Just when you thought you’d heard of every hop creation in craft beer, Cambridge Brewing Company (CBC) has out-hopped everyone. CBC recently released #Hashtag, a double IPA brewed with “hop hash” made from Simcoe hops. This #Hashtag isn’t for CBC’s Twitter handle—this bold American-style IPA is now flowing on draught at CBC.
You may be thinking: “Hash, isn’t that reserved for the hop plants shadier cousin?” Not anymore! The brewers at CBC called up Hopunion, a major U.S. hop processor and supplier, and requested Simcoe hop hash fresh off the hammer mill.
These dry hop sheets, dubbed “hop hash,” are highly concentrated hop oil blocks hardened from the milling process. This byproduct of hop production is typically scraped off mill and discarded—but not anymore!
Hop hash James was originally used by James Mills from Caldera Brewing in Oregon a few years back.
The brewers at CBC brainstormed: “Hey isn’t that stuff just super-concentrated hop aroma and bittering oil? We could totally use that!”
Hopunion shipped the hop hash overnight to the brewpub in Cambridge, Mass., and it’s now the main hop ingredient in #Hashtag Double IPA.
Having never brewed with hop hash before, the brewers at CBC halved the typical hop addition to account for the highly concentrated hop oils in the hash.
What the brewers were not expecting was the difficult task of shaving off the hop hash with a box grinder for hours in order to break it down into a powder that could be added to the boil kettle and fermenter. In this case, the hard work of the brewers paid off, as this amazingly-hoped ale highlights the varietal essence of the Simcoe hop: floral, fruity and piney, all balanced with a full body of malt. Whether they’re chopping chilies or grinding hop hash, craft brewers are continuously working further the storied tradition of American brewing.
This special 7.75% ABV double IPA made from the finest hop hash around is available on draft at the CBC taproom for a limited time. Raise a pint of #Hashtag for the brewers that put their knuckles in harm’s way in the pursuit of hoppyness.
Andrew Kaczmarek, is the current Craft Beer Program Intern, hop farmer, beer writer for the CU Independent, homebrewer and student at the University of Colorado in his final semester. When not pursuing hoppiness, as a Colorado native, he spends his free time skiing, camping or biking in the Rocky Mountains.