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Craft Brewers Conference 2017

Hopsteiner sees craft brewers’ thirst for new flavors balance with an economical mindset

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Mary Ellen Shoup

By Mary Ellen Shoup+

Last updated on 18-Apr-2017 at 12:42 GMT2017-04-18T12:42:39Z

Hopsteiner operates in nine major regions throughout the world and harvests over 80 varieties of hops. Photo: Hopsteiner
Hopsteiner operates in nine major regions throughout the world and harvests over 80 varieties of hops. Photo: Hopsteiner

Hopsteiner debuted new “experimental” hop varieties at the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington D.C., to answer craft brewers’ need for flavor innovation at an economical price point.

Hopsteiner and Cargill jointly highlighted four brews at the conference including: an IPA (ABV 6.6%) by Ithaca Beer Company brewed with Hopsteiner Denali and X06297; a Belgian Double Pale (ABV 7.2 %) by Boom Island Brewing Company brewed with Hopsteiner Bravo and X09326; Session Pils (ABV 4.0%) by Urban Chestnut Brewing Company brewed with Hopsteiner Lemondrop, Hallertau Blanc, and Denali; and an IPA by BlueJacket brewed with Hopsteiner Lemondrop, Denali, and X07270.

The hops that garnered the most attention for Hopsteiner were its experimental X06297 and X09326 varieties as well as the new hop Denali which had flavor profiles with “berry notes and red licorice to orange with vanilla and juicy fruit with pineapple notes,” Bill Elkins, Hopsteiner sales representative for the Western US and Canada, told BeverageDaily.

Hopsteiner’s not-as-new hops releases, Comet and Bravo, were also popular among attendees, according to Elkins.

Affordable hops options for craft brewers

Craft brewers are constantly trying to keep up with consumer demand for new and unique flavors, which can be an expensive standard to maintain when sourcing hops, Elkins explained.

“Through the efficient use of our resources of land and water, and the planting of very healthy hop varieties, we are offering brewers the unique characteristics they demand in hops that are good yielders which is reflected in the cost of hops used per barrel of beer,” he said.

To be able to churn out the new craft beer releases, Hopsteiner has also noticed that brewers are choosing blends of more affordable hop varieties that mimic the flavors of hard-to-get, usually costly, hops varieties.

This blending strategy can help “separate themselves from the crowd and do so at a profitable level,” Elkins said.

“They are balancing their desire for new hop varieties with the economics that come from using varieties that are the strongest producers and can be procured at the most competitive price,” he said.

“They simply cannot brew every barrel with the most expensive hops on the market.”

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