Hopped Up On Hops: A Hop Guide to Hop Profiles

Hopped Up On Hops: A Hop Guide to Hop Profiles

Hop-forward beers such as American Pale Ales and IPAs are here to stay, for better or worse. Beer drinkers all over the world have grown accustomed to throwing back these delicious brews and breweries and craft masters know it. In order to keep up with the demand—while simultaneously keeping our taste buds interested—they are introducing less familiar hops with greater frequency into some of our favorite styles. Additionally brewers are reinventing the ways to not only use, but think about historically older hop varieties as well. Including chinook, simcoe, cluster, amarillo, and more, hops come in a variety of... well, varieties. Our focus here is on, what we believe to be, the major hops to look out for in 2017. Our hop guide below also provides an elementary insight into what makes some of our favorite beers taste great. Now get out there, test your palate, and see if you can pick up on any of these hop profiles.

Citra Hops:

As of this writing, citra hops are arguably considered the hop. But why? It’s simple: flavor. The citra hop is popular because, as its name implies, behind a strong, smooth, aroma, trails an equally delicious citrus flavor packed with grapefruit, melon, lime, and other tropical fruit characteristics. Furthermore, the intense citrus aromas and flavors help mask the bitterness often associated with pale ales. Many people compare citra hop-heavy beers to drinking juice. (We incidentally did so in our list of 3 Great Craft Beers for Beginners.) Citra Hop Beers:
  • Zombie Dust | 3 Floyds Brewing Co. | Munster, IN
  • Torpedo Extra IPA | Sierra Nevada | Chico, CA
  • Fuzzy Baby Ducks | New England Brewing Co | Woodbridge, CT

Mosaic Hops:

Every hop on this list can be summed up in a simple word that is unique to it alone. While we might sum the citra hop up as “citrusy,” we would define the mosaic hops as, “complex.” Developed by Hop Breeding Company and released as recently as 2012, the mosaic hop is a relatively new profile that introduces earthy, floral, and fruity aromas and flavors (such as blueberry and mango) into many of your favorite beer styles. The result is a wholly unique single-hop beer that parades, ostensibly, as a multi-hopped profile. Mosaic Hop Beers:
  • Mosaic | Pipeworks Brewing Company| Chicago, IL
  • Space Cake | Clown Shoes | Ipswich, MS
  • Mosaic IPA | Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. | Redmond, OR

Cascade Hops:

The granddaddy of hops. The Mike Tyson of the hop world. The hop of the gods. Whatever you want to call it, it is always fun to follow the trends of this timeless variety. Balanced, yet surprisingly versatile floral, citrus, and even spicy characteristics coupled with moderate bitterness make cascade hops one of the most popular for craft brewing, year… after year… after year. Cascade Hop Beers:
  • Zombie Dust | 3 Floyds Brewing Co. | Munster, IN
  • Founds Pale Ale | Founds Brewing Company | Grand Rapids, MI
  • CascaZilla | Ithaca Beer Company | Ithaca, NY
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