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What Are Hops?

You know that out-of-this-world flavour that bursts in your mouth at that first sip of your favourite beer? That kind of earthy, citrussy, fruity, bitter flavour. Ever wondered why it tastes so good? (No? We’ll pretend you didn’t say that.) 

Well it’s all down to a handy little ingredient called hops. We’re big fans of hops around here – they give beer flavour and even act as a mild preservative. So hop on the hops train – we’re gonna teach you all about beer hops and why they’re added to beer. 

What Are Hops in Beer?

It might seem like magic but beer brewing is actually a science. Beer is made from 4 main ingredients – water, yeast, malt (usually something like barley) and hops. 

Hops used in beer are actually the flower of the common hop plant – also known to plant buffs as Humulus lupulus. Hidden inside each hop are a bunch of yellow pods called lupulin – these are the source of the bitterness, aroma, and flavour in your favourite beer.

When you hear someone describe a beer as “hoppy” they’re talking about the mouth-watering citrussy, earthy, fruity tones as well as the bitterness – which is measured in International Bittering Units (IBU). 

Check out our blog How is Beer Made to load your noggin up with info on, well… how beer is made.  

4 Commonly Used Hop Varieties

There’s not just one variety of hops out there – otherwise all beers would taste the same (boring). There’s actually many different varieties out there. 

Some types of hops taste more citrussy, others taste more earthy, and others add a fruity pop to a beer. When our expert brewers create a new beer, they often combine a few different hop varieties to create new flavours. Clever isn’t it?

1. Citra

Taste: As the name suggests they have a really citrussy flavour. Often described as tasting like grapefruit, lime, tropical fruits.

Fun fact: Citra hops have been on the beer scene since 2008. But considering they have less than 20 years experience, they’re pretty sought after. 

Find in: Lazer Crush – they add that zesty, juicy taste you can’t get enough of. 

2. Mosaic

Taste: Mango, pine, citrus and herbs – A real west-coast flavour combo.

Fun fact: Even younger than Citra, this variety of hops was only made available on the market in 2012! But it’s already a favourite among beer brewers. And often referred to as “Citra on steroids.”

Find in: Gamma Ray – our OG American Pale Ale. 

3. Amarillo

Taste: Orange citrus – super zesty!

Fun fact: Amarillo hops were discovered accidentally. Most hop varieties are purposefully bred but the Amarillo was discovered on a farm in Washington, USA that grew a different type. Turned out they tasted pretty good and were bred up and are now used worldwide. 

Find in: Neck Oil – You can thank Amarillo hops for that bright, zesty OG Neck Oil flavour. 

4. Azacca

Taste: Spicy mango, pineapple, tangerine and pine – A mouth-watering palette if we do say so. 

Fun fact: Azacca hops were named after the Haitian god of agriculture. And whoever named this god-like hop did a pretty good job. 

Find in: Lazer Crush – We made sure to only get the good stuff for our crushable low-alcohol option. 

What Beer Has the Most Hops?

IPA beers, especially hazy IPAs, are known for their hoppy taste. IPA fans just can’t get enough of that mouth-watering taste. They tend to have more hops than other beers like lagar. And because of that they tend to be more bitter too.

Gamma Ray and Lupuloid are the two Beavertown beers with the hoppiest bitterness (55 each!). So if you like that kind of taste in your beer, give them a try. They taste good with basically everything – a roast dinner, summer picnic, or just as a weeknight refresher.