American craft brewers can be viewed as the Indiana Joneses of their profession. They take ancient, esoteric and almost extinct beer styles, dust them off and present them to a new and appreciative base, almost always with a twist and a wink. Gose, porter, saisons, all given fresh life here in America. Nothing epitomizes this more than the India Pale Ale, which has also become pretty much THE quintessential craft brew. And what is the key to this style, in all of its forms? Hops, man! Lots and lots of hops. But we’re not the only New World continent crazy over these flowers. If you want to know what’s hot in hops, you need to look to the Southern Hemisphere, to Australia and New Zealand and the wonderous new aromas and flavors that these hops are bringing to the table (and more importantly, to the glass).
MORE THAN ONE WAY TO SKIN A HOP
IPAs are truly beloved, worshipped, obsessed over. And American hops have been able to shine in these styles. But what American hopheads really love is innovation. Enter the Australian and New Zealand varities! You want kiwi, passionfruit, mango, gooseberry, lemons, limes and peppery spice? They bring it and then some. Most of these newcomers are used for their flavor and aroma, so they’re late additions and dry-hoppers, but they also have high alpha acids and so can really be used in all aspects (but you can find cheaper bittering hops; leave most of these bad boys for their scent and taste impacts). From Australia be on the lookout for Galaxy and Topaz; from New Zealand check out Nelson Sauvin and Motueka. Grab some from your local homebrew shop or look for single hop examples from craft brewers out there. These hops are bright, tropical and lovely, and really bring a whole different perspective on the IPA (or Pale, or Saison, pilsner, etc.)