When hops are picked at the farm, something like 80 percent are processed into hop pellets. The milling process includes breaking apart the whole bale, grinding the hops into a powder and then pressing the powder through a die to make a pellet. A small amount of lupulin (the glands of the hop flower, filled with golden hop oils that create the aroma and flavor) collects on the screens as the powder passes through on its way to the pellet die. This pure hop kief can be scraped off the screens and sent to compost. The end product has been beautifully termed “hop hash.”
It’s a progressive, delicious goodness not a lot of breweries are using today. In fact, SweetWater Brewing Co. in particular has maybe been the biggest champion for the hop hash revolution; it also pairs well marketing wise with the brewery’s pot-loving subculture (420 Extra Pale Ale anyone?).
In fact, SweetWater’s Hop Hash Double IPA might be its best beer, and SweetWater has some pretty damn good beers. Since that formula worked, SweetWater has decided to take its hop hash campaign to new, crushable levels. On Feb. 8, SweetWater Brewing released its brand new spring seasonal, Hash Session IPA, and we’re excited. This marks the brewery’s third release using hop hash and their first session IPA. SweetWater says it’s “one of the only breweries in the nation using hop hash, the concentrated resin that’s left after hops are run through the pelletizer,” in the press release.
“We’ve wanted to brew a session IPA for a long time, and access to hop hash finally allowed us to deliver one in true SweetWater style,” said Nick Nock, head brewer.
How is it made?
Let’s let SweetWater explain:
The star of the show here is the Amarillo hop hash — the brewers kept the malt bill light to allow the concentrated hop flavor to shine through, differentiating it from other session IPAs. Pungent with floral, tropical citrus fruit flavors, the hop hash gives it that one of a kind chewy, gooey, resiny mouthfeel. As the chaser, SweetWater gave it a hefty dry hop to enhance the potent aromas. Ahtanum gives it orange and grapefruit tones, Crystal for a little kick of spiciness, and El Dorado bringing some pear and watermelon characteristics.
The ABV at 4.2% makes it a highly drinkable, refreshing brew, perfect for springtime.
Malts: Maris Otter, Pilsner, Wheat, Midnight Wheat
Hops: Bravo, Amarillo Hash
The new session is available in 6-pack bottles now, plus bottles and cans in the spring SweetWater Tackle Box.