Around here, we’re very selective about every ingredient that goes into our beer, but none so obsessively as when it comes to hops. We offer numerous IPAs, but each has its own distinct character thanks to the blends of hops that form the basis for their flavors and aromas. In 2014, our brewing team desired to learn as much as possible about the sensory aspects of individual hop varietals, so they developed a recipe for a single-hop IPA and began producing the beer on a continual basis, utilizing a different hop each time around. Dubbed The Bachelor for the way it played the (hop) field, that single-hop canvas has provided our brewers a crystal-clear interpretation of the 30 varietals that have rotated into its makeup. Detailed records of each hop’s assets (and even some of their shortcomings) have been kept from day one. That stockpile was an invaluable tool in 2017 when our brewers set out to construct a new, contemporary IPA called The Fiddler, which would fall in line with the storied likes of The Pupil, The Apprentice and The Coachman IPAs.
In reviewing notes as well as recalling some particularly vibrant and delicious versions of The Bachelor, our brewing team picked out a trio of varietals they believed, when blended into a recipe for a decidedly San Diego-style IPA, would achieve a botanic harmony that would translate across imbibers’ olfactories and palates. The first hop selected was Simcoe, a money varietal if there ever was one. Over the past several years, it has achieved elite status alongside the likes of Mosaic and Citra. Its pungent citrus-fruit character and backing berry notes makes themselves most known in The Fiddler’s bouquet. Those aromas dovetail nicely into the scents and flavors brought about by Eureka! hops. That varietal (a progeny of Apollo and Merkur hops) is chiefly responsible for The Fiddler’s heavy stone-fruit character (think peach and apricot) and the essence of pine in its delicately bitter finish. Boosting the citrus and peach notes of the aforementioned hops while adding in undertones of tropical fruit and lush earth is Idaho 7. A newcomer first released in 2015, the modern hop landscape would look almost incomplete without Idaho 7 given its fast-found popularity. This initial triad made for a tremendously delicious and multi-faceted IPA, but about a year into The Fiddler’s existence, keen on making something great even better, our brewing team decided to add a fourth varietal…Mosaic. One of the most popular hops in the world, Mosaic amplified the tropical flavors (pineapple, passion fruit, papaya) and took the citrus character to juicy territory.
Together, these hops make for a well-rounded, bone dry, slightly hazy (not to be confused with a Northeast-style “hazy”) IPA coming in at 6.9% alcohol-by-volume with myriad citrus on the nose, tremendous peachiness and refreshing tropicality balanced by an almost tea-like earthiness plus a touch of pine in the finish. Highly drinkable and bold yet restrained, it’s the modern-day, everyday, purely San Diego IPA we set out to craft. And all it took was three years and 30 single-hop IPAs to get it just right. (Wink!)Read More