How did the SHOP series come about?
It resulted from a desire for both our brewers and customers to learn the characteristics of individual hop varieties, particularly experimental varieties that are under evaluation for larger scale planting. During the last couple of years of experimentation in our monthly brewery only SHOP pilot batch series, we have come to hone in on certain outstanding new varieties that we will be applying on a bigger scale for our canned SHOP series.
Some people say hops are similar to wine grapes in that they give beer nuance. Thoughts?
There is no doubt that certain hop varieties contribute very different characteristics to a beer. Some hops are decidedly “fruity” some are “herbaceous” while others are less definitive, such as “earthy”, “steely” or “woody”. Just like wine grape varietals certain hops work quite well on their own while many benefit from blending with certain other varietals. It is this sort of synergy that we will be featuring in our new canned SHOP series.
What do you hope consumers get out of the SHOP series?
I hope that consumers enjoy learning about the different hops varieties and how they work in concert with each other to (hopefully) deliver a more enjoyable result than the sum of their parts. Beyond that I hope people just really like the beer!
What hop would you love to feature most and why?
It’s impossible to pick just one hop but I want to keep appreciation for the old school varieties alive as some of these such as Cascade, Centennial and Chinook have withstood the test of time for a reason, they’re great, versatile hops. Some of the new varieties that may taste and smell “exactly” like strawberries or raspberries or whatever are interesting and fun but they are not the be all and end all. In fact, some of these may come and go and be forgotten in a few years. The classics will be with us for generations so look for us to revisit them from time-to-time.
Q&A with Master Brewer Phil Markowski