The Art of Hop Selection: Elevating Craft Beer One Hop at a Time

The Art of Hop Selection: Elevating Craft Beer One Hop at a Time

In the world of craft beer, hops reign supreme as the flavour powerhouse behind beloved styles like hazy IPAs and double IPAs. But the importance of hop selection goes far beyond simply adding bitterness; it's an art form that can elevate a beer from good to extraordinary. Hop selection is one of the key factors in a brewers success in craft brewing. 


The Role of Hops in Craft Beer:
Hops are more than just a bittering agent; they contribute a complex array of flavours and aromas that define many beer styles. From the citrusy zest of American hops to the earthy spice of European varieties, each hop imparts its unique character to the brew, creating a symphony of flavours that tantalize the palate. Hop selection will define a beer and it's overarching character, it's what drives whether a beer is a Juicy IPA like Juice Springsteen or a hop heavy Haze Craze DIPA.


Exploring Different Hop Varieties:

Originating from the Pacific Northwest, Citra hops are prized for their vibrant citrus and tropical fruit notes. Used extensively in hazy IPAs, Citra hops infuse the beer with aromas of grapefruit, mango, and passionfruit, creating a juicy and aromatic brew that's bursting with flavour. We use Citra in our Haze Craze DIPA to help make it a big hitting beer.

Another American hop is Chinook, a dual purpose hop that can be utilised at pretty much any part of the brewing process. It's characterised by pine and bitterness but also spice and grapefruit. You'll find chinook in pale ales, IPAs and stouts amongst others, due to it's universal ability to be added throughout brewing. We use it in A to the K, our West Coast style IPA. It's a timeless style of beer that features 5.6% ABV and an old-school bitterness and pine.

Simcoe is again, American and often referred to as 'Cascade on steroids'. That's because this hop brings the flavour in a big way. It's a hop with fruity and earthy tones, bringing grapefruit, passion fruit pine and berries to the party. She's another good one for bringing out bitterness too. We use it in Juice Wayne, our 4.8% session New England IPA, helping to create a beer that is just hazy enough but also packs a flavour punch.

Hallertauer is a German hop, with its name originating from the area known as Hallertau, the largest hop growing region in the world. It has a spicy-herbal, complex aroma and produces a smooth bitterness that fits well into the flavour profiles of most lagers, especially pilsners. That's why we used it for our Euro powerhouse Arnold Schwarzbier Dark lager. Combined with dark malts it makes for a heady combination of crisp finish with dark appearance. It's the king of traditional pilsner hops.

New Zealand is home to some pretty epic hops too. Pacifica is a well sued NZ hop, one that features a signature citrus orange zest marmalade; classic Hallertau characteristics with some floral notes. We paired this hop with Motueka and Rakau, two more fruit aroma producing hops to create our NZ Pilsner. Using these sort of hops means we can produce a clean, crisp lager with just a subtle hint of lime. Perfect anytime. 

    The Importance of Hop Selection:
    Selecting the right hops is essential for achieving the desired flavour profile in craft beer. Whether it's crafting a hazy IPA bursting with tropical fruitiness or a double IPA brimming with resinous complexity, the choice of hops plays a pivotal role in shaping the beer's character and identity. By understanding the unique qualities of different hop varieties and how they interact with other ingredients, brewers can unleash a world of creative possibilities, delighting beer enthusiasts with an endless array of flavours and experiences.

    Hop selection is an integral part of the craft beer brewing process, offering brewers a palette of flavours to paint with and beer enthusiasts a kaleidoscope of sensory experiences to enjoy. From the citrusy punch of American hops to the exotic allure of Australian and New Zealand varieties, the world of hops is as diverse and exciting as the craft beer landscape itself.