Local hops, slowly but surely, are becoming a thing. The latest great local hop story: Northern Discovery hops, a wild hop indigenous to Wisconsin with rare aromatic qualities, is now the key ingredient in a beer from Pearl Street Brewery. The hop, discovered in 2007 outside of Madison, Wis., had remained untouched for over a century, allowing it to evolve naturally.
Besides originality, the Northern Discovery hop exhibits another unique trait – extraordinary levels of linalool, the most prized of aromatic compounds that gives hops their essence. It is vital in producing hoppy beer. Paul Stang, the cultivator of Northern Discovery hops, realized the unique brewing potential of these hops immediately.
“This hop contains more than double the linalool of any other variety,” Stang said.
Joe Katchever, Pearl Street Brewery brewmaster, knew he could create a truly unique beer with the hop.
“You won’t find a beer anywhere else in the world that has this type of hop,” said Katchever. “The flavors and complex aromatics of beer brewed with this hop matures and develops over time, and increases in potency with aging.”
As oil-based hop aromas fade quickly, they make way for linalool to move to the forefront and creates a pleasant bitterness as the beer ages, with lilac, pear and bruised apple notes emerging.
The new India Pale Ale brewed with this special hop was released by Pearl Street Brewery on Friday, Oct. 16 and will soon make its way to store shelves throughout Wisconsin and select regions in Minnesota. The beer, Linalool IPA, was named for the key compound in those Northern Discovery hops that give the ale its distinctive flavor.
In 1999 brewmaster Joe Katchever founded the Pearl Street Brewery and brought craft beer to the heart of La Crosse, Wis. He started in a small, subterranean brewhouse on Pearl Street and eventually expanded to an old factory building. The one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is a commitment to making great beer. It is the only thing that matters. It’s that simple. They are inspired by good beer.