The humble little hop cone has a long and complex story that is ever changing. Although the beer drinker will change and the role of hops will change, the good news is that the need for hops should change very little. Yet brewers need to always be cognizant of all that goes into hop selection — predictions of what is needed for the next few years, staying up to date with what’s new in the world of hop breeding and (of course) preparing with proper contracts.
In today’s crowded beer world, a safe bet for hop selection is probably something new and something classic. Let’s take Stone Brewing Co., for example, which released a few hop-rubbing videos the other day. Steve Gonzalez, Stone Brewing’s senior manager of brewing and innovation for small batches, took time to discuss two important Stone-focused hops — Loral and Centennial. Extremely new, the Loral brand HBC 291 is the latest release from the Hop Breeding Co.’s breeding program. It’s been described as floral, citrus and peppery with some dark fruit characteristics. Loral will be used in Stone Brewing’s new Ghost Hammer IPA. Centennial is a classic beer hop, used all over the place, including Stone IPA.
Enjoy rubs and explanations with Gonzalez in the videos above. After watching those, enjoy the virtual reality hop rubbing video below from Goose Island. I somehow missed it last year, and it’s a fun little jaunt into the past — if you’re into rubbing shit (like me).