NYTimes: Brewers Embrace Flower Power

There's an interesting article (registration required) in today's New York Times about the popularity of hoppy craft beers. The article mentions IPAs and Double IPAs from breweries like Dogfish Head, Stone and Victory.

The article does a good job discussing different varieties of hops and the characteristics that they impart to beer. There's also an interesting bit about the origin of Cascade hops.

All this experimentation began with an unsuccessful effort to please the giants of the brewing industry.

In the 1960's and 70's, Schlitz, Pabst, Anheuser-Busch and other big breweries that depended on Cluster were looking for a more bitter hop so they could use less. Hop breeders in the Pacific Northwest, where virtually all American hops are grown, responded with Cascade.

But while Cascade's bitterness was more intense than Cluster's, its shelf life was considerably shorter, so it was little used until the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company introduced its Pale Ale in 1981.

The article also mentions newer hoppy pilsners from DFH and Victory. There's a great quote from Sam Calagione about DFH's "imperial" pilsner.

"We are launching this big, super-hoppy beer to remind people that the pilsner style used to have a lot of flavor and a lot of hops before the big breweries and their half-billion-dollar advertising budgets ruined it," he said.

It's an interesting article, and well worth the read.

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