These 2 Hops Get Third Space Excited for Beer’s Future

Brewers always seem interested in the newest shiny toy — whether it’s a piece of equipment or a new variety of hops, points out Third Space Brewing co-founder Kevin Wright.

“Everybody’s looking for that next interesting flavor, that next interesting beer, that next thing that nobody’s tasted before,” he said during his interview for the Brewer Mag January/February cover story. “A lot of places where you get that is with innovation.”

A lot of the beers that the Milwaukee brewery has in its full-time lineup started as pilot beers.

“Some of them were specific,” Wright said. “We knew we wanted to make this type of beer so we’re gonna start R&D and testing recipes. But some of them came out because somebody had a fun idea. And we were like, yeah, just brew it.

“It was never going to be anything more than maybe a pilot, we’d make, a small amount of beer at the taproom and that’d be it. But some of them, people just knocked it out of the park and we needed to elevate this.”

A hop that the brewery leans heavily on has become Mosaic, which has only been commercially available for a little over a decade. That meant when the brewery was first getting going in late 2016, it was still fairly new and hard to contract for. Fortunately, Wright was able to use his connections as a former brewer for Hanger 24 to secure hops for his new brewery, which helped lead to the development of the brewery’s Happy Place, what the brand calls a Midwest Pale Ale.

READ MORE: How Third Space Built Its Team to Grow

“We contracted from the beginning just because I knew the value of it from a planning perspective, from a consistency perspective,” Wright said. “I knew how important it was. I knew the difference in the hops you could get from when you select it to when you don’t select it, especially the type of hops that we were interested in.”

Mosaic is the brewery’s No. 1 contract but Wright said that Mosaic has a wider variety than some hops in terms of aromas and presence in terms of quality and consistency so they always go to hop selection to find “their” brand of Mosaic.

“I always tell brewers that have never been out there for the selection before, we’re not picking our favorite hop on the table,” he said. “That’s not what it is, we’re picking the one that’s most fitting of our profile of that hop.

“Some years you get it. Cascade one year, we had this lot of Cascade that was unbelievable. It’s like nothing I’ve ever smelled before in Cascade. It was amazing. But if we select that, that’s not gonna fit the brands that we have. We can try to get a little bit of that and play with it. But with something like that, there’s no promise, you’ll ever smell something like that again. So to build a brand off of that, you just can’t have the consistency.”

When Brewer talked with Wright for this article in 2023 about hops the brewery has enjoyed using, he pointed to HBC 586 and Hopsteiner’s experimental lot 17701 (now called Alora).

“HBC 586 has been around for a couple years. It’s a really cool hop,” Wright said. “Once it gets a name that, you know it’s made it to the big show.

“(Alora) is a really interesting, like citrus-forward … yuzu is the descriptor and I don’t know yuzu as a flavor too well, but it’s got some really interesting, unique citrus notes.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.