Hops once drew very little attention from drinkers. If anyone other than brewers talked about hops, it was normally about bitterness.
The explosion of craft brewing, however, generated a fascination with all the flavour components in beer, but especially with hops.
Late and dry hopping with aromatic hop varieties gave us popular session beers like Little Creatures Pale Ale. And, at the other end of the spectrum, we’ve seen the rise of uber hoppy brews, sometimes quite confronting in their bitterness.
The search for flavour and aroma nuances, in turn, gave rise to the breeding of new varieties, and a global search by brewers for just the right combinations for their brews.
Indeed, the trend recently prompted Australia’s largest grower, Hop Products Australia, to begin replanting one fifth of its hop fields in Victoria and Tasmania, principally to exclusive proprietary varieties.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 27 November 2013 in the Canberra Times