The unstoppable train that is the IPA seems to be speeding up. At this point it is best to jump onto the bitter bandwagon and learn more about the humulus lupulus.
Some great websites feature hop information on them, but recently Hopsteiner, the large hop grower/distributor, has refreshed its website and added a really helpful snapshot of hop data that may seem more helpful to brewers professional and home but also sheds light on the aromas and bitterness for the hop enthusiast too.
The Hopsteiner’s Hop Varieties Grid has brand new hops photography which helps to visually differentiate the hops by multiple sort levels including Experimental, Aroma and a handy sheet of information that to this beer blogger was just right without getting too overboard in technical terms. You get an aroma graph, genetic origin, similar hops and other facts. It is easy to use and share which is key.
Not that you need to dig deep into a granular level just to order an IPA but once you start learning about each hop you will know which hops to look for that fit your palate and from there you can start to see which hops blend well together. More patterns will emerge as to why you like IPAs from one brewery more than another. It very well may be that your favorite IPA is heavy on Mosaic or Equinox or Lemondrop.
Of course, I had to choose an IPA for this week’s Beer of the Week and I have chosen a Los Angeles riff on what is the hip new IPA style, the Cloudy, Northeast, BernieBeer (whatever you want to call it) IPA. This sub-style has gained quite a bit of traction and is a hot topic of discussion because, in general, a turbid unclear beer is a sign of something gone haywire. But this version is trying to maximize late hopping and a big, tropical note and actually are less effective when they eventually clarify with age. Mumford Brewing‘s Unpresidential tackles the style and has brewed up a slightly orange Julius-ed type of IPA with lovely fruit notes to it.
Elsewhere on this site is an interview with Devon Randall of Arts District Brewing. For this week’s Homework assignment, I suggest checking out the brewery and ordering one of the designated “Community Beers.” Not only will you be helping out the DTLA homeless population as $1 from each beer goes to services in the area; you won’t have to make a beer decision when you get to the bar.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.