A few summers ago, Summit’s Damian McConn chatted with me on the Red Cow patio. He was all jazzed up about experimenting with southern hemisphere hops – varieties from places like New Zealand and Australia. I was still wandering around somewhat blindly in the beer world, and I simply nodded along, but was so happy to see Summit’s enthusiasm and passion for experimentation.
Still, compared to other regions, these hops only make up a small portion of total varieties. There are over 25 distinct types of hops (plus numerous experimental and hybrids) from Australia and New Zealand. Limited types are also produced in South Africa and Argentina.
Many of these plants were previously presented as “experimental” varieties in beer for years, so it is difficult to say exactly when these hops gained a strong hold in American craft beer. They have, however, grown significantly in popularity since 2010. One of the most recognizable and widely-distributed beers using these hops is the Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop IPA.
Naturally, this leads to a chicken/egg situation. Did southern hemisphere hops gain momentum due their growing and season and harvest being exactly the opposite that of their northern cousins? Or Did their cultivation simply lead to a second “wet hop” beer season?
Maybe you have heard of some of these types: Green Bullet, Southern Cross, Motueka, Rakau, Galaxy, or Nelson Sauvin. Expect flavors such as pepper, papaya, lime, passionfruit, and pineapple. These hops bring the fruity notes of Fitger’s, Town Hall, Summit, Enki, and Castle Danger all utilize southern hemisphere hops – ask your sever on your next taproom visit, they are becoming quite common!
For the first time, Fulton’s Insurrection is available in 4-pack bottles. Until this season, it was a taproom-only double IPA, drooled over by Minnesotans far and wide. Scoop one up to get a feel for the Nelson Sauvin hop, which comprises half of this beers hop additions.
Fulton Insurrection is an incredibly enjoyable double IPA. At first sip it may come off as somewhat one-dimensional. But on warming, the complexities of this drink present themselves. Without any doubt, the Nelson Sauvin is the star, but the backup voices of cereal, resin, and citrus complete the picture.
This beer has been flying off shelves, and even now may be tough to find. Visit the taproom for another shot at this one.