As a borderline obsessive compulsive, I’m always working to channel this affliction in a positive and productive way. It’s little wonder that shortly after becoming introduced into the world of craft beer that I ended up creating the entity currently known as Inside The Craft. It wasn’t even a choice, really… More like a genetically predisposed necessity.
As a natural progression of this (hopefully mild but I guess it depends on who you ask) psychosis, I simply must become a home brewer. If I’m to up my beer IQ and elevate my ability to critique and intelligently dissect that which is in my glass, it seems a moral imperative.
Rather than simply buy a kit and brew something up “right out of the box”, I’ve embarked on the first phase of my journey by studying the ingredients themselves, individually, in order to hopefully gain insight as to how they affect flavor profile. Fascinated with the Humulus lupulus, this was my starting point.
During the course of my informal studies, I discovered what it takes to introduce a new hop strain to the industry and was somewhat blown away. If you have an affinity for instant gratification, this kind of pursuit is most certainly NOT for you. Or me, for that matter.
usahops.org has an awesome variety manual that makes for a great primer for the hop curious. In it you will find (along with a lot of other useful info) that it takes as long as TEN YEARS from inception to commercial release when it comes to developing new hop varietals.
Think about that the next time someone offers you something sporting an “experimental hop” out of (insert location here ________________). This doesn’t mean that someone just picked it off a bine somewhere thinking they were going to give it a whirl. Chances are there’s been years of planning and testing that’s been conducted ahead of that little green devil ever hitting yer glass 😉