Friday, September 12, 2008

Working through the Hops Shortage

So it seems that the experiment with strategic hopping of our Big A IPA worked out well. I think that beer came out great and we’ve been hearing real positive feedback. I’ll be heading down to the Publick House in Brookline for the 5th Annual HopHead ThrowDown this Saturday to personally see how the Big A stands up to this countries best DIPA’s. Man, do I ever stop working? It’s tough, but dern it, someone’s gotta do it.

Luckily we got our creative hop juices flowing as we’re starting to make some changes to our Finest Kind as certain varieties become scarce. After dropping an obscene amount of money we were able to secure an extra amount of Magnum so our bittering addition hasn’t changed too much. We’ve decided to use some Super Styrians as a substitute for the Simcoes we were adding with the Magnums in the bittering addition. This was mostly done to save the Simcoes for the flavoring additions where that hop can really shine. As Simcoes are incredibly tight right now we’ve starting blending some Centennials into the flavor additions. We’ll run out of those and start to look at Summits, Glaciers, and Nuggets depending on what kind of horse trading (or straight up theft) we can do. Our whirlpool addition changed a bit as well as we’re now blending Cascades, EKG’s with the Santiams we’ve always used. The dry hopping has remained the same with Amarillos adding their distinctive aroma. The first batch is tasting great and should be out in the stores in the next few weeks. As we get closer to harvest and supplies run low we may have to make some other changes. It’s certainly been a challenging year but thankfully early indications are pointing to a great hop harvest this year. Maybe even a bumper crop. Hopefully that happens but we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed.


Note, Dave's post was originally written in mid-July. Recent signs point to an excellent hop harvest, which is taking place at this very moment, but there is still a good deal of uncertainty in the market. Stay tuned...