Hopocalypse Double IPA: Now Featuring Talus Hops

We’re still celebrating Hopocalypse Day this year, but it won’t be the same; no fest with folks getting tanked on Double and Triple IPAs, virtual tastings… sigh. While I’ll miss that drunken shitshow, I am particularly excited about this year’s edition of Hopocalypse Double IPA (Green Label). Our Brewmaster, DeVonne Buckingham, has been sourcing new hop varieties out of Yakima, WA, and is giving one hop a big stage.

This year’s edition of Hopocalypse Double IPA will feature Talus hops, one of the more unique hops to come out of the Pacific Northwest in the past few years. It’s a cultivated daughter hop to Sabro, a really cool hop that came out a couple of years ago and was immediately a big deal for brewers because it had just crazy tropical fruit aromas. We paired that hop with pineapple puree in a one-off beer called Shiny Happy People.

Hop Anatomy

Warning: I’m gonna get a little nerdy. The United States grows very different hops compared to Europe. Obviously, terroir gets a good amount of credit, but there’s more to it than that. When European colonizers first landed, they tried to brew with native hops, but they didn’t like ‘em at all. So they brought over rootstocks from varieties that have been cultivated for a long time in Europe. 

Over time, through open-pollination, those varieties slowly picked up “native” American hop characteristics. This process accelerated as U.S. hop growing regions expanded from New England to Wisconsin, and then Yakima Valley (courtesy Alexander Graham Bell!). Eventually U.S. hops became quite distinct from their European roots. 

This crossing of U.S. and European influences all came together in Cascade, a hop deliberately bred from cultivated European rootstock and a “wild American male” (I love that it says that on the USDA description!). Recently, hop growers took those crossing efforts up a notch. 

A hop found growing in New Mexico was so different it wasn’t even a humulus lupulus, like both the cultivated and wild American hops were. This distinct variant, humulus neomexicanus, came to the party with aromas that brewers never smelled before. Two “pure” neomexicanus hops have so far been released, Medusa and “Zappa” (unofficial name). We brewed with both of them, and man, they were quite interesting – lots of fruit and spice.

Not only were pure neomexicanus hops released, but growers started crossing them with existing hops, and now we’re seeing them hit the market. Sabro got people’s attention, but I’m more hyped on Talus hops (look, we got back to where we started!). Talus, to me, smells like Simcoe (the hop I would bring to a desert island) on steroids. I actually put a glass of them on my desk. When I need to zen out, I grab it and take a deep breath.  

So don’t miss Hopocalypse Double IPA this year, now available in 16oz. cans! Talus is a super cool new hop and you’ll get a faceful of ‘em. Enjoy! – John Gillooly

Northern California Hop Farm