Experimenting In-House With Hop Varietals

With a glutton of hop varieties out there, breweries are always looking at ways to use new hops, or experiment with what they have used before or what they have on hand right at the brewery.

Brewer Magazine asked brewers how much does their brewery experiment with new hops or find new ways to use hops they have on hand.

“We’re always playing with new varietals and also looking to find new ways to use hops that we already stock,” said Breakside Brewery‘s Ben Edmunds. “We’ve been really excited as of late by many of the varietals coming out of New Zealand, and it seems like there are more of these hops to go around than there used to be.”

Wormtown Brewery often experiments with hops, connecting with a local vendor to explore aromas and flavors.

“Brokers and Farmers like to offer us their experimental varieties and new products,” explained head brewer Scott Drake. “Our Hopular Culture series formed around the idea of constantly innovating with experimental varieties, new regions, and new products.”

Hopular Culture also allows for experimentation with different brewhouse and dry hopping techniques, Drake added.

“Dry hopping temperature and contact time affect the flavor profile,” he pointed out. “Incorporating a temperature schedule has proved worthwhile.”

Catawba Brewing has one full brewery in Asheville, North Carolina and about half of another in Charlotte which exists for experimentation.

“Catawba will produce over 100 beers this year with at least half of those being new to us,” said COO Scott Pyatt. “Hops are a major experimental ingredient. We look for both new hop varieties and processing variations to use our “standard” types.

“It’s amazing how much difference changing a hop profile can make in a beer, and we never tire of trying.”

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