Been thinking a lot this week about hops, and my aversion to over-using them. I tend not to go for beers that are highly-hopped, and this preference informs everything I’ve been doing with Megalith Brewing. However, I also don’t want to shut the door on trying new things, and that includes getting more comfortable with more hops.

One of the things I said I’d never do was to make and sell an IPA. To clarify, I have yet to taste a locally-made Northwest-style IPA that I actually like, due to the preference for Citra and Cascade/Centennial hops, and their distinctive grapefruit-like flavor and aroma. Unfortunately for me, I get the same muddy taste on the back of my tongue from these hop varieties as I do with actual grapefruit, and this just kills the beers for me.

I just finished reading this excellent article on late-hop additions for flavor and aroma (my favorite qualities of hops, honestly). I’m going to keep it here for future reference. It’s made me wonder if I could get a stronger hop quality in my own beers without bringing in the bitterness I’ve found with so many highly-hopped beers. Coupled with my recent introduction to Pelican Brewing’s excellent Bad Santa CDA (a Cascadian Dark Ale made entirely with the milder Fuggles hops which I like so much for my English Ales), and I’m starting to reconsider my anti-IPA stance.

My next goal, therefore, is to make a bunch of IPAs with different hop blends and schedules, in an effort to find a good, mild, hoppy, grassy, bright IPA recipe that’s rich and light, and easy to drink. I’ll be basing the first one off of my Laser Brain ESB recipe, so I know I’m starting with a solid malt foundation. We’ll see what happens!