Unnamed hops and why you should drink beers brewed with them



Reuben’s Brews introduces a beer brewed with a very, very new hop variety. Because they can.

The only thing I hate more than an unfair advantage is an unfair advantage gone to waste. If you’re reading this, you are probably a beer lover who lives in the Pacific Northwest. Most likely, Washington. You live in the world’s hop garden. When it comes to hops, no agricultural region on earth compares to the Yakima Valley in terms of acreage and production. You are blessed. As a beer lover in this region, it is incumbent upon you to know a few things about hops.

Our local breweries don’t waste this advantage, so you shouldn’t either.

The hop varieties you love are bred and not born. Most of the dozens upon dozens of hop varieties that brewers use these days were carefully and painstakingly developed; they did not occur spontaneously in nature. It’s a science. It takes years to go from conception to pint glass. A new hop starts as a concept, an experiment, a hybrid. After several developmental steps, if successful, maybe the new hop variety gets a number, and then eventually it gets a name. The vast majority never make it past the first few steps.


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I still think of Mosaic hops as HBC-369 because that’s what it was called when I first drank a beer brewed with them. Where else on earth? We are blessed. When you see a beer menu featuring a beer brewed with hops that are numbered and not named, give it a shot. It’s something new.

Pint of Reuben's Brews, Puff Classified IPA.
Reuben’s Brews [Classified] IPA.

This is a story about two of those new, yet-to-be-named hop varieties. More specifically, it’s about a beer from Reuben’s Brews that features two different experimental, yet-to-be-numbered, yet-to-be-named, still-classified hop variety. The beer is available as of today (Friday, Feb. 26th).

Below, Adam Robbings (brewmaster, co-founder at Reuben’s Brews) tells the story of the process and the beer.


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It is your good fortune to live in a place where you can read a story like this and drink a beer brewed using hops like this. You have an unfair advantage. Don’t waste it.

THE BACKSTORY FROM ADAM

Given we are so fortunate to live close to the hop capital of the world, it’s an amazing privilege we have as Pacific Northwest brewers to be able to pop over the mountains and visit the farms that grow our hops.

Occasionally I’ve been fortunate enough to walk through experimental hop fields, and rub new varietals that are still in the development stage. These hops may be only a few rhizomes on a hill, to a couple of acres. A couple of years ago I managed to do that with Michael Ferguson, the Director of Hop Breeding at Haas.

Most hops in development have strong links with their parent varietals – you can sense their lineage when you rub them. But [Classified] was totally unique – a broad, sweet tropical (almost candied) fruit forward aroma is what really grabbed me when I rubbed it in the field. It was unique to pique my interest – in a field of green, and with my lupulin covered hands, nose and face!

The opportunity to support a hop from its early development was one we couldn’t refuse. To help support the industry in this small way is the least we could do. The future of our industry is based on innovation – and hop innovation is really a large driver of the craft beer industry in recent times. Imagine a world without Citra! Furthermore, when you look at what drives us as a brewery it’s a great example of what we call brewing “glass backwards” – being unconstrained in recipe development – by designing beers from the hop field, literally!

THE BEER

Puffs of [Classified] features a too-new-to-be-numbered hop from the 2020 harvest in the Yakima Valley. We sponsored a tiny parcel of this early stage developmental hop, making this one of only a handful of beers to feature this [classified] hop. This Puffs hazy IPA bursts with tropical flavors, pina colada, and candied fruit across 7.6% ABV, dry-hopped exclusively with [classified]. This is a unique and innovative hop that shows off with potency and intense tropical fruit flavors.

COME GIVE IT A TASTE

Puffs of [Classified] is available exclusively at our Taproom and To-Go Store, on draft and in 16oz cans to-go, for a limited time! You can also purchase online of course for shipping across Washington State or for easy pickup in Ballard. Come by to taste the future of PNW hops.



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