Hop selection: The hops behind New Belgium IPAs and more


Hop selection: The hops behind New Belgium IPAs and more

Every fall, we send a pretty important group of people from New Belgium to check out the new hop crops in Yakima Valley. In the industry, this annual pilgrimage is called hop selection, when brewery's send representatives from the raw materials side of the business to visit the hop farms and select next year's batch of hops. Most return with hands that smell like hops for days. By all accounts, it's a pretty rad time, but it also ensures another year's worth of high-quality IPAs and other styles. After all, hops go into everything we brew.

While in Yakima, a good chunk of time's spent checking and picking from the best quality stock of tried-and-true hops like Cascade, but it's also an opportunity to take a look at potentially new additions to the hop portfolio, and get an inside look at experimental hop varieties that have yet to be named, but could be the next big thing in craft beer in the coming years (especially IPAs, the session IPA, imperial IPA and other trendy hoppy styles). It's fun, and as you can see in the gallery below, a pretty amazing sensory experience.

For more on how we use hops, swing by our New Belgium IPA page.

The New Belgium team pulling hops straight from the bine.

Closeup look at a handful of experimental hops.

Cracking open an experimental hop cone.

This lemondrop hop cone has wings.

Bravo hops growing pretty darn high.

Christian, Lindsay, Peter and Travis overlooking an incredible amount of hops.

Brewmaster Peter Bouckaert looking the part of a hop selector.

Imagine diving into this pile of hops, Scrooge McDuck style.


Breaking up Belma hops at Puterbaugh Farms in Yakima Valley.

Cheers! — Chris
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