More Hop Talk
I know last time I talked about Hopslam and talking more about hops might bore some of you, but we are in an era dominated by hop-heads, which is why I think this topic is important from a learning prospective.
It was just brought to my attention after talking to Ale Asylum‘s marketing director that the Ale Asylum is doing something really interesting with some of their hoppy beers. While many beers feature a variety of hops, the Ale Asylum is specifically trying to feature individual hops in a few of their brews.
From the standpoint of stimulating a beer drinker’s senses, hops are generally used for three main purposes: Bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Bittering hops are added at the beginning of the boiling process allowing the boil to extract the alpha acids which make beer bitter (amongst other things). Flavor hops are added during the last half/third of the boil, and aroma hops are added at the end of the boil and, in certain styles, added during the fermentation process.
Instead of using one variety of hop for bittering and another for say, aroma, the Ale Asylum has three different beers which each feature only one variety of hop for all three aspects of the flavor profile. Their seasonal Ballistic IPA, for instance, features Amarillo hops which have a distinct citrusy, even grapefruit aroma and flavor. The Satisfaction Jackson Imperial IPA (released in fall) features Centennial hops and their flagship beer, Hopalicious, features Cascade hops. These are all American varieties of hops which have similar citrusy profiles as opposed to their earthy/grassy European counterparts.
It is nice for those eager to learn more about beer to be able to compare the different aromas and flavors these different varieties of American hops add to the beer simply by trying three beers from the same brewery. Hopheads cleanse your pallets and taste away!