HopCast® Highlights featuring Talus™ and Columbus Brewing Company
We recently sat down with Tony Corder, Innovations Manager at Columbus Brewing Company in Ohio, to get some insights on how they discovered Talus™, and how it became part of their flagship IPA.
This month, we’re spotlighting Talus™ HBC 692 c.v., the Neomexicanus variety that was recently commercialized through the Hop Breeding Company. Micah Cawley, Midwest Key Account Manager at HAAS®, recently sat down with Tony Corder, Innovations Manager at Columbus Brewing Company in Ohio, to get some insights on how they discovered the hop, and how it became part of their flagship IPA.
The following has been edited for brevity and clarity. But you can check out the full HAAS® HopCast® now.
Micah Cawley: It’s been a really interesting time, with a lot of great hops coming out recently. I know you’re a fan of Sabro® HBC 438 c.v., and Talus is a daughter of Sabro. It’s a Neomexicanus with a great pink grapefruit flavor, perfect for the flavor space in IPAs today. You guys have been on this variety since it was HBC 692 c.v. How did you get introduced to Talus?
Tony Corder: I think it was Harvest of 2015, when (the former Haas’ head of hops breeding program) Gene Probasco was still transitioning to (the current head of Haas’ hops breeding) Michael Ferguson. We were able to visit with those guys and walk the experimental fields, rub some hops and talk. We expressed interest in a couple varieties.
That winter, Michael had sent us some samples that we used for “bench-top trials”—which was me pulling pre-dry hopped samples off the fermenter and doing warm and cold dry-hopping samples in mason jars for some sensory analysis. We earmarked a few varieties and it led to us developing a relationship with HBC, sponsoring a couple of acres of a few varieties, of which 692 aka Talus happened to be one.
Micah: What did you find in those initial trials that interested you?
Tony: I’m laughing because it certainly wasn’t done in a lab environment in those days—we were just in the process of building our labs and today we are light years beyond where we were. We did find some really interesting things with those first few varieties. They exhibited different aromatics at cooler temperatures versus ambient room temperature.
With Talus, at the cooler temperatures, we got more of a floral aromatic, that really specific fresh rose petal. At more ambient temperatures, it showed more like ruby red grapefruit. It was really interesting to me that it was not like all the other hops that were becoming popular at that time, the tropical fruit-driven hops. I like the fact that it veered the other direction and gave us that floral, grapefruit that were traditional aromatics but a more modern take on it.
Micah: You do a lot of what we do at Haas with sensory analysis—looking at different temperatures and different ways the hops express themselves. You can see how those different notes allow you to layer it in a four or five hop blend and get what you want out of it specifically. So, what happened after the mason-jar trials?
Tony: In 2018, we got access to the 2017 crop and finally had a chance to do some pilots and one-off IPAs. We started with a natural pairing, Centennial, to see how these guys played together. Obviously, we got a very strong floral and grapefruit presentation. From there, we moved on to something more pungent, like Mosaic® HBC 369 c.v. to see how they paired. We liked what we saw and we had plans to feature this hop in our “Insane Wanderer” series. It’s a rotating seasonal IPA where we keep the grist the same but we change up the hops that we feature in it. For Volume 5, we chose to feature Talus, or 692 as it was called back then.
Micah: What was customer feedback like?
Tony: The series as a whole, people all have their favorites. Volume 3 and Volume 4 we had done Galaxy™ and Sabro, so Talus was a significant departure. It was received really well and still spoken of very fondly.
Micah: So, after that, you guys really took Talus and expanded upon it in your portfolio?
Tony: Currently, we’ve moved to incorporating Talus into our flagship Columbus IPA. It’s one of several hops in that beer, but we really love what it contributes. It really blends well with the other hops we feature.
Micah: That rose petal is such a unique flavor, and we’ve seen grapefruit rind in our test beer. Are there other beers that you’ve seen that feature that?
Tony: Absolutely. Before we’d gotten into it there as a Hop Growers Showcase at the CBC in Nashville, in 2018, and Founders had a beer called Blaze of Glory that featured 692/Talus, and it just stood out to me, even drinking it out of a plastic cup in a bar after the Conference. I was familiar with the hop and I was excited about it and the aroma that they got out of it was exactly what I wanted it to be. It was floral, but still had that ruby red grapefruit and that soft rose petal aromatic—it’s just really unique and a wonderful experience.
We actually had a really surprising experience lately using it in a way that we didn’t quite expect it to work. Grapefruit and rose petal, that’s all we’re talking about, and it leans a little more American IPA but pairing it with something really fruit-forward, like Sabro or Citra® HBC 394 c.v., and watch and see what happens. We’ve featured it in a few small pilots of hazy IPA and done the dry-hopping with Talus and then later with some other varieties, something more fruit-forward, and you get something completely different. Really dynamic stuff.
To listen to the full HAAS® HopCast®, visit our News & Views page. If you’re ready to run your own trial of Talus, call your HAAS sales representative today. Or visit our Distributor Page to learn how to get your hands on this distinctive and unique hop variety.