My Favourite Hops

The global beer world has mutated at a remarkable rate over the past couple of decades, with the rate of transformation only accelerating as the last one drew to a close. Leaving aside the backflips, twists and reinventions demanded by COVID-19, the landscape looks nothing like it did at the turn of the Millennium.

For all the new styles, reinterpretation of old styles, barrel-ageing, blending, foraging, collaborating and souring that have become part and parcel of daily life for anyone caught up in craft beer today, there's arguably one element of the beer world that has become the brightest star of all. 

They're green, they fit easily in the palm of your hand, they're oily and sticky (and can make a real mess of your clothes if you fall into a mound of them), they smell delightful, they help preserve your beer, they're related to cannabis, and they look pretty cute. They are, of course, hops.

Stripped back to basics, these little cones or flowers grow on bines in regions of the world with suitable climates (not that it's stopping people trying to grow them elsewhere). They're harvested in autumn and, for the most part, are dried then processed into a number of formats: pellets, whole flowers, oils, "hop hash", Cryo Hops and more. That said, a small proportion – particularly at this time of the year in the Southern Hemisphere – are used for "wet hop" brews, with the cones transported straight from farm to fermenter before they've been dried or had time to spoil (they're delicate little things, after all).

 

Hop cones drying in the kiln at Ellerslie Hop's processing plant in Victoria.

 

They have a few roles in beer. Traditionally, they were there mainly to add bitterness and act as a natural preservative. But they can contribute both flavour and aroma too, which is what the majority of contemporary craft brewers and beer lovers appreciate them for most. In general terms, the earlier they're added to the brewing process, the more bitterness you'll extract; towards the end of the boil you'll get more flavour compounds and some aroma; added late on – dry-hopped in the fermenter, for example – the further the balance leans towards aroma.

Where once, brewers would have added just enough to provide balance to a beer, these days there are brewers – on these shores, the likes of Mr Banks, Range and Deeds in particular – with a fondness for taking things to extremes, with dry-hopping rates of mid-20s grams per litre and higher, even up to 50 grams per litre, as they create opaque juice bombs destined for hundreds of Instagram accounts and Facebook posts.

The global hop industry is also working feverishly to develop new varieties. Aside from the Foster's brand's remarkable staying power in the UK, it's via hops – the Galaxy that helped propel Pacific Ale to stardom, in particular – that most craft brewers and beer lovers outside these shores know of the Australian beer industry.

 

Harvest time at Hop Products Australia's Bushy Park farm in Tasmania.

 

In the coming weeks, Hop Products Australia will officially name the next variety they hope will achieve Galaxy-esque glories (currently tagged HPA-016) while Ellerslie Hop have high hopes (and are planting more acreage) for Melba and there are tiny growers developing their own unique varieties. American growers have developed a lineage of fantastic examples, from Cascade and Centennial a few decades back through Citra and Simcoe to the likes of Mosaic and Sabro today. There's even one going around that creates characteristics similar to barrel-ageing...

Changing tastes are forcing regions famous for noble varieties like Hallertau and Saaz and once-ubiquitous examples like East Kent Goldings to develop new, fruitier, more esoteric offerings to sate a desire that, for now, appears borderline insatiable. 

There's so much more that can be (and has been) said about the wondrous powers of hops, but we thought it would be both fun and interesting to ask those intimately involved with them – growers, brewers, sellers – which varieties excite them and why. And who they think does an epic job of working with them too.


James Monshing – Yakima Chief Hops

 

Yakima Chief Hops are one of the foremost hop growers in the US and, in 2019, expanded their presence in Australia through a new partnership with Cryer Malt. Central to that partnership is James Monshing, who grew up surrounded by hops in the Victorian High Country and whose family history at Rostrevor we featured here.

As he puts it: “My grandfather grew hops, my uncle and aunty still grow hops and my cousin is in hops – you could say I bleed green!” 


What's your favourite hop and why?

Sabro – it’s a huge hop that always stands out above others. I love the huge, juicy tropical fruit notes and expression of coconut sometimes akin to a Pina Colada.

Which brewer's mastery of hops do you admire and which beer of theirs showcases their talents best?

Gavin Lord from pFriem Family Brewers in Oregon. I was lucky enough to visit the brewery in Hood River during the 2019 harvest with a few brewers from down here – they’re known for their Pilsner but, for me, the hop aroma and flavour in the IPA was huge and incredibly vibrant which really showcased the American hops, whilst also being a super well balanced beer.


OJ – Hop Products Australia

 

Owen “OJ” Johnston has been one of the central figures in the Australian craft beer scene for well over a decade. He was head brewer at Moo Brew when it was launched by David Walsh at the Moorilla Estate in Hobart, developing the brewery’s original lineup and overseeing its expansion.

For the past few years, he’s been part of Australia’s biggest hop trader, Hop Products Australia, based at Bushy Park in Tasmania, where he leads the sales helping bring their new generation of hops, including the global smash that is Galaxy, to the world.

“I guess nowadays I would describe myself as deeply connected to hops. I literally think about them all day!” he says. “Aussie hops in Aussie beers really floats my boat.”


What's your favourite hop and why?

My current favourite hop is HPA-016 – the newest release from HPA’s breeding program. From the beers I have tasted featuring the new hop, it’s going to turn a few heads.

The possibilities for this hop are pretty exciting and I can’t wait to introduce it to more brewers.

Up until now, your only chance to have sampled HPA-016 will have been in limited release beers such as Two Birds Uncharted IPA, Hope's Single Hop NEIPA and various releases from Bridge Road, but it’s due for an official naming and wider release in the coming weeks. You can read more about OJ's thoughts on the hop in this article we ran earlier in the year.

Which brewers' mastery of hops do you admire and which beer of theirs showcases their talents best?

The list is very long! Just a snapshot of recent beers that blew me away – Garage x Balter collab (Dry Haze), Sydney Brewery’s East Coast IPA, Bad Shepherd’s Vic Pale [which also features the historic Melbourne Ale Yeast brought back by White Labs], Mr Banks Time & Space – not based on style, but based on skill and execution for crafting a delicious beverage!


Glenn Harrison – Ellerslie Hop 

 

Glenn has been around Aussie beer, pubs and brewing his entire life. In the twelve years we’ve known him, he’s gone from brewery rep to brewer at Hargreaves Hill, Temple and Detour before joining Ellerslie Hop Australia in 2019.

He joined the multi-generational Aussie hop growing business as technical brewer which he says: “basically involves me doing a lot of brewing trials on new hop varieties and current season hops as well as future hop trials and evaluations. I also help give brewers advice and recommendations on hops through my experience and trials.”


What's your favourite hop and why? 

The obvious answer would be to choose a big American aromatic hop or maybe even Melba, our own proprietary hop which I am a massive fan of. But I am going to go with a sometimes much maligned Aussie hop: Pride of Ringwood. 

Over the years, this hop has been bashed due to its use by larger breweries and many brewers, industry people and drinkers give this hop a hard time. This hop to me has always been a beautiful, clean bitterness hop yet still has the ability to offer some soft aromatics of citrus and soft stone fruit characteristics. 

I think a lot of people would be surprised how many breweries use this hop or Super Pride in the beers that they love and rave about.

Which or brewers' mastery of hops do you admire and which beer of theirs showcases their talents best? 

The hoppy beers I enjoy the most are those that, although you notice the hops and can appreciate them, they are not just there to dominate or say: "Look at me. I threw a shit load of hops in and it is intense." 

Saying that, there are breweries who have the ability to throw a lot of hops into beers with a dry-hopping rate exceeding 20 grams per litre and make the beer balanced and drinkable. But there are others who struggle to achieve the balance. 

Hawkers Rover [Henty St Ale] is a great example of a really sessionable beer that showcases hops while the beer maintains its drinkability. 

Breweries that seem to be really good at taking newer hop varieties and making big beers that showcase the hops are Deeds Brewing as well as Range Brewing. I think, overall, most brewers are getting smarter not only in the use of hops, they are getting better at hop selection, hop storage and looking at new ways to give the drinkers what they want. Brewers are more open to looking at and using alternate hop products such as Hop Co2 extract, Hop oils, Hop Flow and other forms to get the aromas, flavours and efficiency they require.


Justin Fox – Bintani

 

There’s a good chance you’ll have tasted beers designed by Justin Fox even though he (mostly) no longer works as a commercial brewer. He picked up trophies while working for breweries including The Monk and Colonial before making the move to beer industry supplier Bintani Australia in 2016. There, he’s head of sales, product and development, while keeping his beer recipe muscles flexed with Hawke’s Brewing Co (and his isolation haircut finessed by his kids…).

“My relationship to hops is one of love mixed with plenty of spreadsheets!” he says. “I generally lean to hoppier styles in the beers I regularly love to both brew and drink, but day to day I am responsible for the mass balance of Bintani’s hop contracts, agreements, stock levels, and spot lists to try and ensure that our customers get the hops they want with the flexibility they need. It’s a constant juggle but also highly rewarding.”


What’s your favourite hop? 

Right now it’s definitely Strata. I first experienced it in a beer in the US at the Hop Growers Conference in 2019 at Alvarado Street Brewery. A single hop Strata IPA was the pick of their beers, but the true magic was that the beer presented different enticing characteristics each time I went back to it. Sneaky pre-lunch beer, mid arvo, dinner or late night, I kept getting new aromatics. 

The beer was always balanced and delicious, so I put it all down to a true bombardment of flavours in which my current mood or accompanying food enabled me to hone in on a particular one. I have no doubt this hop will dominate the years ahead.

Which or brewers' mastery of hops do you admire and which beer of theirs showcases their talents best? 

For me, it is Rich [Watkins] at BentSpoke. Crankshaft is the beer that proves it to the masses, but what got me convinced beyond all doubt at his sensory mastery of hops was a video he sent to Bintani when Fortnight [a blend created for Bintani founder Pete Meddings] first launched. 

He was breaking down the pellets, doing a rub and a sniff, then naming all the hops he guessed were added to form our secret blend. While I will vehemently deny ever knowing the true answers, let’s just say Rich nailed four out of five on his first stab.


Sandy Ross - HopCo

 

Hobart-based Hopco supply hops from around the world to Australian brewers and homebrewers. The business was founded in 2001 by father and son team John and Sandy Ross. Having been connected to beer since he was barely old enough to work, Sandy was never likely to work with anything other than hops. 

“I have been involved in hops since I was three years old,” he says. “I’ve worked full time in the industry for 22 years and have watched the rise of craft beer from its infancy.”


What’s your favourite hop? 

My favourite hop is the new one from New Zealand currently known only as HORT4337. The name will be released soon. I think it’s a New World hop on steroids and it tastes and smells great in every beer I have tried that uses it. Think Citra but with more pineapple, passionfruit, peach and melon. Watch this space – it is going to be huge.

Which brewers' mastery of hops do you admire and which beer of theirs showcases their talents best? 

I don’t want to offend all the brilliant brewers out there but I do think there are some fantastic beers coming out of Queensland at the moment.

If I was to chose just one I’d pick Revel's DDH SHIPA (Double Dry Hopped Single Hop IPA) that uses HORT4337. No wonder we call [head brewer] Matt Cuthbert the Wizard.

You might have come across the hop in a few other Aussie beers too, including CoConspirators' The Neighbour, Big Shed's Indie IPA, Aether's Chaotic Good NZ Pilsner, and Bandicoot's Havoc XPA.


Brad Merritt - Yellingbo Hop Farm and Hard Road Brewing

 

Brad Merritt’s being involved with craft beer longer than most, having launched Oscar’s Alehouse more than a decade ago in the Dandenongs. It had a beer list as impressive as any you might find in an inner suburban bar and became a beacon of hop-forward beers (and plenty more besides) in Melbourne’s outskirts. 

Five years ago, his commitment to hops grew even deeper, when Brad and partner Gypsy launched Yellingbo Brewing Company & Hop Farm, which focused on brewing beers made with hops grown on the couple's farm. More recently, Brad’s found a brewing home as one of the group that launched Hard Road Brewing in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs last year. 

“I've been a small scale commercial hop grower for the past five years,” Brad says. “With an emphasis on brewing hop-forward beers using our estate-grown hops, first through Yellingbo Brewing as a gypsy brewer, and now through Hard Road Brewing.”


What’s your favourite hop? 

Centennial is my favourite hop. Don't get me wrong, I still love so many of the current popular hops like Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe to name a few, but Centennial has always stood strong in the beers I like most. It stands out even more grown here and used in whole cone format, dried at low temperatures to hold in more of the volatiles lost in the processing and pelletising of hops.

Which brewers' mastery of hops do you admire and which beer of theirs showcases their talents best? 

In the US, Stone Brewing have mastered hop forward beers, but a big nod also goes out to Russian River Pliny the Elder, Bells Two Hearted IPA (hopped exclusively with Centennial), and Founders Centennial IPA.

Locally, I'm a big fan of anything hoppy from Deeds Brewing and I just can't go past Fixation IPA for its big, balanced flavour.


Steve Mitchell - Hilltop Hops Farm

 

Steve grew up in Redlands, just outside Brisbane, with parents who were flower farmers and, after a few decades working in civil engineering, decided it was time to grow flowers of his own. In 2017, he and Andrew Carson launched Hilltop Hops Farm and became a part of a small industry in Queensland growing hops in a part of the country that’s better known for growing actual pineapples more than pineapple-packed Vic Secret. 

“I always wanted to get back into farming somehow,” Steve says. “I grew one hop plant in my front yard – pretty poorly – and thought if I grew a few more maybe one of our mates could make a nice beer out of it. A mate [Andrew] was also interested in growing a few plants so we rented some land from a relative at Hemmant and grew 30 plants – again pretty poorly.  

"From there we expanded to 200 plants then the next season another 300 plants to 500. Now we have no more room to expand but we have learnt a great deal about this beautiful little weed and yield around two kilos per plant. Not great compared to our southern colleagues but we are still learning and improving our farming practices."


What’s your favourite hop? 

I’m not a brewer but from a growing perspective, Columbus. The cones are much different from the other varieties we grow. They are normally larger, seem to have more oil and a stronger scent. When you pull a ripe cone apart they cover your fingers in this sticky resin that takes several washes to remove. They are also denser and more solid. Definitely the cone you would choose if you were trying to knock someone out.

Which brewers' mastery of hops do you admire and which beer of theirs showcases their talents best? 

I love all the wet hopped beers that have been produced using our hops I think the mastery comes from the brewer leaving the farm with a bag of hops not knowing exactly what’s in them [and] then relying on their own sense of smell and experience to produce something special. 

I admire these brewers as they seem comfortable investing and experimenting with a product that most people would say couldn’t grow in Queensland. Favourites would be Archer QPA, Sea Legs Harvest IPA and Catchment World Pilsner.


Richard Watkins - BentSpoke

 

Richard Watkins is Australia’s longest-serving indie brewer, having started out at Canberra’s Wig & Pen back in 1994. More recently, he and partner Tracy Margrain have been behind the beers, ciders and ginger beer at BentSpoke, introducing more drinkers to hops through the likes of Sprocket and Crankshaft, Australia’s highest ranked IPA in the GABS Hottest 100 Craft Beers for the past two years. 

Richard’s past role in bringing more hops in to the country is likely lesser known by many: he convinced Pete Meddings of Bintani to start bringing hops into the country so he would have more to play with in his brewing arsenal.

“I have been brewing with hops since 1994,” he says. “The varieties of hops available back then were very limited. A trip to the US in the early 2000s opened my eyes to the sheer scale of flavour diversity in hops. I wanted to brew with these back in Australia. This led to more varieties becoming available to brewers in Australia."


What’s your favourite hop? 

Citra from the US for its stone fruit, citrus and tropical characters. A bit closer to home Galaxy; the peachy character is quite unique.

Which brewers' mastery of hops do you admire and which beer of theirs showcases their talents best? 

The team at Yakima Chief Hops. The pilot brewery there works overtime. They all know a shit load about hops. 

I love brewing wet hop beers, getting the hops straight from the kiln at the start of the drying process.


Oscar Matthews – Uraidla

 

Uraidla haven't been brewing that long, but the South Australian operation has been amassing a fine reputation among those to have got their hands on Oscar Matthews' beers. From his brewery in the Adelaide Hills, he's released a wide variety of beers but it's been his typically hazy hoppy offerings that have caused the most excitement, from fruity pales to double IPAs that drink like beers half their size.

“Here at Uraidla Brewery we have a very open relationship with hops and what they can bring to our beers," Oscar (pictured above right with Adam Betts of Edge Brewing Project) says. "Indulging in huge aromas and flavours of a heavily dry hopped IPA is great, but there is also a need for balance and finesse, particularly in the lighter styles that we produce.”


What’s your favourite hop? 

It’s hard to pinpoint a single hop, so maybe a region? I love playing with New Zealand varieties. They are so versatile, not only in their flavour and aroma profiles but their adaptability to different beer styles. NZ hops have the ability to nail both bold, aromatic pale ales and delicate lagers.

Which brewers' mastery of hops do you admire and which beer of theirs showcases their talents best? 

Firestone Walker and Matt Brynildson would have to be one of my top picks. I’ve always found this unquestionable sense of drinkability throughout their beers. Not to mention their continual exploration of flavour through beers such as the ever-evolving Luponic series.


Chris Farmer – Mr Banks 

Photo by Ryan Wheatley for the Good Beer Week team.

 

Ask around some of the more dedicated craft beer haunts in Melbourne who they think is brewing some of the most exciting hazy beers in Melbourne and the conversation regularly turns to Mr Banks. The Seaford-based brewery has won many a fan on the back of its hefty use of hops and even ran a Summer Haze, a beer festival dedicated to haze, at the start of the year. Co-owner and head brewer Chris Farmer pays close attention to American breweries making full use of hops and regular explores how to best showcase them in his beers. 

“We have a love-love relationship with hops,” Chris says. “It’s pretty much what we have built our brand around and what gets us excited when designing and brewing new beers.


What's your favourite hop and why?

 Citra, no question. We use it in so many beers. It’s fantastic on its own, used as the predominant hop, or as a lifter hop, lifting all hops around it.

Which brewers' mastery of hops do you admire and which beer of theirs showcases their talents best? 

Other Half, Monkish, Trillium, The Veil, Humble Sea. The list of US breweries killing it in the hop game is endless really.


Scott Hargrave - Balter

Scotty Hargrave (centre) with Pete Gillespie of Garage Project.

 

Balter built their reputation largely on the back of hop forward beers and close watchers of the brewery will know the brewing team there isn’t afraid to explore new hops. Earlier this year, for example, they gave a wide release to Dimples, a West Coast IPA featuring the unnamed HPC630 from Yakima Chief Hops. 

The ability to create such beers comes down to head brewer Scotty Hargrave’s close relationship with the hop growers, one that’s been built over multiple trips Stateside that's allowed him to indulge his love for hops.

Or, to use Scotty’s typically poetic way of talking about beer, he’s: “Utterly enthralled by them. Such a magical, enigmatic, transformational ingredient. From delicate, supple and refined to over the fucken top bombastic and beyond, there's a hop and a way to express its character for just about every possibility… The more I learn the more there is to learn…” 


What’s your favourite hop? 

Right now probably Sabro. An amazing mix of coconut creme and tangerine with both components remarkably distinct and complementary. There's also an effect on mouthfeel which I love. It has different tones and levels of intensity depending on where and how you use it, and what you match or blend it with. 

Which brewers' mastery of hops do you admire and which beer of theirs showcases their talents best? 

Locally, BentSpoke Sprocket, Feral War Hog, Pirate Life Mosaic, Mountain Culture Red IPA and Garage Project’s FRESH series.

In the US, Green Cheek Radiant Beauty, Cloudburst Aqua Seafoam Shame, 3 Floyds Alpha King, Hill Farmstead’s Society and Solitude series. And if you need more: a lot of stuff from pFriem, BaleBreaker, Firestone Walker, PizzaPort, Bagby, Three Weavers, Highland Park, Societe, Breakspear and Beechwood.


Dave Padden – Akasha

 

Before Akasha started building a reputation with hop monsters like Korben D and Wooden Leg, Dave Padden (above right) was introducing the people of Sydney to hoppy beasts as co-owner and head brewer of Riverside Brewing, which opened in Parramatta in 2012.

“Riverside quickly made a name for itself as one of the leading hop-forward breweries in Australia,” Dave says. “It was a tough slog for a while there, helping our customers understand how stunning a well balanced IPA and double IPA could be, but we got there!" 


What’s your favourite hop? 

I fell in love with Mosaic about eight years ago with its unique and punchy aromas of mango, citrus, tropical and stone fruit. It pairs beautifully in an IPA with other US hops such as Simcoe and Citra but can also stand on its own to produce a luscious single hop IPA that is far from one-dimensional. 

Which brewer's mastery of hops do you admire and which beer of theirs showcases their talents best? 

I have been a massive fanboy of Vinnie Cilurzo, the Founder of Russian River Brewing in the States, for a long time. His IPAs and double IPAs have always been the pinnacle of flavour and balance and the perfect example of this is Pliny the Elder. I've been lucky enough to visit the brewery and meet Vinnie a couple of times – he is very open about how he makes such great beer, and you will find plenty of his influence in our beers.


Scott Overdorf – Hobart Brewing

 

"So many hop varieties. So little time," is how Scott Overdorf puts it. As the man overseeing all things beer at Hobart Brewing he avoids creating a year-round IPA but instead brews a variety of styles throughout the year that allows them to keep up with new hop varieties as well as the classics, to trial different hopping techniques and to experiment with different yeast strains and fermentation profiles.

They host the annual Hoptober IPA Festival which inspired hop-forward collaboration brews with other local breweries and, in turn, led to the Hop Dreams Series of seasonal and one-off IPAs.


What's your favourite hop and why?

A hop that finds its way into a lot of our beers is Vic Secret. It is my favourite hop variety to brew with and a bit of an unsung Australian hero. It has enough impact to use on its own, but it is an amazing hop to use in combination with other varieties, making it a truly versatile hop option. 

In darker style hop forward beers we use it to accentuate pine and a bit of dankness. In IPAs we use it along with other varieties grown in Australia and in the US to emphasise tropical fruit. On its own in a hazy IPA, it can really burst with amazing aromatics while adding it hot side can bring out some spicy characteristics. My favourite characteristic of Vic Secret is a candied fruit aromatic and flavour found in beers brewed with a solid portion of crystal malt such as amber style ales and red IPAs.

Which or brewers' mastery of hops do you admire and which beer of theirs showcases their talents best? 

In our early days at Hobart Brewing I was fortunate to get to spend some time brewing with another expat Colorado brewer, Dennis de Boer, who at the time was the head brewer at Modus Operandi and now is at White Bay Brewing. We collaborated on Howlin IPA, a 100 percent fresh hopped IPA that we brewed together over two consecutive hop harvests. 

"Hopping techniques, water chemistry, yeast selection and fermentation temperature and their impact on hop flavour and aroma was where Dennis' hop mastery began. On our second collaborative fresh hop brew, we kept the same base IPA recipe rather than brewing a different beer. Instead, with his quiet confidence and 'let's see what happens' quest for knowledge, we talked about changing the process along with a change of yeast and fermentation temperature and then taking note of any impact on flavour and aroma. Sonic Prayer IPA is one of my go to beers and shows off Dennis' attention to detail all the way through to the naming of the beer!

Matt Brynildson at Firestone Walker is another brewer whose hop mastery transcends throughout the vast array of beer styles brewed at their brewery. Drinkability and balance are the hallmark of all Firestone Walker beers. Distinctive hop flavour and aroma is present in all their beers regardless of the style, resulting from attention to process. Union Jack IPA still remains as one of the best examples of a West Coast IPA. It was a sad day indeed when Firestone Walker decided to drop one of my all-time favourite beers, Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA from their lineup!

When I get a chance to get off the small island and head up to the big smoke of Melbourne, no trip is complete until I've had a couple of beers with Tom Delmont and Sam Bethune at the Incubator [Fixation's home]. These guys live and breath hops. They get to brew all beers IPA and nothing could be further from the truth when you hear someone say: "Brewing big, hoppy beers is easy, you just add more hops."  Brewing hop forward beers, particularly IPAs, relies on balancing a lot of different variables in order to bring drinkability to the glass and they do it really well. I always head home inspired with new ideas after talking to Tom and Sam over a couple of IPAs.


Ross Terlick – Rocky Ridge

 

Ross Terlick has been brewing in the South West of WA for a decade now, initially helping out at Cowaramup before taking up the reins at Cheeky Monkey when Red Proudfoot set off to found Pirate Life. After putting his mark on the beer there, he moved a short drive away to Rocky Ridge where he oversees brewing alongside co-owner Hamish Coates.

They grow their own hops and have arguably become best known for their Rock Juice series of big, hazy double IPAs. Ross describes his relationship with hops as "a love that will echo through the ages" adding: "But seriously, hops are a massively integral part of the craft beer industry and very much drive our sales. It's also massively therapeutic to be able to get out in the hop field and just get your hands dirty, knowing that they'll be going into beer you brewed."


What's your favourite hop and why?

So hard to choose; from our field I would have to go with Flinders. It has a really smooth yet robust bitterness and awesome marmalade tones if used in whirlpool or dry hop.

For hops we don't grow personally I would have to say Ella, a great Aussie hop that I find incredibly versatile.

Which or brewers' mastery of hops do you admire and which beer of theirs showcases their talents best?

Here in WA, Brendan [Varis] and Will [Irving] at Feral really led the way and opened up a lot of our eyes as to the way to use hops that were hard hitting and punchy, yet still really well balanced with the rest of the beer. One of my epiphany beers was their Fanta Pants at the brewpub years ago.

I've also been really digging the work the crew at Deeds and Range have been doing lately, nailing the haze craze but not just sending out cans of trubby hop burn.


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