hop schedule

Hops for our DFH 90 Minute clone
January 2013

So, this article popped up today and to summarize, the author (a self-proclaimed lover of hops) makes the point that hoppy beers and the craft beer industry’s infatuation with them is hurting the industry rather than helping it — noting that, the different hops can’t even be tasted after a certain extent. The author also notes that “there is some truth in the stereotype that craft beer is hoppy.” Well, that’s one opinion.

Disclaimer: I also love IPAs, so I might be a little biased.

I understand why the aforementioned stereotype exists, but that doesn’t mean there’s any truth behind it. If craft beer drinkers only introduce non-craft beer drinkers to these kind of beers and the non-drinkers don’t enjoy them, then sure, they might be left with a bitter taste in their mouth (literally and figuratively) about craft beer overall. However, I think that people with this mentality that all craft beer is hoppy are actively trying to taste hops in every beer they try — even if the beer they are trying isn’t known for its hops.

Now granted, it is an acquired taste and if you try to introduce a skeptic to the craft beer scene with an imperial IPA, you (and they) are gonna have a bad time. But there are so many different types of beers and breweries are constantly coming out with new collaborations, unique recipes, etc. that it’s rather old and tired to continue to stereotype craft beer as hoppy beer. As the author mentions, hops give brewers an “easy creative outlet.” But hops aren’t the only thing one can get creative with. From a homebrewing perspective, just this year Nick has used blood oranges and dried chamomile in two different wheat beers. And last fall, we brewed a pumpkin ale and a mint chocolate stout.

So, the question, “Are hoppy beers alienating non-craft beer drinkers?” In my opinion, no. I think people let hoppy beers alienate them. For example, my mum is an occasional beer drinker, but she has always insisted that she absolutely does not like that “hop flavor.” While I was visiting her and my dad this past Christmas, I bought a six-pack of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and while I was pouring a glass, she asked if she could have one. I didn’t tell her anything about the beer knowing that she might dismiss it due to the hops but, ironically enough, she thoroughly enjoyed it!

Again, this is just my opinion and you can agree or disagree. So let’s put aside our differences and go have a beer — cheers!