Constants & Variables: The Lupulin Loop

As the Brewing Manager at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station. I would like to introduce a new series of beers that will rotate through our central San Diego brewery-restaurant. We at Stone make no secret of our love for hops and are always pushing the boundaries with beer experimentations—especially when it comes to hops. For years, we’ve played with multiple hop varieties, and the impact to our IPAs has been immense. One may ask, with so many hop varieties out there, how we do we continue to develop so many new and successful IPAs? Truth is it’s never as easy as throwing a bunch of hops into our wort and crossing our fingers. Every hop is different, unique and complex with a wide range of flavors and aromas that could be compared to fruits, spices and even vegetables. We spend a lot of time getting intimately acquainted with the myriad of hops in our chilled down lockers, and now it’s time for our fans to get in on that familiarization.

Enter what I have come to refer to as, “The Lupulin Loop.” Why the Lupulin Loop? Maybe I just watched Groundhog’s Day too much as a kid. Maybe it’s because Tom Cruise just came out with that movie Edge of Tomorrow. Or maybe I’m still trying to play through Bioshock Infinite and I learned that when Elizabeth goes through the tears she goes to another dimension where everything looks the same but it’s actually different. Regardless, it’s all about constants and variables. With these beers, they’ll always have the same malts, alcohol, IBU (international bittering units), PH, color…or as close to the same as I can possibly get them. The only thing that will change in the beer is the single variety of hop being used (even for bittering). The base of the beer is the constant (the loop), while the hop (Lupulin…the compound in hops that provides that addictive bitterness we all love) is the sole variable.

Hop-Picture_2

Fans who frequent Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station (you try fitting that on your business card!) have already experienced some of these single-hop beers, and both smelled and tasted how much each hop impacts the beer all by its lonesome. For those that haven’t, here’s what’s spun from The Lupulin Loop so far:

  • Bite the Bullet (Green Bullet single-hop): Tropical fruit, citrus and pine with herbal, dank notes
  • AleBelma (Belma single-hop): Strawberries and grape jam mixed with stone fruits
  • Lost City of Liquid Gold (El Dorado single-hop): Citrus, tropical fruits and lemon Starburst candy
  • Bear Tales From Polaria (Polaris single-hop): Intense garlic and onion, mint and mild citrus
  • Simcoe’s for Sartori (Simcoe single-hop): Citrus-flavored, piney and dank

So why go with The Lupulin Loop instead of coming up with more of these cute, fun names for our single-hop beers. To be honest, I’m a busy man and so is everyone else working at Stone. Each time I create a new beer with a new name I have to do this really fun thing called paperwork (definition: sit a desk longer than I want to when I’d rather be brewing…ha), which in return creates more paperwork for everyone else (when they’d rather be brewing or doing beer-related things, too). The creation of The Lupulin Loop equals way less paperwork, less confusion and easier to remember single-hop beers for everyone. Plus, come on, The Lupulin Loop is an awesome name.

The first creation under the The Lupulin Loop flag features Australian Topaz hops. At 16.4% alpha acid, this hop has great stone fruit qualities mixed with notes of garlic, pineapple and grassy dankness. Those are just the first notes that come through, though. Come out and try it for your-self.

Kris Ketcham Hero-13

And Now, Some Hophead Q&A

How do you select the hops?

Sometimes the hops are new hop varieties (e.g., Belma, El Dorado, Polaris) that we have done some small batch dry-hop trials with and found quite exceptional. There have also been instances where we are considering using the hop in a new large-scale beer, so want to get a better feel for it. Other times, I pick the hops to pay tribute to my Team Stone co-workers (Simcoe for Brewhouse Supervisor Chris Sartori and Topaz for Cellar Supervisor Mike Richmond). Other times, we do it just for the hell of it because we think a particular hop kicks ass and want to exploit it (Green Bullet).

What becomes of the hops after the single hop trial?

Depending on if we like the hop variety or not, we will use it for new beers. For example, all of us at Stone were extremely impressed with the El Dorado hop and have used it in a local-release beer called Stone Delicious IPA, and as the exclusive hop used to dry-hop Stone 18th Anniversary IPA. Others like Belma and Green Bullet have been used in various other Liberty Station beers like Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station Sesquipedalian IPA.

What’s next?

There are lots of hops to choose from and I can’t wait to catch them all (ha!). As a little teaser, up next we will be showcasing Comet followed by Jarrylo (Yar-I-Lo).

When can I expect Citra, Mosaic or Nelson?

Shut up! (Just kidding.) Those hops are awesome, but are in extremely limited supply. Our primary focus for these hops is for Stone Go To IPA and Stone Enjoy By IPA…for now.

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