From the peppery notes of Central European hops, to Britain’s floral and grassy hedgerow varieties, to the tropical, citrus flavors of the New World, the hopping options available to brewers has never been greater. These conical, green flowers of the Humulus lupulus species provide not only a vast array of flavors for beers but also create distinctive aromas, varying levels of bitterness and lend a hand with preservation duties. Until recently you would struggle to find anyone who could name the hops used in their favorite beer, but these days the varieties take center stage, emblazoned across beer labels, allowing discerning drinkers to use them as a guide to what they should order next. Each year in the hop fields of the Pacific Northwest, Germany and New Zealand, researchers and farmers are busy developing a dizzying array of breeds sporting novel aromas and flavors. Single-hop beers are the perfect platform to test-drive new varieties’ commercial viability. Today, Peaks and Pints presents Craft Beer Crosscut 10.19.17: A Flight of Single Hops so you can zero in on a Mosaic, Vic’s Secret, Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe hop.
5.5% ABV, 50 IBU
Founders Brewing‘s Mosaic Promise showcases two unique ingredients: Mosaic hops and Golden Promise malt. Mosaic hops’ natural attributes bring notes of mango, citrus, earthy pine, and tropical fruits, while providing a clean finish with a crisp bitter flavor. Golden Promise, which comes from a Scottish barley, also has a clean flavor. The pairing is nearly perfect. The simplicity in Mosaic Promise is what makes it shine — clean and drinkable like a pilsner or session IPA, but full-flavored enough so that it never disappoints the taste buds.
6.3% ABV, 50 IBU
Jim Waters taught his sons, Kevin and Tom, how to homebrew and carpentry before the young lads made their way to Eastern Washington University. In between studies the two lads scribbled out a game plan, logo and brewery concept and followed through to the 2012 opening day of Backwoods Brewing Co. in Carson, Washington. Their first brews pouring from their pub’s taps were off a one-barrel system incorporating locally produced hops, grain and yeast. They now operate on a 20-barrel system in their new Stevenson facility, making beer for both draft and package, with their Carson taproom still jam-packed with locals and tourists. The second seasonal in Backwoods Brewing’s Experimental Forest Series, Scaler Single Hop IPA is brewed and dry hopped exclusively with Vic Secret hops, harvested out of Australia. Delicious notes of passionfruit, pineapple and pine, with a crisp refreshing finish make this IPA a perfect choice for summer.
6% ABV, 60 IBU
In the summer of 2012, Hopworks Urban Brewery instituted the IPX Single Hop series, which has spotlighted more than 25 hops’ unique flavors and aromas. Underscoring the educational component, the IPX bottles act as instructional manuals. Taking design cues from old science textbooks, the labels highlight the hop’s flavor and aroma, its history, usage and the farmer. The Citra version originated at Roy Farms in Moxie, Washington, for flavors of ripe tropical fruits and grapefruit.
6% ABV, 80 IBU
Maritime Pacific’s annual XPA Fresh Wet Hop Pale is bright and hoppy this year made with hundreds of pounds of fresh Amarillo hops from the Sunshine Ranch of Gamache & Sons in Toppenish, Washington. With APA, the dominant bitter characteristics come from Amarillo, known for tropical and citrus tones with hints of orange, grapefruit and lemon. The citrus bitterness of the Amarillo hops is assertive without overwhelming the palate with a mild caramel-bready maltiness in the background. We enjoy its solid hop signature with crisp lemon, orange and grapefruit tones.
Gigantic Sodbusted V: The Simcoe Strikes Back
5.3% ABV, 85 IBU
Gigantic Brewing landed its Lupulin Falcon at Sodbuster Farms in the Willamette Valley where the Portland brewery’s Hoptroopers picked citrusy Simcoe hops for the Sodbusted V: The Simcoe Strikes Back. The orange and citrus are strong with this one.