Saturday, May 10, 2008


I used to exclusively drink dark beers - lagers, porters and stouts - I liked that smooth, rich flavor that comes from the sweetness of malt. Lately, though, something has happened to me. I started dabbling with ales here and there and quickly discovered that bitterness is addictive. When I drink anything other than IPAs, my palate is bored. I need my hops and I need increasingly more hops to be satisfied. But it doesn't come cheap. I find myself cursing biofuel-loving hippies while scanning the store shelves for the hoppiest ales.

So when I found out that the brewery has created a new series of India Pale Ales that focus on single hop to highlight the flavors unique to each variety, I was totally excited. The first of this series, called One-Hopper, uses only Simcoe hops. It has a spicy citrus flavor, a smooth bitterness and 8.25% alcohol by volume.

Mmmm, yes. This is going to be a very good summer.

The brewery is also attempting to grow their own hops. They're planted outside and are climbing their way up wires that are attached to the roof of the two-story building...
Grow little hops, grow!


Willorith said...

Good Woman Breda:
What a wonderful woman you are.

Robb Allen said...

Dog Fish Head 90 Minute IPA.

It's literally like drinking hops.

I like Simcoe and have used it a lot in my own brews. Like you say, it has almost a spicy flavor.

For a normal 5 gallon batch, you can use 1/2oz to 1 oz of hops and have a strong profile. I made one beer with 8 ounces of hops total. Here's a picture of the massive stash. It's hops. I promise.

doubletrouble said...

After I “grew up” & stopped drinking crap domestic beer (quality vs. quantity), I had always enjoyed any quality brew- ales, stout (still loves me Guinness), or whatever, as long as it was well made.
Then I discovered IPAs about 5 years ago.


If it ain’t hoppy, I ain’t happy.

The are a number of local microbreweries that have good stuff, but I’m partial to Red Hook Long Hammer IPA or Harpoon for widely distributed brews.

Rustmeister said...

I'll second Robbs recommendation of 90 Minute, but if it's too spendy, the 60 minute is good as well.

Of course, Stone Ruination is another bottle of hop juice you should try.

On the spicy side, Victory Hop Wallop is an interesting brew.

Anonymous said...

Hops have always seemed to be one of those things you plant thinking it'll be so nice to have these. You then attempt to keep them from taking over the garden, without much success.

West, By God said...

I love me some hops, but a lot of the micro-brews these days over-do it. Quite frankly, I think some of them just brew a batch with not quite enough generic light 2-row malt and 2 truckloads of hops. The more hops the better! Frankly, some of them (take Sierra Nevada for instance) have no balance what-so-ever. So while I like the idea of a single-hop beer as an experiment, it isn't really taking the art of brewing anywhere.

That being said, I've brewed a few damn-hoppy beers, and if you can strike a good balance between hop aroma, hop flavor (the key, imho) and bitterness, then you can end up with a mighty-fine beer.

Oh, and I used to grow hops... there's nothing like using fresh hops in your own brew. Those damnable pellets they sell are a pain in the arse.

Anonymous: you cut them to the ground every year, so they don't ever permanently take over. You also train them to grow up poles, not on the ground. A series of hop plants, if it is done right, take up very little "dirt" space. Of course, the roots do tend to spread a bit, but you just take cuttings and use them to start more hop plants!

phlegmfatale said...

...and bless all the little hops in the field...

I had a friend in England who told me when he was at university, in the summer he and friends would pick hops for a pittance, and drink till they passed out every night. Sounded like heaven on earth.

Chas S. Clifton said...

"I find myself cursing biofuel-loving hippies while scanning the store shelves for the hoppiest ales."

The hippies (there are still hippies?) came in ahead of you and bought all the ales?

Do explain.

Breda said...

Chas - there's a worldwide hops shortage due to, among other things, the use of corn to make biofuels. It's more profitable for farmers to grow corn, so less hops get planted.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Unless your so-called hippies grow large amounts of corn in the Midwest, driving large tractors with air-conditioning and CD players, then you might be mislabeling them.

Now there are some white kids with dreadlocks running around that are second-generation hippies or something -- I thought you were blaming them.

Let's face, everyone anyone buys gas in my state of Colorado -- and in many other places -- they get some ethanol in the mix. You can be Michelle Malkin, but you're still putting biofuel in the tank, like or not.

No doubt that is due to those hippies at Archer Daniels Midland.


Chas S. Clifton said...

I forgot to mention that I was drinking a Big Sky IPA as I wrote the comment above.

Mac the Knife said...

I don't know if you can get English ale in your neck of the woods, but if you can, try Wells' Bombardier Burning Gold. It used to be strictly a summer ale, but it proved so popular among us hop-nutters that they brew it all year round. Impossibly light, dry and sharp with a lingering toasty finish. Irresistible... Triffic blog BTW... :)

Oldsmoblogger said...

Now that is cool (WBC growing their own hops). I had Dog Fish Head in DC last summer (place tucked in back of a bookstore on DuPont Circle) and second the recommendation, as well as the Long Hammer, but I'm still partial to Commodore Perry.

IPA, other ales, Guinness, and Jameson's in the winter--IPA, other ales, Shiner Bock, and gin & tonic in the summer.

Tam said...

I finally got to try Dreadnought from Three Floyds.

It is indeed All That, as well as a Bag of Chips.

John B said...

it's not just beers where bitterness is addictive. but enough about our three presidential choices...