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Strata — New Beers, Fresh Hops.

“Strata may be the most perfect hop developed”

At the end of 2018, we took delivery of fresh Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic hops from the USA, giving us the chance to release the first beer in the UK to be released with the 2018 harvest. Virtuouso  was an amplified version of Virtuous, our gluten-free session IPA. 

Now, nine months later, we’re delighted to be the first brewery in the UK to release beer brewed with 2019 harvest hops. We’ve brewed two new beers with Strata, a new hop variety that’s only been commercially available for a couple of years with only 10kg of the 2018 harvest making it to the UK for a trial. The hops were picked in Oregon during the last week of August, dried and processed in the first week of September, and in our brewhouse in the first week of October. 

We’re very grateful for the opportunity to brew with Strata, and couldn’t have done it without the help of Will Avery from Loughran Family Malt who liaised with Indie Hops in Oregon to get it to us in Leeds.

The first beer is Stratasphere, a 6.0% West Coast IPA in keg with a simple malt body to let the Strata shine through. Defined passion fruit and lychee, followed by pink grapefruit and white grape flavours, lead to a dank character, balancing the flavour profile perfectly.

The second beer is Oregon IPA, a 4.5% hazy session IPA in cask. We decided to brew a hazy beer (with oats and wheat in the grist) to see how this new hop sits with the soft carbonation of the cask pour. The result – a soft and sessionable beer bursting with the signature juicy passion fruit aroma and flavour of Strata.

Stratasphere will be launching at Craft Beer Calling and in various venues in Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Nottingham on Thursday 24th October. Oregon IPA will follow shortly afterwards – it’ll need a few days to settle into the cellars of your favourite pubs and bars. We hope you enjoy them! 

Strata, formerly known as X-331, is Indie Hops’ first hop variety to be released out of their breeding program. Indie Hops are a hop developer based in Oregon. Find out more about their story here and Strata here.

A few words from Will Avery on Loughran Family Malt, and his thoughts on Strata —

“Loughran Family Malt believes deeply in partnering with other small farmers, suppliers, and producers.  This mentality is engrained in our history as a small family farm in rural Ireland.  We seek every opportunity to provide our customers across Europe with the newest and most exciting hop varieties.  This combined with our dedication to sustainability and innovation made Indie Hops a perfect partner for us.  

Strata may be the most perfect hop developed.  With notes of passionfruit, berry, and a lingering aroma of a good rock concert, it provides the depth that can usually only be found in a blend of multiple hops.  Its high alpha and excellent oil content are not only impressive on paper, but even more so when put into a good brewer’s hands.  Combine these qualities with a high per acre yield and the result is amazing, both in the liquid and to the environment.

Getting the hops over so early in the year was a fun and challenging task.  Attention is rarely paid to supply chain when it comes to ingredients used in making beer.  There are many moving pieces of the puzzle to be managed, from the farm, to the processor, to the freight forwarder, through customs, and into the brewer’s hands.  Pulling that off within a month of the hops being harvested was challenging and rewarding to make happen. Kudos to everyone involved in the supply chain.”