Hop crisis looms again!


It appears that the global hop industry is again facing a crisis, as the poor 2015 hop harvest is faced with unprecedented demand worldwide.

Here’s some key facts about hops every IPA drinker should know:
Who? Germany and the USA each produce 1/3 of the world’s hops. China, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Poland are also significant producers.
What are they? Hops are actually the flower of the hop vine, Humus Lupulus, to be precise! Like Jack’s famous Beanstalk, hop vines can grow by 1 foot per day, and can reach heights of 25 feet . Each plant can yield about 1-2.5 lbs of dried flowers per plant.
How many hop varieties are there? There are dozens of varieties. O’Hara’s Hop Adventure series releases limited batches of some slightly more unusual types like Sorachi Ace and Galaxy. Founder’s Centennial is named after its hop variety.
How important are they? Hops are a vital ingredient in beer production – adding bitterness and aroma. As hops are boiled, they release more alpha acids which give bitterness. Dry-hopping is when hops are added after the wort has cooled, adding aroma as opposed to bitterness. Brewdog Punk IPA, 5am Saint and Hardcore are good examples. Hops have also traditionally been used for their antibacterial properties.
What kind of aromas and flavours do hops give? Floral, grassy, citrus, spice, pine, grapefruit and lemon are just some of the flavours derived from hops. Cascade gives distinctive grapefruit, as well as citrus and floral notes.
How do you measure hop bitterness in a beer? The impact of hops on a beer’s bitterness are measured in IBUs – International bitterness Units. New Brewdog Elvis Juice has an IBU of 40 units.

And for the bad news....
How much do they cost? From $5 to $25 per pound. The price of hops has risen by up to 50%; some a lot more. Some hops, like Citra, can be 70% more expensive than others, because they are low-yielding, and very much in demand.
Big brewers have contracts of supply, to ensure continuity & pricing.
Craft beers can use up to 6 times more hops than conventional beers. IPAs especially use a lot of hops. Brewdog reckon that they use 25 times more hops than an industrial brewer.
Furthermore, dry-hopping uses a lot more hops.
What can YOU do about the hop crisis?
Absolutely nothing. Stay calm. Inhale. Exhale. Let it over your head. Break open your favourite craft beers from Molloys and savour the taste. Life is way too short to drink watery flavourless beer. The cost of hops is reckoned to be about 4% of the total cost of a craft beer. Whatever increase happens, it’s worth paying that bit extra for great-tasting beer.
Here’s a few newbies just in. Take a look in-store for recently-released limited beers, or shop online to ‘hop’ on the craft beer wagon!
Brewdog Ace of Simcoe (limited) 4.7%. This session IPA has been bombarded with Simcoe hops. Mango, pine, and grapefruit explode from the glass, firing off from a light, complex toasty malt base. Low voltage, high amplitude hops, in their purest form.
Brewdog Jet Black Heart 4.7% A milk stout; roasty malt flavours of coffee and chocolate, bound to a decadent full-bodied richness. Flaked oats and wheat add to the velvet mouth-feel, with the carbonation adding a honeycomb texture. Magnum and Sorachi Ace bring a berry & citrus fruitiness that amplifies the chocolate character of this inky leviathan.
Brewdog Elvis Juice 6.5% is an American IPA with a bitter edge that promises to push your citrus tolerance to the brink and back; Elvis Juice is infused with pithy, tart grapefruit! It has a caramel malt base, with grapefruit peel piled on top of intense US aroma hops. Waves of crashing pine, orange and grapefruit round out this citrus infused IPA.
Metalman Ironmonger IPA 6.5%. Time for some hoppy goodness! Who doesn’t crave a luscious malty body and a fruity citrus finish.
O’Brother Max (limited) 4.4%   A Session IPA with a citrusy profile.

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