Distinction is the aim for brewers these days, and the newer Australian hop varieties are providing it in a big way. Oskar Blues, brewing in the USA out of Colorado and North Carolina, has released their “Oskar Blues IPA” showcasing a number of Aussie flavor hops developed from the Hop Products Australia (HPA) breeding program. As part of the Barth-Haas Group, HPA has had great success in developing amazing hops and garnering world-wide attention. The variety Galaxy™, has been a huge hit, but as Oskar Blues can attest to, other exciting up-and-comers are Enigma™, Vic Secret™, Ella™, and Topaz™ – all grown in the Australian hop-growing regions of Tasmania and Victoria.
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Chris Cramer shares the story behind Mosaic Session Ale, now one of Karl Strauss Brewing Company’s most successful and popular beers. The beer’s development began in 2012, when the Hop Breeding Company—a consortium of hop farmers and John I. Haas up in Yakima—developed a new variety called HBC369. They wanted to share the new hop with a select group of brewers and wanted to see how the brewers would use it. Karl Strauss was one of the select few breweries that got to play with HBC369, but only with tiny little bits of it. “Our brewers were immediately intrigued by it,” Chris recalls. “It was so distinctly aromatic. It had such incredible grapefruit, tropical fruit, passion fruit, and peach aromas to it. It was citrusy and crisp, and it was an unusual hop in that you could use it for both aromatics and for bittering.” So, in 2013, the brewers at Karl Strauss gave the growers an order to send as much HBC369 as they could.