I had the good fortune to run into Bill of It’s Pub Night and his crew, as they celebrated his ten years of work on his blog. I met him at Base Camp brewing and was invited to come along to the last stop of the night, Burnside Brewing. Which is how I ended up with a Miss Idaho IPA: Bill picked it from the menu.
The nose is a a bit fruity but not grapefruit. I can’t quite place it, so I go to the menu. It says, “pineapple” and bingo, that’s it. It’s got a the NE IPA haze to it, but I’m ok with that, because the beer is mining that pineapple tropical flavors, not grapefruit bitterness.
I have to say; this was a delightful crowd to be a part of. Conversation was lively but never hostile. I heard a story from a woman who told me about how her father had cultivated hops in the upper New York area-Helderberg hops, she said. Apparently back in the 1800s the Albany area was the leading producer of hops for the United States, but Prohibition destroyed that economy, so a lot of those crops weren’t sustained and many slowly went out of business, even after the repeal. Her father had gotten some from a farm, years and years ago and just grew them as a homebrewing afficiando, keeping the plant alive and using the hops for decades.
And now there are farms wanting to invest in hops again, so he was able to bring this variety-one that I’ve never heard of and I don’t know if it’s been used in a long, long time-back to a farm interested in growing them.
What’s really exciting to me is that hops which are viable for beer use aren’t common; scientists and farmers splice lots of varieties together in order to find something usable. Most aren’t, but since this hop was already used for beer, we know it’s got commercial viability! So who knows? Maybe I’ll see some Helderberg hops in the future to try in ales.
Today’s second pint goes to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.