Hop hop hop!
One of the four flavors of beer is hops. For some brewers the seasoning. At vandeStreek bier we often brew hop-forward beers; our IPAs Hop Art, Hazy Weekend, or Playground for example. Usually you can find on the packaging which hop variety is in our beers. Just to indicate that the taste of hops is really important. In addition to all the commercial varieties we use, we also have our own hop project: Klophop.
Hops are grown in the temperate and cold zones of our planet: around latitude 32 degrees. That means there's plenty of room for hops all over the world; it is grown in North and South America, Europe and New Zealand and even Japan and Australia.
Hops are also grown in the Netherlands, but our little country is not originally a large hop producer like Germany or the Czech Republic. In recent years, the United States has been busy growing hops: many tasty innovative hop varieties come from there.
Each area has traditional hop flavors associated with the ancient hop varieties and beer styles in that area. When we think of Germany and the Czech Republic, we immediately think of spiciness, English hops are generally earthy and American hops pop with citrus.
Just like with wine, hops talk about the old and the new world. For example, the Saaz hop is a hop from the old world: Europe, Czech Republic in this case. It is even called a noble hop variety. Saaz is named after the town where it is grown (although the town is now called Žatec…) and is the main hop for pilsners. The lager smell therefore partly comes from the aroma of Saaz.
The German Bavaria has the Hallertau Mittelfrüh hop, the traditional seasoning for the Helles (the Bavarian lager, so to speak). The Hallertau has a grassy aroma. Also from England come traditional hops, such as Fuggle and East Kent Golding. They give a somewhat spicier and often earthy aroma.
Even Slovenia has a noble hop: Styrian Golding, which is actually an imported Fuggle. Because of the different soil on which it grows, it is more like the East Kent Golding. Terroir therefore also has an influence on hops.
The United States has been called the new world for hops, especially the area around the Cascade Mountains. The Willamette Valley and the Yakima Valley are now famous hop areas (and let them be close to each other now...). Cascade, Citra, Willamette, the fresh fruity hops come from the west of the USA. This is where the IPA revolution started: West Coast IPAs. However, the old world is not standing still and there are now also new European varieties that give a tasteful fruitiness.
Try our different IPAs to taste the different hop flavors!
Just like with wine, hops talk about terroir. A Fuggle from England therefore smells and tastes different when it grows in Slovenia. A German Cascade smells and tastes different from the original American variant. And a Dutch Fuggle or Cascade will also make the beer taste different.
Stadstuin Klopvaart is located near our brewery, and hops have been growing there since the 1970s! For the past 40 years, wild hops have thrived there and interbred with other hops. Now we have cultivated the hops for our own beer. Own hops from Utreg soil and, like many hops, named after the area: Klophop.
Not so much hop grows in the Stadstuin that we can brew all our beers with it. Not that we want that. Not every beer has to taste like the same hops. Every beer has its own taste. In the spring of 2021, we distributed thousands of cuttings to the catering industry and consumers with the aim of organizing a harvest festival every September with Klophop from all over the Netherlands. Keep an eye on our socials when this party is exactly and come by to help pick hops!