Hop Q&A with Mitch Steele from Stone Brewing Company

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We wanted to bring you insights into the different strands of hops, so we reached out to the hop expert himself, Mitch Steele, the brewmaster for Stone Brewing Company. In this issue, enjoy our Q&A on El Dorado Hops, the choice for Stone’s Delicious IPA

BM: When did you first discover the El Dorado hops, and what did you use it to create?

MS: We discovered El Dorado about two years ago and have been running hop trial brews, pilot brews and brewing small batches with them at our restaurant and brewery Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station. Liberty Station Brewing Manager Kris Ketcham brewed an IPA with El Dorado and dubbed it “Lost City of Liquid Gold.” That beer really convinced us it was a special hop. We also featured El Dorado in our Stone 18th Anniversary IPA.

BM: What sets this particular hop variety apart from others?

MS: The citrus character is unlike the typical grapefruit, lemon rind and citrus you get from hops like Centennial and Cascade. It’s more of an herbal lemon character.

BM: What are some of the intricacies a brewer might want to know before going in the El Dorado direction?

MS: El Dorado is a pretty strong-flavored hop. For some it might be an acquired taste.

BM: What type of flavor can a brewer really expect to receive when working with El Dorado?

MS: What we perceive from using El Dorado as a dry-hop is an intense herbal, lemon character with a finish that is reminiscent of Starburst lemon-flavored candy. There are elements of lemongrass and anise in the hop flavor as well. It’s a very complex and interesting hop.

BM: Why did you choose El Dorado for your Delicious IPA?

MS: We brewed several Stone Delicious IPA prototype recipes at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, using a variety of hop combinations. However it was The Lost City of Liquid Gold IPA that compelled us to use El Dorado as the featured hop in the beer.

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