This is the second installment in my three part series featuring Central Ohio brewers talking about hops. In part 1 of this series we looked at the supply and demand angle. In this post I asked the brewers one simple question, what is your favorite aroma hop? If IPAs were rock bands, malts and bittering hops would be the rhythm section, while aroma hops would be the singer and lead guitar player all rolled into one. So lets see who these brewers would pick to play the lead role in their creations.
In addition to the six brewers who participated in the first post on hops—Adam Benner (Land Grant), Tony Corder (Columbus Brewing Company), Chris Davison (Wolf’s Ridge), Craig O’Herron (Sideswipe), Liz Staas (Staas Brewing), and Trevor Williams (Hoof Hearted)— Cameron Lloyd, head brewer at Zauber Brewing, has joined the discussion for parts 2 and 3 of the series.
Adam Benner (Land Grant) – I love Citra forward beers. I remember having Zombie Dust at Dark Lord Day a few years back when it debuted, and I was taken aback by the odd pungent/catty smell that is the trademark of Citra. We did a batch of our 1862 Ale that we normally dry hop with Cascade, and used Citra, though it was light since it was just a dry hop, it was a delicious beer.
Tony Corder (Columbus Brewing Co.) – I have way too many favorites, especially aroma driven, to choose one. I could name just about any of the newer, sexy, exotic or whatever the latest greatest one is right now. For my official answer, I’m going to say Centennial. It’s a rock solid and classic hop in American beer that adds plenty of grapefruit, and floral notes. Plus it plays really well with other types of hops.
Chris Davison (Wolf’s Ridge) – I’ve always been partial to Galaxy. It’s a little less in your face than Citra or good Cascade, but it’s deliciously complex and nuanced. It can offer a little citrus, but shines when you can pull passion fruit and guava out of it. Late kettle additions can even offer aromas of lychee, one of my favorite fruits.
More recently I’ve learned to appreciate El Dorado. We had a bunch on hand when I joined WRB. At the time I didn’t care for the hop, but decided to try to work it into a recipe or two. It’s now the predominant hop in Luck Strikes Twice, and I feel comfortable saying the current batch is easily the best yet. Tons of fresh citrus and melon come from the El Dorado.
Finally, I reworked our Amber, Ridge Trail, to use a classic pairing: Centennial and Chinook. You see this in several Sierra Nevada beers. This new batch is super juicy with bright white grapefruit and pine notes.
Cameron Lloyd (Zauber) – I don’t have a single favorite. It depends on what I’m trying to do. All around, probably Tettnanger Tettnang. It’s a very traditional German variety with a nice herbal spiciness and a fairly traditional “hoppy” flavor. I like it because it is such a versatile and interesting variety. Not only is it great for traditional German and Belgian styles where you want a bit more spicy, hoppy punch than the more floral, hoppy Hallertau provides, but I’ve also put it to great use as part of the aroma profile in some of my larger, hoppier, more Americanized recipes like our Stodgy and Christmas ale.
Craig O’Herron (Sideswipe) – Amarillo, Citra and Simcoe are definitely some of my favorite hops for IPAs. I have a soft spot for Saaz and Fuggle in lighter beers. In order to get the strong hop flavor you pretty much have to dry hop.
Liz Staas (Staas Brewing) – This question is easy. Donald and I absolutely love Citra hops. Citra hops impart a deep and rich citrus and tropical fruit-like aroma. Our Double IPA truly exemplifies the essence if this hop, in my opinion. Donald designed our double IPA recipe and I think he did a fantastic job. It’s actually our best-selling beer. Cascade hops are overall my favorite “everyday hop.” They are extremely versatile and give a very nice and balanced piney yet citrus flavor and aroma.
Trevor Williams (Hoof Hearted) – #1 with a bullet is Nelson Sauvin from New Zealand. It’s the most assertive hop out there. Super pungent and tropical fruit forward. The last two batches of South of Eleven have had some Nelson in it. The most recent is a blend of Nelson and Equinox which is pretty raging.
I’m not surprised to see in demand hops like Citra, Galaxy, and Nelson Sauvin pop up in this conversation, but it’s interesting to note that Centennial got a couple of mentions (second only to Citra). Good to see that classic European hops like Tettnanger Tettnang and Saaz also got some love. I’d like to challenge the readers to fill out the poll below and leave a comment, here or on social media, weighing in on your favorite hop.
Come back next week when we finish this series with a closer look at Ohio grown hops.