Hop science for the casual drinker
How does the constant evolution of brewing science help us make better beer?
Each glass of beer has a background story created by dozens of people. Everyone involved plays an important role: brewers, brewery workers, maltsters, hop farmers, truck drivers, scientists.
This last group has been quite active lately, especially the ones researching hops. As it turns out, the brewers favourite green friend is quite complex. The better understanding of hop anatomy and how it affects beer led to further development of hop forms made available to brewers. While whole cone hops and hop pellets are still the go-to forms, some interesting new ones have been introduced to the market.
Some of these advanced products, like Incognito hops, are derived from hops into a liquid form. They are easy to transport, store and use while delivering great efficiency and flavor.
The others, like Cryo hops, are produced in a form of powder. They allow brewers to use approximately half the amount of pellets for the same aromatic quality, without the often unpleasant astringent flavour. In the brewing process itself, this means less losses because hops do absorb a certain amount of beer. According to the excellent Scott Janish book, The New IPA, best results are achieved when combining Cryo hops with pellets. So traditional pellets are not going anywhere, they are just getting some extra help.
All of these new hop forms share a common theme - they are stripped down to the very essence of what a lot of brewers are looking for - fine aroma. In the future we can expect that the use of these new products will enhance both the brewing process and beer. As for beer drinkers, they just have to look forward to the next glass of their favourite drink!