Hops are a resinous, sticky green flower (and from what Snoop Dogg taught us, so too is that sticky icky icky — weed). The hops used in brewing are the flower of a climbing plant that’s a member of the hemp family. They grow on bines (not vines) that can reach more than 16 feet tall. The hop flowers contain lupulin, a sticky substance that contains essential oils, bitter acids, and resins, and that is released when boiled. Hops are added during the brewing process and play an important part in balancing the flavors and aroma of the beer, as well as acting as a natural preservative. Hops put bitterness and character into a beer. Without them, beers would be overwhelmingly sweet (because of the malts), so hops add a balance of aromatic herbs and spice. Different varieties of hops have different flavors, such as citrus, pine, floral, fruit and others. They will impart different flavors into the finished product and brewers will create new brews using unique combinations. When it comes to bitterness, it really depends on what variety of hops the brewer uses (there are over 100 to choose from), how much is added, at what stage it’s added (early on means more bitterness, later on means more aromatic qualities) and how strong the other flavor characteristics from the malt and yeast are. For today’s flight, Peaks and Pints centers on hops that are sticky dank — cloying or tacky in sweetness or mouthfeel. Dankness, to us, implies dopey, resinous hops that are common with many West Coast IPAs. We call the flight Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Dankness.
Silver City I-5 Vibes Collaboration IPA
7.7% ABV, draft
Silver City Brewery and Migration Brewing brewed the big West Coast traveling I-5 Vibes Collaboration IPA. With a lean grist bill made up of 2-Row and Pilsner malts, the two breweries showcased what they enjoy the most — hops and more hops. Simcoe hops were used in the boil to lay down a firm bitterness that’s not overpowering, while aromas of zesty grapefruit, tropical papaya, and pine are coupled with a resinous dank quality.
7.4% ABV, 55 IBU, can
Sierra Nevada Brewing’s Dankful IPA is a generously hoppy beer that helped the Chico, California, brewery raise funds for a variety of charitable works. Brewed with Chinook, Columbus, Ekuanot, Idaho 7, Mosaic, Nelson, Sauvin, and Zappa hops, Dankful hits the nose with dank pine and toasted malts, followed by more toasted bread malts, some caramel, dank herb, and pine bitterness. On the finish, expect dank herb and citrus pith.
8% ABV, can
Brewing well over 500 unique beers since opening its West Berkeley brewery in February 2015, Fieldwork Brewing brews with as much a sense of purpose as a sense of place as they honor Northern California’s magnificent outdoor landscapes with an array of idiosyncratic beers. The esteemed brewing team led by head brewer and co-founder Alex Tweet focuses on innovation for its ever-evolving roster of highly aromatic and well-balanced beers. In celebration of Fieldwork’s eight anniversary, they brewed 8×8 double dry hopped West Coast double IPA with eight hops — some in cryo form, and some in traditional pellets — for notes of fresh citrus, grapefruit juice, lemon zest, fruit punch, spring blossom, passionfruit, kumquat, pineapple, and a jar full of dank kush, 8%
8.1% ABV, 100 IBU, draft — also in cooler to-go
Block 15 Brewing sits heart of downtown Corvallis, only a few blocks from Oregon State University. The brewery’s name hails from Corvallis’ previous incarnation as Marysville and the old plat map location from the old town. In late 2011, homebrewers Nick and Kristen Arzner opened the brewery and restaurant serving beers true-to-style with ingredients imported from different parts of the world, along with all the Willamette Valley produced grains, hops, fruits, herbs, and yeast. Like the stickiest, terpene-packed herb, Block 15’s Nugg Hugg offers aromatic waves of sweetly dank bud, candied peaches, mango, and spruce. Its flavor blends subtle pineapple and peach with a not-so-subtle embrace of dank and fruity herbs, finishing with a lingering wave of resinous pine.
11.3% ABV, 100 IBU, bottle
Marijuana folklorists trace the use of “420” as a code for pot smoking to a group of 1970s high school students in San Rafael, Calif., who regularly met at 4:20 p.m. to search for a rumored nearby patch of potent plants. The “Waldos” students received their name because they would hang out around a wall. Every year, around April 20, Lagunitas Brewing honors the Waldos with their own beer: A dank, earthy, herbaceous monster of a triple IPA. There’s no way around this: It smells noticeably like weed, plus pine resin, mangoes, and apricots. The body is full, sweet, and sticky — “the stickiest of the icky,” you might say — and there’s a tidal wave of grapefruit and orangey hops before the warm, bitter finish.