Getting our Feet Wet. In Hops?

We love our little pilot brew system. In case we aren’t doing anything crazy on our regular system (which in itself is a crazy notion) we have a strapping little 3 bbl babe system beckoning us to fill it with our weirdest, most experimental, beer dreams, fantasies, and small collabs.

For almost any brewery in So Cal, (wait, let’s just go with ALL of CA) brewing with a boatload of hops is increasingly common. And that’s one of the things we love about our sunshine state — we have some of the world’s best hoppy beers made right in our own backyard. All. The. Time.

That’s all the more reason we made the promise years ago to leave this beautiful beer style to the numerous breweries near and far that are doing a tremendous job making world-class IPAs. And all the more reason it’s really bizarre that we’ve been working on not one, but five hoppy beers for you to try in our Tasting Room.

Tyler has been really excited about this new project, which will ultimately let you enjoy five, single-hop, fresh hopped American pale ales side-by-side (by-side-by-side-by-side). Here’s his explanation of what’s going on, straight from the Sr. Director of Brewing Operations himself:

Just because we don’t make a hoppy beer doesn’t mean we hate hops! Hop harvest is just one of our excuses to get our hands dirty in some stinky hops. I’ve always loved the idea of brewing with fresh hops — something about the rawness and cool factor of using hops that were just picked off the vine and then magically (because that’s how we roll around here) appearing in our kettles is pretty awesome. 

This is a great project where you get taste five different fresh hop beers at the same time. I personally don’t know of many breweries who are capable of doing something like this, especially brewing and not treating five beers with five different hops. “Treating” a beer basically means dry-hopping, or adding ingredients to an already finished beer. We didn’t do that with this series — we brewed the beer with the hops in it, which is often a logistical nightmare since we just have to wait on materials.

Much like brewing our Vitis series, brewing with fresh hops leaves us dependent on harvest — we can’t brew until the ingredients show up. Sometimes we’ll have a tank open for weeks just waiting for a phone call. 

While this project was going on, we were also short on brewers and they had to scramble to brew these while most of us were out of office in Belgium!

Jess Davis, our Quality Specialist, pointed out that this series of “refreshilicious” beers is exciting for her work, as it’s much like a science experiment. The brew started out based off of an intentionally simple pale-style recipe, then hops were added into the brew, then the brew was finished. The goal was to start with a less malty base beer where the difference in each hop could take center stage.

In her lab testing, she found that the acidity of each beer is a little different dependent on the hop. The Citra and Centennial beers boast a higher pH profile than their Simcoe and Chinook counterparts. But will your tastebuds know? Here are some more raw stats on the beers that you can look forward to tasting:

Simcoe 5.7%, 45 IBU, 5.4 SRM
Centennial 5.7%, 30 IBU, 4.0 SRM
Citra 5.3%, 31 IBU, 4.3 SRM
Chinook 5.2%, 22 IBU, 4.4 SRM
Mosaic testing still TBD

These single hop beers will be available throughout this month at the Tasting Room as individual full pours, tasters, or as a flight of all five beers once they are all completely packaged. Check the Tasting Room Facebook page for exactly when they’ll be tapped so you can enjoy these beers while they are as fresh as possible.

We suggest you bring in some food to enjoy with these beers. Our resident Certified Cicerone Ben recommends trying them with grass fed beef cooked rare, “like eating a cow in the field it came from.” If you don’t have that handy, Tyler likes the idea of these beers with spicy phở or pizza.

Way to go brew team!!

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