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The New Zealand Hop
As many of you know, we released a special double IPA this past week. What made it particularly special was that all the hops we used were grown in a single country: New Zealand. These hops are recently becoming a favorite among craft brewers all over the world as they look for new and unique flavor profiles.
Here at Cool Springs we have been fascinated by what the New Zealand hop can bring to a beer. We loved it so much we formulated a beer around these hops to share with you guys.
First a little history on New Zealands hops. Farmers have actually been growing hops in New Zealand for almost 150 years now. Immigrants from the beer drinking regions of Europe, like Britain and Germany, brought with them their beer culture which included their precious hops.
Now the hop plant is very sensitive as to what latitude it will grow and do well at. There happens to be a specific place where hops thrive on the isles of New Zealand. This place is called Nelson, and almost all hops grown in New Zealand are grown there. Sunlight, soil type, regular rainfall, and temperatures play favorably for farmers. Actually, because the hop was introduced to the country, it has no native pest. So combined with these near perfect growing conditions, New Zealand is the forefront runner for Organic hops worldwide because there is little need for pesticides or herbicides.
Around the Twenties a variety was introduced to New Zealand called Cluster, which originated from California . It became the dominant hop produced but succumbed to a root rotting disease. It destroyed many hops yields and out of that disaster, a special program and a hop research station was started. They started crossing different plants to create new breeds. These New Zealand hops have come into their own through the program. Even the hops we used in our new double IPA, Sheep-Tease, are recent entries from that program.
Pacific Gem is a cross between the Californian Cluster and Fuggle, and Nelson Sauvin is a cross of a bunch of different crosses and it is known as the quintessential New Zealand hop. Most New Zealand hops are known for their high alpha acids along with tropical, fruity, and peppery flavors and aromas.
Its those exotic profiles we wanted to showcase with our double IPA, Sheep-Tease. So drink-up and CHEERS to those New Zealand kiwis!