An opportunity for the unique character of each hop to shine.
We are delighted to be increasing the number of different beers available on cask this year and a big factor in that increase is our desire to show off two things: the varied and unique qualities of some of our favourite hops and our skill in brewing the perfect, bespoke base beer, within which each one can shine.
Like most things in beer, single hop specials are not new but the idea really sparked with us and, like with Milk Stout and many other styles beforehand, we saw room to make each of these beers differently, in our own way.
The series launched with Gambler, a showcase for the US hop, Amarillo, a brilliant hop that seems to live in the shadow of the more boisterous Citra and Simcoe. For this hop, we brewed a beautifully balanced 4.2% golden ale and added a judicious amount of the Amarillo for a rounded, complex and subtly orangey hop flavour. It sold out in two days and seemed to fly out across every bar it graced.
With spirits high and interest piqued, it was time for something stronger and more full-on and that followed in the shape of Mischief, a showcase for the unusual and superb Jarrylo hop. The beer we produced was pale golden, 5% in strength and highlighted the brilliant and unusual banana and pear notes in the hop.
August saw the arrival of Papillon, our 4.3% uber-pale vehicle for the fantastic Cascade hop and in this one we decided to up the hop quotient for those who love our hoppier beers, namely Independence and Southville Hop, and we think did so to good effect!
As August waned we went big with a punchy 5% pale ale, cunningly called Calypso, a huge pale with big bitterness from the high alpha-acids of the Calypso hop. A refreshing beer which went down a storm in the late summer sun.
Riding high on the wave of appreciation, the next addition to the series was Optimist, a 4.4% hoppy pale ale with flavours of exotic fruit and blueberry from the luscious US Mosaic hop. Balanced by slight sweetness from use of 30% Vienna Malt, this truly was a beautiful beer.
We are loving this challenge and will be bringing out more single-hopped specials (and maybe even revisiting a few of the popular ones!) in the not too distant future so keep an eye out.