Whether bred or discovered, it generally takes about 10 years from the discovery of a potential new hop variety to reach market
(abv) Single Hop Galaxy Pale Ale using the Australian Galaxy Hop.
In 2016, Big Rock Brewery of Etobicoke, Ont., launched Cashmere
Crooner, a 4.9 per cent abv lager made with Cashmere hops, and
Citradelic, a 6 per cent abv IPA from Citra hops originally developed
in Vancouver by brewmaster Jody Hammell.
Alexander Keith’s (now a Labatt’s line) has explored an entire
single-hop series, including Cascade, Hallertau, Galaxy, Celeia
and Saphir Hop Ales. Likewise, Left Field Brewery in Toronto has
a Prospect Single Hop IPA Series; the most recent addition to the
roster is their 6.6 per cent abv Prospect Sabro.
The logical extension of the single-hop inspiration is the socalled
SMaSH concept, for Single Malt and Single Hop. In Toronto,
Eastbound Brewing Company boasts a 4.4 per cent abv Revealed
Constellations SMaSH IPA, made with only Golden Promise malts
and Mosaic hops, and Muddy York brews a 5.6 per cent Ward 2:
Centennial Pale Ale with local hops and Canadian barley. Breton
Brewing Co. of Sydney, N.S., launched an ongoing SMaSH series
with S.M.A.S.H., a 4 per cent abv IPA featuring the Azacca hop.
Quinlan believe that beer aficionados are only going to
become more interested in the source and quality of their beer
ingredients, including the growing methods. “There are not that
many organic farmers around the world,” he said. “I really see
British Columbia becoming a known hub of organic hop production
and making a name for ourselves in the next few years.”
Hops can cost anywhere from $5 to $50 per pound, but given that
a craft brewer might only use two to three pounds per barrel, it can
be worthwhile to choose the best available product.
COV E R F E AT U R E
“I believe that the price should be the least important consideration.
The cost is fairly small in the grand scheme of things, but it
influences the taste probably more than anything,” said Warwaruk.
Prices are not always predictable. “Believe it or not, there are
conventional hop varieties that are priced far higher than organic
varieties,” Quinlan said. “But for a consumer, knowing that there
are organic hops in the beer can be the reason they buy it.”
His decision to go organic “was not thought out; it was doing
what we thought was right. It’s far more labour-intensive and
costly, so that influences price and yield,” he said, explaining that
organic hops often yield less per acre than hops grown traditionally
because of the cost of organic fertilizers for this nutrient-greedy
crop. “The cost of organic hops tends to be 40 per cent to 50 per
cent higher, but that is dropping as organic production gets more
efficient. A few years ago, it was double the price,” he said.
Apart from his own services (which are recommended on The
Hops List), Briner recommends that craft brewers shop online at
The Lupulin Exchange, which he describes as “kind of an Amazon
for hops” with “over a million pounds of hops for sale at any
In the end, “price point doesn’t really reflect the value of a local
brewer using a local hop. Sometimes brewers make the mistake of
comparing with the world price,” said Warwaruk.
“If you want to showcase the talents of your brewery, pass
on to your consumer that you’re using top-quality ingredients,”
he said. Today, “it’s normal to put the variety of hops on your beer
label, but not the grower. But I think the trend will be for brewers
to put the variety of barley on the label, and not only the variety of
hops, but also who grew it.”
WINTER 2020 § POURED CANADA § 21