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FYI, ‘Hops drops’ contain no hops

Did every local television station get the same marching orders this past weekend? Super Bowl: Go find a beer story.

In Cleveland it was about Mickie Reinhart, who has come up with seven flavors of “hops drops,” liquid additives intended to be used in light lagers. The varieties include chocolate and coffee, as opposed to ones, say “tangerine” or “lychee fruit,” that have drinkers and brewers talking about new “flavor” hops.

Reinhart’s not trying to fool anybody that the drops will turn cheap beer into something it’s not. “These are really good for thin, watery tasting beer,” she said.

Anyway, a few Monday morning links, all from England, nothing about Super Bowl commercials.

* Will Hawkes profiles Eddie Gadds of Gadds’ brewery, who sounds like a poet describing his favorite hop, which happens to be his local hop, East Kent Golding: “When you smell them, you know there is a class about them. They’re not particularly pungent, mores the pity – they’re pretty bloody shy. It’s very difficult to find really good ones and it’s even harder to get the flavour out of them. But if you can do it, it’s great.”

* Simon Johnson has assembled his Craft Beer Manifesto in one spot, after first “releasing” it one Tweet at a time. Use only barley that’s been warmed by the breath of kindly owls. Brilliant.

* Zak Avery poses a question for the ages: “What is a brewer?”


16 Responses to FYI, ‘Hops drops’ contain no hops

  1. Steve February 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    I do like Martyn Cornell’s addition-reply to Simon Johnson’s manifesto:

    “Everything brewed by anyone who has been in the brewing business longer than five years is automatically bad.”

  2. Zac February 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    I realize this seems obvious, but it should be said: Maybe instead of adding Hops Drops to improve a beer’s flavor, folks should buy a different beer.

    The manifesto is funny, but it seems the comments get increasingly cranky, even bitter. When did beer become so serious? Did I miss the memo?

  3. Bill February 7, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    …and to follow up on Zac’s point, why the vitriol about breweries’ using social media and blogs from a guy using social media and his blog?

    I wonder if this is a deal where “craft beer” has a different meaning overseas than it does in the U.S.? When it hit here, the U.S. was pretty much lots of pale adjunct lagers and the occasional bock, so smaller breweries offered a real change. In the UK, there were already many styles and drinking local is well-established, so maybe whatever “craft beer” means there has negative connotations?

  4. Stan Hieronymus February 7, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Bill – I certainly wouldn’t want to try to explain the cultural differences between the UK and US, to delve in the cask/craft/whatever discussion, or analyze how many arguments BrewDog has provoked. I would simply say that “craft” isn’t well defined in the UK or the US, but it is different in each country.

    You might find this helpful.

  5. Zac February 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Ah, yes. I’ve seen that list before. I almost forgot as I was writing a post on definitions. Thanks for sharing, Stan.

    Despite the fact that the definition of craft beer is underdeveloped on both sides of the pond, there does seem to be a battle going on in the UK. American craft beer has taken off, much of this is due to the proliferation of “extreme” beers. For whatever reason, these extreme brews have defined craft beer for many consumers. This seems to anger traditionalists and real ale fans in the UK. I don’t think they’re wrong in that real ale or whatever they like is craft beer. I just think they’re missing the boat by not accepting bigger beers and those that are particularly well marketed as part of craft beer as well.

    That said, plenty of extreme beer fans are also missing out by not appreciating real ale or other smaller, subtler versions of craft beer.

    I find the whole debate silly and pointless, but the list is pretty funny.

  6. Bill February 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    The B&B list is neutral-to-positive, while Simon’s post is pretty negative. Nothing he pokes fun at matches with B&B.

    Zac, the thing is, what happens here doesn’t have to happen in the UK or in Germany or in Belgium, and what happens there doesn’t have to happen here. It’s not wrong if higher abv brews don’t take of in the same ways in the UK, and it’s not wrong if true sub-4% abv cask ale doesn’t take off here. Or if the C-hops don’t take off in Germany, or if… you get the idea. It’s not a question of missing the boat. There are many options — there don’t have to be EVERY option EVERYWHERE. Nothing wrong with local differences, and nothing wrong with options growing out of traditions, or out of the lack of them.

  7. Zac February 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    Bill, I agree wholeheartedly. What I meant is that by dismissing the tastes of other regions, we miss out on opportunities that might provide new perspective or epiphanies even. For example, the American craft beer enthusiast doesn’t have to love cask beer, but one shouldn’t dismiss it until he’s tried several kinds. Conversely, just because a beer is 9% ABV and 85 IBU’s doesn’t mean that it can’t take the place of a 4% session ale.

    Yes, some beers are not for everyone, but we should be open to try all sorts.

  8. bob bero February 8, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    If you’re gonna doctor your beer, why not do it with some ‘B-Hoppy’ the ORIGINAL Hop Candy? Folks are carbonating with them you know!

  9. Stan Hieronymus February 8, 2012 at 5:31 am #

    FYI, Martyn Cornell weighs in today on the “craft” discussion. He suggests using the term “fine beer.”

  10. Steve February 8, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    Am I the only one seeing Johnson’s Manifesto as completely tongue-in-cheek, and a jibe at the beer drinker he’s pretending to be?

  11. todd February 8, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    At $1.50 per flavor bottle, I have to wonder/worry what’s actually in the bottle. 😉

  12. Stan Hieronymus February 8, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    Steve – Agreed. I started to mention earlier that to Simon can be an acquired taste and recommend following his Twitter feed a few days before making a judgment. But, as is usually the case with tongue-in-cheek, there’s a point in there as well.

  13. Steve February 8, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    “But, as is usually the case with tongue-in-cheek, there’s a point in there as well.”

    I see that too, as – it would seem – does Martyn. And I have to say, I agree with them both!

  14. Simon Johnson February 9, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    Well spotted – if my tongue’s not in a pint, it’s usually in my cheek.

    And let’s not even mention that there’s a UK Craft Brewing Association. And has been for years. They’re homebrewers…

  15. Zac February 9, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    “…if my tongue’s not in a pint, it’s usually in my cheek.”

    Nice. I may have to use that one day.


  1. By Definition « Building International Coalitions Through Beer and Pavement - February 8, 2012

    […] I found his list (all twelve) to be pretty funny. However, scrolling through the comments alerted me to some curmudgeon-like attitudes toward beer. I don’t know how everyone defines craft beer, but it seems to me that it’s beer brewed using traditional methods on a relatively small scale. The definition that Johnson hints at – with tongue firmly planted in cheek – is what has been marketed to us in one way or another. Some has been by design as breweries fight for their own unique place in the industry. Some is a creation of the craft beer geek culture where bigger, extreme-er beer is appreciated most. I think it’s a simple thing really, determined by brewing methods and production. Still, the manifesto is a funny list to discuss at the bar. (H/T Stan) […]

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