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Hops

04 | 17 | 19

Wild Hops of the West

Posted in Our Beer, Hops

It's amazing what you might find hiding in your backyard, if only you take the time to look. The newest and most exciting hop working its way into our next beer didn't come from Europe and it wasn't from the new breeding cooperative; it was here all along, just waiting to be tried.Neomexicanus hops are a wild, native species that grow in the harsh, dry mountains of the American West....

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04 | 17 | 19

Hop Hunter Makes Harvest Year Round

Posted in Our Beer, Hops

This month, we're preparing to launch an all-new IPA into our year-round beer lineup: Hop Hunter IPA.To our knowledge, Hop Hunter is the first beer to feature wet hop flavor year round. This intensely aromatic IPA features pure hop oil, steam distilled in the field from wet hops minutes after harvest. This hop oil contributes a powerful wet hop aroma into the beer, available for the first time outside of...

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04 | 17 | 19

Fostering the Equinox Hop

Posted in Hops

Hops are a hot commodity. With the meteoric rise of IPAs and other hop-forward beer styles, the entire craft beer community is crazy about hops—specifically, new hop varietals with unique flavors and aromas.One of the newest varietals making waves among brewers is the Equinox hop, so new it just received a name this past April—prior to that, it was known only by a number: HBC 366 Varietal.We're showcasing this new...

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04 | 17 | 19

Drying Hops Is A Careful Dance

Posted in Hops

A sea of hop popcorn, that's what it looks like. A beer lover's ball pit, perhaps.For a place that's oppressively hot, a hop-drying facility, or kiln, manages to be rather beautiful. Often football fields in length, the room brims with a beer ingredient we craft brewers cherish, and if there are skylights, majestic sunshine cascades in to make one big hop halo.It's a delicate beauty, though. A misstep in the...

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04 | 17 | 19

Wild Hops in Whitmore

Posted in Hops

See more hop harvest photos on Facebook With empty onion sacks tied to our belts, we dove into the thicket and thorns. We'd have to wrestle nature for these wild hops.Our team was in Whitmore, a town about two hours north of our Chico home. A gentleman from Whitmore, Randy—the former postmaster— had recently taken a tour of our brewery. Before leaving, he handed over a note. The gist: There's a...

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04 | 17 | 19

Hop Selection 2013

Posted in Hops

See more hop harvest photos on Facebook "Should we start with Cascade?"It's fitting that our founder, Ken Grossman, would make that suggestion while in Yakima, Washington, earlier this month for hop selection. He's been smitten with whole-cone Cascade hops since first taking in their grapefruit and pine aromas in the late '70s. (They're the staple of our flagship Pale Ale.) Back then, when Sierra Nevada was but a young idea in...

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04 | 17 | 19

The Timeline of Our Estate Bines

Posted in Hops

In our estate hop field, thousands of strings reach from the ground to 18-foot trellis tops. They hang with the slightest curve, like a person's arched back during a morning yawn. When the hops wake up they start climbing that twine.If you drive by our brewery now, you'll see that our eight acres of hops are well rested; Cascade, Chinook, Citra and more are charging skyward, bright with color and...

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04 | 17 | 19

A Hop Forward Week

Posted in Hops

"Our dependence on what you guys do is real," Ken Grossman told the American Hop Convention crowd last Thursday in our Big Room.Organized by Hop Growers of America, the American Hop Convention is an annual industry meeting that brings together hop growers, merchants and researchers, as well as craft breweries. This was the 57th convention year and the first time it was hosted by a craft brewery—a special chance for...

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04 | 17 | 19

Purest Ingredients, Finest Quality

Posted in Hops

Our brewery's blog begins as 2012 ends and the recent hop harvest goes toward brewers' 2013 beers. To most craft brewers, hop selection is a special time of year. For brewers like us, who only brew with whole-cone hops, selecting only the finest hops is of the utmost importance. And since we use more whole-cone hops than any brewer in the world—about 3,000 pounds each day—hop growers are often eager to...

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04 | 17 | 19

Reflecting on Hop Harvest

Posted in Hops

In our first blog post, we mentioned hop growers are often fond of us. We use heaps of whole-cone hops every day—thousands of pounds. But despite the big supply we have in Chico, the selection process during harvest is calculated and time consuming. Ken Grossman and a team of brewers embarked on this year's search in September.We hand select the majority of our hops from several states, namely Washington, Oregon...

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