Let’s Talk Hops
By homebrewing expert and HOP WTR ambassador, Sarah Flora of Flora Brewing
Feb 24, 2022
Ablend of Citra, Amarillo, Mosaic and Azacca hops is familiar to most modern brewers and now HOP WTR drinkers can savor this delightful blend of tropical hops without any of the alcohol.
These hops give a distinct fruity character to beers, namely the super juicy hazy IPAs that are all the rage now, but if you go back to the birth of the modern IPA you would be hard pressed to find any of them in your beverage, except potentially Citra. Hop breeding programs are constantly chasing the next flavor profile when developing new hops and we are in the golden age of the juicy hop. If you enjoy the tropical flavors of these hops you are living in the right decade. It takes breeding programs around 10 years to release a new hop variety to the public and even longer for the hops to be widely released, and that’s only if brewers actually like the flavor.
Back in the 90’s commercial brewers only had access to about 40 or 50 different hops but now there are over 200 on the market. The flavor possibilities are nearly endless. I have personally made beer with hops that taste like coconut and cantaloupe to name just a few.
Now, let’s talk about the new hop varieties in HOP WTR and why they are some of my favorites: Amarillo, Mosaic, Azacca and Citra.
Amarillo wasn’t so much developed as it was discovered. In 1990 Virgil Gamache Farms found this strain growing next to a field of Liberty hops. It still took 13 years from discovery for it to be publicly released. Amarillo is a citrus bomb with notes of lemon, orange and grapefruit thanks to its off the charts Myrcene oil content. It’s amazing on its own but works fantastically with other citrus and tropical hops.
Mosaic has been my favorite hop for a few years now. It smells and tastes just like a mango. This hop was only released in 2013 and it has taken the brewing world by storm. You would be hard pressed to find a brewery or bar without a Mosaic beer these days. Even if you’re not a trained hop sensor you will be able to pick this hop out by aroma alone as it’s one of the most unique hops on the market.
Azacca’s flavor and aroma is a combination of Amarillo and Mosaic, not only does it have the delicious citrus notes but also carries a tropical punch of mango and pineapple. This strain’s mother is the Japanese variety Toyomidori but its name comes from the Hatian God of Agriculture. This is another hop that can stand on its own but plays well with others that carry the same citrus or tropical notes.
Citra has been a brewer’s favorite to use in IPAs for the past decade but surprisingly it’s only been available since 2007. It was actually the catalyst that changed the flavor profile of the IPA. Before the bright citrus character came along most brewers were using hops with pine and grassy characteristics which as you can imagine would not make a great juicy IPA but worked well for the classic West Coast IPA style.
The citrus and mango notes of this hop blend come through in HOP WTR, making it light and refreshing. I enjoy sampling the hops unburdened by the sugar and alcohol in beer. When I taste the same flavors in a beer they can occasionally be overwhelming, especially if you’re drinking a hazy that’s too thick to see through. I have found a new favorite in the newly released Lime HOP WTR. The citrus notes of the Amarillo and Citra hops pair wonderfully with the tart lime flavor. I’m extremely particular about artificial citrus flavors and you can tell that HOP WTR is using all-natural Mexican limes for flavoring and not something conjured up in a lab.
And that’s a little background on the latest hop blends in the always delightful and refreshing HOP WTR!