It should come as no surprise the fact that hops reign supreme in the craft beer world. A member of the cannabis family and a distant cousin of the marijuana plant (although QUITE different), hops are used to provide beer with the flavour and aroma that defines them. From American hops, which tend to be piney and resinous, to German hops, which are usually more herbal, the variety of hops in a beer will contribute to the beer’s most definitive characteristics. In certain cases, such as in our 8 Days a Week series, a single hop will be featured with the purpose of being a true showcase of that particular hop. Other significant aspects that they can dictate are the consistency of the foam and the bitterness of a beer, measured in IBUs (International Bittering Units). The different hopping methods can affect the beer just as much; either by adding them straight to the boiling process or dry-hopping.

As you can tell, talking about hops and the variety available can be an overwhelming task, so we went straight to the source (our brewers) and asked them what their favourite types of hops to work with are and how they are used in some of Bandit Brewery’s beers.

AMARILLO

Bandit beers: 8 Days a Week Amarillo (Single-hop Session Ale), Dundas West Coast IPA, Hoppelgänger Pilsner (during its dry-hopping process)

Origin: Washington State, USA

Characteristics: Amarillo hops can bring a slight sweetness to beer, although they’re better known for their tangerine and grapefruit-like citrusy flavours.

CASCADE

Bandit beers: Bandit’s APA, Cone Ranger IPA, Dundas West Coast IPA

Origin: Oregon State, USA

Characteristics: It’s known to help with the bitterness of beer, while at the same time contributing to the citrusy flavours, not unlike Amarillo hops, except slightly spicier.

SAAZ

Bandit beers: Hoppelgänger Pilsner

From: Czech Republic

Characteristics: As one of the original “noble hops” that are traditionally used in European Lagers, it’s defined in great part by their low bitterness and floral aromas. These hops tend to be on the milder side but can bring out earthy and herbal flavours in the beer.

WILD TURKEY

Bandit beers: Tsarina Bomb IIPA

Origin: Ontario, Canada

Characteristics: These Canadian hops have a mild, clean bittering effect on the beer. It can bring out aromas of mango and peach. Commonly used for IPAs and other very aromatic beers.

SAPHIR

Bandit beers: Hoppelgänger Pilsner

Origin: Germany

Characteristics: A low acidity hop with very little bitterness. It can bring a sweet citrus aroma forward in beer, so also commonly used for traditional “Bohemian” beers.

Other ingredients, such as the malt used, can also be defining features of a beer. In future blog entries, we’ll explore ways in which other components can greatly affect the results of brewing.

*Photo by: Abhishek Dekate
Instagram: @abhishekdekate