I mentioned last week that hops are traditionally added at various points during the boiling process of brewing. However, it is also possible to add hops directly to the fermenting vessels in a technique known as dry hopping. Certain chemicals in hops have anti-bacterial properties and act as preservatives, so dry hopping was first used as a means to keep beer from spoiling before the advent of refrigeration. In modern times, the technique is used to give an extra boost of hop flavor and aroma, which simply cannot be achieved with hops added to the boil kettle.
Where do hops come from, anyway? Well, I’ll tell you. Hops are the flowers of the common hop plant, or more accurately humulus lupulus, which is a vinelike climbing plant (technically considered a “bine”) that can grow over 18 feet tall in the right conditions. At the end of summer, the plants begin to flower, and the resulting cones begin to develop sticky lupulin glands. These glands contain all the oily, resinous hop flavor compounds that we know and love. You can even grow hops right in your backyard, even at our latitude. Try it next spring!
Last week I also mentioned that it’s nice to try an IPA that’s not a complete hop bomb, but every once in a while we hopheads need to get our fix. The other day, I stopped by the newly opened Rybrew on Girard Avenue to satisfy my hop craving. If you haven’t been there, I recommend checking it out — they have delicious sandwiches and over 250 craft beers available. I grabbed a Sixpoint Resin, which was hard to miss in its tall green can.
College classmates Andrew Bronstein and Shane Welch partnered up in 2004 to open Sixpoint Craft Ales in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. The brewery has since risen to prominence on the craft beer scene, and its beers are consistently highly acclaimed. Some of their popular offerings include Bengali Tiger IPA and The Crisp, a German-style Pilsner.
Cracking open the can of Resin (that sounds odd), I was pretty much assaulted indiscriminately by intense hop aromas. Sweet! The beer poured an ominously cloudy orange-gold with a sticky white head. On the nose, it’s hops, hops and more hops, with aromas tending toward what I would describe as fruit and bubblegum. Taking a sip, I was not surprised by the massive hop flavor, but the unique dankness and stickiness of the hops really stood out. Floral notes abound in this beer, and the thick mouthfeel can only be described as, you guessed it, resinous.
Overall, Sixpoint’s Resin is a veritable hop bomb, but it’s a very well-done and delicious hop bomb. I don’t always drink super hoppy beers, but when I do, I prefer to be blasted with more hop flavor than I can possibly handle. Sixpoint Resin definitely met my expectations. Stay hoppy, my friends.
$3.50 for a 12-ounce can
9.1 percent ABV