This year’s Unity beer for L.A. Beer week featured Gargoyle hops. This hop sprung from California Cluster and imparts (in general) a mango/citrus bouquet. Though not grown in large acreage yet, if it becomes a “hip” hop, we might see more of it.
And it is not the only new hop on the bitter horizon. Cashmere, Tahoma, Triple Pearl and Yakima Gold along with the indigenous Neo-Mexicanus will be seen more in the coming years for the craft beer hopheads.
Cashmere is more about silkiness, as the name suggest with herbal aroma. Tahoma has more citrus and lemon notes added to compliment notes of cedar, pine, floral, pepper and subtle green melon notes. Triple Pearl mixes notes of melon, orange citrus, resin, spice and pepper. Yakima Gold had Cluster and Slovenian ancestry which should provide a meetup of noble hop with classic American bitterness.
While plantings of those four hops will take some time to bear cones, Neo-Mexicanus, a wild hop found in New Mexico, is already in limited beers. Vulcanizer from Beachwood BBQ & Brewing and Drake’s Brewing as well as Sierra Nevada Brewing Company‘s Wild Hop Harvest Ale. This is a native hop which imparts some lime notes along with its bitterness.
Why talk about hops in a saturated hop culture? Because each provides something new to not only IPAs, but to other beers as well. I can imagine Cashmere hops in a MacLeod Ale Brewing beer or Tahoma in a Ladyface Ale Companie saison. The extra popular Citra and Mosaic hops are popping up in all kinds of beers so the possibilities for L.A. brewers are limitless.
The Beer(s) of the Week are meant to age, unlike hops. Enjoy AFTER 10-31-15 from Stone Brewing Co. Not any usual IPA, but a Brett IPA. This IPA will be boosted at bottling time with the wild Brettanomyces yeast. The “Best by” date on the bottle indicates the earliest you should open the beer. Stone has been branching away from hops with a Saison and Coffee Milk Stout, but hops are never far away from the Escondido Empire. Just be sure to drink by the recommended date, but in reverse.
Because there is so much good beer out there, your second choice is Goldie from Smog City Brewing. This is the first bottle release from the Torrance outfit’s nascent barrel program. Goldie is part Belgian, part Golden and part Strong ale aged in bourbon barrels. It will be on sale Saturday at their tap room where you can also sample the base beer pre-aging.
Your Homework is to do your own lupulin research at the 2014 edition of BAM Fest. B-for Beer and then the other two letters. Of course it is, Arts & Music. BAM Fest has been on the scene for five years in Santa Monica serving up an equal mix of creations from brewing artisans and art, artisans. The event will be on October 26 and tickets are bound to go fast for the chance to sample beers from 40+ breweries. You will be sure to get your share hops.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.