Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 8.2.17: A Flight of Hop Extract

Ron Swarner


Peaks-and-Pints-Tacoma-Beer-FlightSuffering from insomnia is no fun, and just the thought alone of trying to fall asleep can make you anxious. But help in the form of hops could be an answer. Hops are a known sedative, and some research suggests that when the extract from hops is combined with the valerian root extract at bedtime, it can assist in helping people fall asleep faster. Peaks and Pints doesn’t have a lot of valerian root lying around but we do know several craft beers with hop extract helps us fall asleep. Many craft brewers brew with hop extract. Hop extract is pure resin extract of hops containing alpha acids, beta acids and hop oils. It is much the same as whole leaf or pellet hops but without the solid plant fiber. The extraction process filters out solid particles. As a final product, CO2 hop extract is primarily used in brewing as a kettle ingredient to provide bitterness, however, variety specific flavor/aroma contributions can be expected when used for late kettle or whirlpool additions. Peaks and Pints presents a flight of craft beers brewed with hop extract that we call Craft Beer Crosscut 8.2.17: A Flight of Hop Extract.

Chimay-Premiere-Red-TacomaChimay Premiere (Red)

7% ABV, 19 IBU

Chimay is made by Trappist monks cloistered away in Scourmont Abbey in Belgium (where they also make tasty Chimay cheese) with the operation’s profits paying for the monks’ pious lifestyle and charitable efforts. Having been around since 1862, Chimay’s a relatively new entry in the world of godly beverages with three commercial beers, including its first beer, Premiere (Red). Its recipe was developed in collaboration between the master brewer, Father Théodore, and Jean De Clerck in the two decades following WWII. Chimay surprisingly prefers American hops, and have used Galena in the past. They now use Cluster hops. Interestingly, they don’t use whole hops but extract because Chimay is designed to lay down and age, the monks prefer extracts, which hold their aroma and bitterness longer than whole hops. Red has a beautiful burnt-sienna color to it, and shows some cloudiness with a pretty decent head. It has a warming stone-fruit sort of smell that is pleasantly gamey. The taste is expectantly sweet, fruity, and malty — a whole lot of flavor without being overwhelming. It’s an accessible example of the classic Belgian ale.

Bitburger-Premium-Pils-TacomaBitburger Premium Pils

4.8% ABV, 38 IBU

Rich in pedestrian pilsner history and sporting the always-impressive “Premium Beer” tagline alongside “Germany’s No.1 Draft Beer”, “hop extract” appears in the list of ingredients found on the Bitburger Premium Pils can (used in strict conformity with the German Purity Law) while a quick tour of the Bitburger website reveals that Bitburger uses “the unique, certified “seal” hops, cultivated in the neighbouring Holsthum region in the district of Bitburg-Prüm”. Sweet, hoppy and light, it holds an almost champagne-like bubble, still percolating 10 minutes after being poured.

Sierra-Nevada-Tropical-Torpedo-TacomaSierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo

6.7% ABV, 55 IBU

Sierra Nevada fired up its hop torpedo — a device the brewery designed to dry-hop beer through one or more torpedoes slowly for four days, ensuring that all the desired oils are extracted from the whole hops — and added a little hula. The Chico, California brewery took its Torpedo Extra IPA, named for the device, and Comet, Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado add drops of trop with passionfruit and mango aromas and flavor (we taste pine and grapefruit rind too) with a sexy bitter finish, thanks to our friend Amarillo.

Sierra-Nevada-Hop-Hunter-IPA-TacomaSierra Nevada Hop Hunter IPA

6.2% ABV, 60 IBU

Sierra Nevada has always been on the cutting edge of brewing technology, and Hop Hunter is yet another result of the brewery being a leader in the craft industry. Hop Hunter, an IPA made with oil steam-distilled in the field moments after the hop harvest. The result is Hop Hunter, a bold, very fresh IPA with a vibrant hop aroma that is lively but very smooth to drink. Crystal, Simcoe, and a Sierra classic, Cascade, finish out the hop aromatics, creating a vivid though well-honed hop character.

Fremont-The-Brother-TacomaFremont The Brother

8.5% ABV, 1 Billion IBU

The Brother was the first beer Fremont Brewing developed in its Imperial Series. It’s inspired by the Seattle brewery’s desire to thank brothers everywhere. “Without our Brothers, we would have taken the blame for everything as children, wouldn’t have known the inside of an ambulance and never understood the true fear a good ghost story can cause a young child,” according to The Brother hype. Without Fremont’s The Brother with Centennial, Chinook and Citra hops with Amarillo extract we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the aroma of mango dipped in citrus juice, lying amongst spring grasses or the taste of medium sweet malt, and hints of dried dark fruit. In fact, a blast of mature sweetness instantly flows into a solid malt base before grapefruit explodes in your mouth.