Lonerider Brewing Co., based in Raleigh, NC, has created a hop-infused monster of a beer. The one-off release, Magnificent 77, currently lays claim to hold the known record for the most hop varieties in a single beer. As the name suggests, Lonerider’s beer contains 77 varieties of hops, but this beer is much deeper than that. Lonerider’s brewing team wanted to bring some diversity to the current hop craze, where many beers are valued just because of the amount of hops in them.
Sure, there are a ton of hops in the Magnificent 77, but the hops come from seven different countries and include many lesser known strains that a lot of hop heads have probably never experienced. A big difference between Lonerider’s beer and many other seriously hopped-up beers is that it was never intended to melt your face off and overtake your palate with its hoppiness, it’s a showcase of the wonderful world of hops that we live in today.
Magnificent 77 was brewed as an experiment, and the flavor of the ale changed constantly throughout its creation. Brewers added seven hop additions during the boil and dry hopped extensively, adding a new hop each day for a week, and then added 14 more varieties over the next week. A lot of effort went into this American IPA.
Where you might expect the aforementioned face-melting hop punch upon your first sip, Magnificent 77 is only rated at 77 IBUs (and appropriately 7.7% ABV), and is described by the Lonerider team as smelling like “the tropics,” with flavors of mango, grapefruit, citrus and a hint of pineapple. Not to say that this isn’t a hoppy beer–oh it is! But this India pale ale’s huge variety of hops blend together well with no single type of hop overshadowing the others.
The craft beer community is really into hops right now, myself included, but in a world where brewers are adding more and more hops to beer in a race to completely overwhelm our taste buds with IBUs, Lonerider Brewing Co. is taking a different approach. As the craft of brewing has advanced, so have the tastes of craft beer enthusiasts. Bitterness is only one aspect of the flavors that hops can offer a beer, and many brewers are looking beyond the IBU.
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