How hops affect these 5 New Belgium beers

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How hops affect these 5 New Belgium beers

These days, hops are popularly associated with the aggressive, dominant profile they lend to IPAs and imperial IPAs (see Rampant, Ranger and Slow Ride), but what if I told you that they’re also capable of subtlety? It’s true: Hops can be a team player, too. Hops excel at elevating a beer with nuance, just as much as driving a palate wrecking IPA. So, let’s take a look at the different ways hops affect these five New Belgium beers:


ENHANCE AROMA

Le Terroir Dry-Hopped Sour Ale

ABV: 7.5%

IBU: 12

It’s amazing that a non-IPA beer with only 12 IBUs (international bittering units) can still smack you in the face with a big, juicy hop aroma. That’s because this sour ale is dry-hopped, a process that allows us to add hoppy aromatics to the beer without imparting big bitterness. Amarillo’s the main variety we use, and its vibrant citrus and mango aroma makes for the perfect complement to the acidic, sour and peachy base beer.


MAINTAIN BALANCE

Blue Paddle Pilsner

ABV: 4.8%

IBU: 33

Based on the classic Czech-style pilsner (aka Bohemian pilsner or bo pils), Blue Paddle is an awesome example of how hops can be used to add balance to a beer. Although this style’s one of the hoppiest under the umbrella of traditional lager styles (from thin light lagers to malty bocks), it’s downright balanced compared to IPAs. Additions of traditional Saaz hops, as well as Liberty and Nugget, contrast the beer’s delicate malty sweetness with prickly bitterness and distinct floral, herbal notes. It’s about as sessionable—while still maintaining an assertive hop profile—as they come.


ADD MOUTHFEEL

1554 Black Lager

ABV: 5.6%

IBU: 21

Hops? What hops? Just kidding. For this dark lager, we pack a ton of malt- and-yeast-driven character into each sip: dark chocolate, roast, toast, pepper, candied banana, and more. While the Nugget hop additions take a back seat in flavor and aroma, they contribute a subtle hoppy bitterness, which teams up with prickly roasted malts to keep each sip moving swiftly across the tongue. 


COMPLEMENT FLAVOR

Snapshot Tart Wheat

ABV: 5%

IBU: 13

This stainless-soured wheat ale includes Cascade hops, a popular variety in American IPAs. But, we use the hop sparingly: Snapshot’s lemony, citrusy flavors derived from the lactic tartness and subtle additions of coriander are bright and vibrant, and adding a restrained amount of citrusy hops layers on similar high-notes to the sip. The result is a harmonious citrusy, crisp, tart and refreshing beer.


COMPLETE DOMINATION

Rampant Imperial IPA

ABV: 8.5%

IBU: 85

Sure, hops take the lead on this big imperial IPA, with varieties such as Mosaic and Calypso lending big stone fruit, lemon, pine and floral notes to the profile. But, just behind the big hop flavor and bitterness is a well-matched wave of malty sweetness, which adds depth to the sip and buoys the hop flavor for extended play on the tongue. But don’t get me wrong: This one is a hop-bomb.

Damn, I love hops — Chris

These days, hops are popularly associated with the aggressive, dominant profile they lend to IPAs and imperial IPAs (see Rampant, Ranger and Slow Ride), but what if I told you that they’re also capable of subtlety? It’s true: Hops can be a team player, too. Hops excel at elevating a beer with nuance, just as much as driving a palate wrecking IPA. So, let’s take a look at the different ways hops affect these five New Belgium beers:


ENHANCE AROMA

Le Terroir Dry-Hopped Sour Ale

ABV: 7.5%

IBU: 12

It’s amazing that a non-IPA beer with only 12 IBUs (international bittering units) can still smack you in the face with a big, juicy hop aroma. That’s because this sour ale is dry-hopped, a process that allows us to add hoppy aromatics to the beer without imparting big bitterness. Amarillo’s the main variety we use, and its vibrant citrus and mango aroma makes for the perfect complement to the acidic, sour and peachy base beer.


MAINTAIN BALANCE

Blue Paddle Pilsner

ABV: 4.8%

IBU: 33

Based on the classic Czech-style pilsner (aka Bohemian pilsner or bo pils), Blue Paddle is an awesome example of how hops can be used to add balance to a beer. Although this style’s one of the hoppiest under the umbrella of traditional lager styles (from thin light lagers to malty bocks), it’s downright balanced compared to IPAs. Additions of traditional Saaz hops, as well as Liberty and Nugget, contrast the beer’s delicate malty sweetness with prickly bitterness and distinct floral, herbal notes. It’s about as sessionable—while still maintaining an assertive hop profile—as they come.


ADD MOUTHFEEL

1554 Black Lager

ABV: 5.6%

IBU: 21

Hops? What hops? Just kidding. For this dark lager, we pack a ton of malt- and-yeast-driven character into each sip: dark chocolate, roast, toast, pepper, candied banana, and more. While the Nugget hop additions take a back seat in flavor and aroma, they contribute a subtle hoppy bitterness, which teams up with prickly roasted malts to keep each sip moving swiftly across the tongue. 


COMPLEMENT FLAVOR

Snapshot Tart Wheat

ABV: 5%

IBU: 13

This stainless-soured wheat ale includes Cascade hops, a popular variety in American IPAs. But, we use the hop sparingly: Snapshot’s lemony, citrusy flavors derived from the lactic tartness and subtle additions of coriander are bright and vibrant, and adding a restrained amount of citrusy hops layers on similar high-notes to the sip. The result is a harmonious citrusy, crisp, tart and refreshing beer.


COMPLETE DOMINATION

Rampant Imperial IPA

ABV: 8.5%

IBU: 85

Sure, hops take the lead on this big imperial IPA, with varieties such as Mosaic and Calypso lending big stone fruit, lemon, pine and floral notes to the profile. But, just behind the big hop flavor and bitterness is a well-matched wave of malty sweetness, which adds depth to the sip and buoys the hop flavor for extended play on the tongue. But don’t get me wrong: This one is a hop-bomb.

Damn, I love hops — Chris

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