Drink John Wil­son on wines to keep you warm Beerista Sor­cha Hamilton on why craft beers are about to get a lot hop­pier

The Irish Times Magazine - - NEWS - SOR­CHA HAMILTON @ ITbeerista beerista@irish­times.com

This time last year there were a lot of wor­ried brew­ers in Ire­land – and around the world. Craft beer had a prob­lem: the in­dus­try was fac­ing into a ma­jor hop short­age. The cost of th­ese mag­i­cal green plants was go­ing up and they were be­com­ing in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to source – in par­tic­u­lar Ci­tra, Mo­saic and other so- called “hip­ster” aroma hops.

A year later, how­ever, the hop sit­u­a­tion looks very dif­fer­ent. The feared short­age of hu­mu­lus lu­pus, as they’re called, was only a per­ceived one. Be­cause many hop mer­chants signed con­tracts with mi­cro­brew­eries based on over- op­ti­mistic growth ex­pec­ta­tions, this tied up sup­plies and led to an im­pres­sion of a short­age. Add to this a lot of new­com­ers to the craft scene – and wor­ries about a pos­si­ble poor har­vest and ris­ing prices – and many of the big­ger mi­cro­brew­eries ended up buy­ing more hops than they needed.

Prices are now start­ing to drop, which is good for brew­ers in the short term. In the long term, how­ever, the fall­out may hurt hop grow­ers ( who might de­cide to start grow­ing some­thing else) and ul­ti­mately cause a short­age in a few years’ time.

As for the beer – it’s likely to get a lot hop­pier over the next while. And you’ll be see­ing a lot more dou­ble- hopped and dry- hopped beers hit­ting the shelves. Like the lat­est re­lease from the Nor­we­gian brew­ery Lervig. Their 6 per cent Tasty Juice Ci­tra IPA is dou­ble- hopped and – like its name sug­gests – is tasty and juicy, if you like your IPAs cloudy and with lots of pineap­ple fruiti­ness.

Bark and Bite by Wick­low Wolf is a triple- hopped 9 per cent im­pe­rial IPA, and is a spe­cial edi­tion re­lease for the brew­ery’s third an­niver­sary. While it’s not that hoppy on the aroma, it has a malty, toasted char­ac­ter with a solid bit­ter­ness and makes for a warm­ing sip­per of a beer – per­fect for au­tumn.

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