Tristan Hembrow (Senior Technical Brewer) and Tom Clermont (Sales/Operations) explain what it's all about..
So what’s all this single/dual hop business?
Tristan: It all started in Spring 2017, we knew we wanted a new range of beers and we thought we’d give ourselves a challenge & see what we could come up with using only one hop, making the most of all the characteristics of that one hop without anything else masking it.
How did it go down?
Tristan: It’s been a great learning experience for all of us and seems to have gone down pretty well.
Tom: People have loved it, it’s great to be able to offer our customers a variety of interesting beers which have a story to tell. The favourites have already made a welcome return.
Which Single Hop beer was your favourite?
Tristan: Optimist, I love a hoppy pale.
Tom: Optimist was great, although I probably drank more Gambler & Mischief.
Tristan: Mosaic is just so good on its own, if you mix it with other hops it can get overcomplicated, it just makes such a perfect pale all on its own.
It’s made me rethink Independence actually, every time I drink it now I really pick out the Mosaic. This whole process has led to us reducing the hop bill of Indy & actually making it a better beer with fewer hops.
..and the least favourite?
Tristan: Calypso was pretty bad! Having not used it before, the Calypso hop sounded good, it was described as having characteristics of stone fruit, pear and peach. It’s classified as a dual hop in that it can be used for both bitterness and aroma - great we thought, one badass hop, one badass beer. What actually happened was the bitterness totally overwhelmed the beer - it was a ‘tongue-coater’, not good.
Tom: The colour was perfect & some of the flavours were great but my god was it bitter!
Tristan: It was a learning experience for sure, the hop was just way more bitter than we thought.
Tom: Maybe it was our own fault, pre-destined from the name! No word play or one step removed back story, just the name of the hop. Pretty unusual for us..
So what’s the Dual Hop range all about?
Tristan: It was the natural progression really, we knew we wanted to do another series of beers much like they do in the US and a dual hop range followed on nicely from the single hop beers. The challenge with the dual hop range was blending two hops with different characteristics to make one great beer.
Tom: The single hop range was clever as it restricted us and we had to be precise. The dual hop series means we have to be clever in pairing hops which either naturally complement each other or come together in an exciting way.
Tristan: The challenge is working out which two hops will give you the beer you want to create, for example Bow Street - I knew I wanted to make an orangey beer so we used the grapefruit & orange notes of Mandarina Bavaria blended with the more peachy flavours of Simcoe.
Tom: Using the right hops in harmony and the right quantities will give more character to a beer without having to hike up the ABV. We accidentally made a dual hop beer in Low Rider which at 3.9% has been many people’s favourite, full of flavour at ‘session’ strength.
Tristan: Subtropic is pretty on-trend, lots of breweries are making tropical beers at the moment - deliberately hazy, high strength keg beers & adding juice or fruit to create tropical flavours. We thought we’d do it our own way & create tropical flavours just by using the right hops, keeping the ABV low and sticking to cask which tends to be our preference. The result is a clear, low ABV cask ale with brilliant tropical flavours - it’s awesome.
Tom: With a banging name! It sold out in a day, we had to stop the brewers drinking it all.
Tristan: There are more dual hop beers already planned & in the tank, we may well do more single hop beers too.
Tom: And the best ones from both ranges either have or will come back – Optimist, Low Rider, Gambler & Mischief have already been brewed a few times.
Beer ranges like these allow us to experiment and create new interesting cask beers, we’re basically innovating and showing off what we can do, it’s pretty fun.