John G’s Jibber Jab- The Hopocalypse is Nigh!

Industry treasure & Drake’s Head Brewer John Gillooly shares his thoughts about the brewing and release of Hopocalypse. 

At the end of every calendar year, we begin to receive our new harvest hops, and we start to build our year’s Hopocalypse brews in our mind.  This year was a tough harvest – Yakima Valley was quite dry, and there were some temperature spikes up there that, at worst, brought out some obnoxious onion/garlic notes from the hops.  We traveled up there a bunch of times to finally select the hops we wanted, and got some nice ones – perhaps a touch danker than some previous years, but still some quality hop goodness.  So this year’s Hopocalypses (Hopocali?) should have some nice cut to them, on top of the citric/tropical fruit aromatics of previous years.

We’ve also expanded our, umm… stable of hopocalypses (no, hopocali) – on top of the usual Green and Black Labels, we are adding a Red and a White Label (marketing says this has something to do with the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which I think is a metal band?).  Hopoc Red will be brewed with a Chilean Especial malt which adds a lovely red color, and has Orange blossom added to the kettle for a subtle citric kick, and blood orange concentrate is added during fermentation for yet more orange flavor and to deepen the red color.  With all that citrus going on, hops are keeping to that flavor profile, with Mandarina Bavaria and Lemondrop carrying the aromatic load.  For the White Label, we are brewing an unfiltered Wheat IPA that also features German Pilsner malt and malted flaked Rye.  It is hopped with an intercontinental blend of hops featuring New Zealand Motuekas, German Hallertauer Blancs, and US Amarillo (among others), and features dank tropical fruit notes and aromas of grape skin and Yuzu.  This year’s iteration of Green label again features Mosaic, with a strong dose of Simcoe to supplement, and classic Cascade and Chinooks for a base of old-school American hops.  Black Label is a 12+% abv monster, with Simcoe and Amarillo providing the majority of the aromatics, with El Dorado contributing subtle notes of mint and lemon.

To get a taste of The Four Horsemen join us for Hopocalypse Day on January 23

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