Every year, hop growers commercially release a new group of hops, which often transition from the mysterious and numerical (e.g. Hopsteiner 01210) to something more memorable (Hopsteiner 01210 debuted in 2014 as “Lemondrop”). Some new hops are breathtaking and wholly unique in their flavor and aromatic profiles, overtaking small swaths of the brewing landscape—such as Mosaic following its release in 2012. Far more slip off to obscurity.
While 2017 hop releases are still being announced, it seemed an ideal time to take a closer look at some beers using hops that debuted in recent years. 2014 was a significant year for new hops, with Lemondrop and Ekuanot (previously Equinox; HBC 366 before that) in particular both seeming to resonate with drinkers. We were looking at the past two years of new hops since. Releases in 2015 included Eureka! (previously: Hopsteiner 05256), Idaho 7 (from Jackson Hop Farm), and Zoso (from Misty Mountain Hop Farm). New for 2016 were varieties like African Queen (J17), Denali (Hopsteiner 06277) and Loral (HBC 291). Given a modest selection of packaged options, I focused on beers with Denali, Eureka! and Idaho 7.
How one includes hops in the brewing process will strongly influence how they’re perceived in the final beer, but generally flavor and aromatic profiles will skew in a particular direction, ideally in an endearing and unique way. Denali hops, for instance, are said to frequently land on pineapple, citrus and pine. Eureka! tends to highlight black currants and other dark fruits, with pine and herbaceousness. And Idaho 7 will veer towards ripe tropical fruit and black-tea notes (the latter appeared prominently in a few of these samples). When included along with other varieties, these new hops give brewers further options for layering in flavor and aroma. That double IPA from Creature Comforts Brewing Co., for one, is about as deep as hops go.
Further Noteworthy Releases: Surly Brewing Co.’s Rising North Pale Ale (recently named the official beer of soccer team Minnesota United FC) is dry-hopped with Citra, Eureka! (2015) and Mandarina Bavaria hops, and appears in 16-ounce cans this June. Palisade Brewing Co. in Colorado planned to release an oated pale ale in mid-May that features the elusive-ish Zoso hop (2015) from Misty Mountain Hop Farm. Victory Brewing Co.’s recent Batch No. 2 in its Tank to Table series used 100 percent Idaho 7 hops (2015).
Creature Comforts Cosmik Debris
Black Hog Easy Rye’Da
Alvarado Street Growers Pale Ale
Fort Collins Double Down
O’So Hop Debacle
Upslope 2017 Experimental India Pale Ale
Grand Teton Teton Range IPA
21st Amendment Blah Blah Blah IPA
Fieldwork Storm Surge
Cascade Lakes Drop The Mic
Fogbelt Sentinel (100% Eureka!)
Drake’s Hop Vice