a great opportunity for you. “Sim” means “Simcoe.” And, we all know that ZG makes GB (Great Beer).
Hill Farmstead Abner: hey! Do you love hops? Drink this.
And, there’s obviously more. We’re keeping those under wraps so that we can surprise you because that’s fun for us.
I’ll leave you with two commercial examples of beers that are distinctive in their hop choices:
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: the Cascade hop is (this is off the top of my head) the most widely grown hop in the U.S. and was vastly used during the infancy of the Craft Beer Movement because of its availability. Well, Sierra uses nothing but Cascade in their eponymous classic and if you want a good indicator of what that hop tastes like, this is your best bet.
Sam Adams Boston Lager: this beer uses the classic Hallertau hops. Hallertau is a region (kind of like grapes, isn’t it?) in Bavarian Germany that produces hops with distinctive floral and herbal aspects that are on full display in this Lager.
I’m sure all of this “knowledge” was already known by you (my esteemed and well education prior reader). But, well, I figured I would share today.
Cheers and have a great day!